Three Solo Travelers & John Lennon

I’ve never told anyone this for fear it wouldn’t come true. But, since it hasn’t come true anyways,  I’ll tell you now.

Every time I blew out the candles on my birthday cake – well into my teens – I wished for world peace. And, in the tradition of my family, as I sealed the wish when making the first slice into the cake, I wished for it again.

Yes, I was a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

The 2012 New Year’s Post

2011 was the 40th anniversary of John Lennon’s song, Imagine. For my 2012 New Year’s post, I asked three solo  travelers to riff on what this song means to them in relation to their travels. The answers are wonderful. First, a video of Lennon singing Imagine, then some wonderful thoughts.

A Brotherhood of Man

by Scott Hartman

I imagine John Lennon smiling right now.  A wry smile, saying both: “Yes!” and “What took you so long?  I’ve been waiting for you.”

This year, Time magazines’ Person of the Year is not “a person” but ‘The Protester’ – “the people.”  From Sidi Bouzid to Wall Street, from Downing Street to Delhi, a match – metaphorical and real – has been struck.  There isn’t a populated continent on earth that hasn’t felt its’ flame.  Americans, Tunisians, Egyptians, Indians, Tibetans and Kazakhs.  Christians, Moslems, Buddhists and Hindus.  Dozens of nationalities and as many languages – but one voice, saying:  “Enough.  We have had enough.  It’s time for change.”

Of the myriad of gifts that travel has given me, it is perspective and humility that I treasure most.  They were given to me on my first solo trip, to India, in 1982.  Wearing enough Nikon gear around my neck to support a village, a family of ten invited me off the dusty backstreets of Madurai, onto the dirt floor of their home and piled my banana leaf with food, taking food out of their mouths to feed me.  To say I was humbled doesn’t begin to touch what I felt.

Before I left home for the first time – before I had a passport in my pocket and ticket in my hand, comparing myself only to those around me – I was the 99%.  Since then the world has become my home, and I have become aware of myself as the 1%.  With money in our pockets, food in our stomachs and tickets in our hands, we – those of us who call the world home – are the 1%.

I am,
You are,
We are –


Travel Throws Our Actions into Focus

by Ayngelina of Bacon is Magic

I spent most of 2011 in South America and what struck me most was how countries attempt to strengthen their economy.

The wealthier countries are using natural resources such as mining and forestry to the detriment of the land and long-term growth. I felt very removed from this until I was in Chile, a prosperous country, and realized it was Canadian mining companies leading the way.

It’s easy to demonize mining but our need for iPods, new cellphones and other gadgets means we need to mine for minerals that are in these electronics.

This song reminds me of what I learned in South America, the need to be aware of what is happening in the world and how our actions create a demand for it.


Carrying a Message in Words

Barbara – Hole in the Donut

Many years ago a handwriting analyst said my high crossed T’s meant I was a dreamer. This came as no surprise. As far back as I can remember I wanted to be a travel writer and photographer. The surprise was that I didn’t follow those passions. Instead, I sold my soul to corporations, making decisions based on what others thought rather than what would make me happy. Every few years I would quit my job, pledging that I would never again be trapped in a career I hated, but someone always made me an offer I couldn’t refuse and soon I was right back where I started. My mantra became “If I knew what I wanted to do I’d leave, but I have no idea what I want to do.”

Fortunately, the universe intervened. When a serious illness left me bedridden and fearful of dying, I remembered those childhood dreams. A year later, with renewed health, I slung a backpack over my shoulder and headed off on a round-the-world trip, determined to recreate myself as a travel writer.

It has been five years since that fateful decision and I’ve never looked back. My travels have allowed me to learn about other cultures and carry the message that people the world over are more alike than different. We all want adequate food, shelter, safety, happiness, and a comfortable life for our children. It is my enduring belief that the better we get to know one another, the less likely we will want to kill one another. If my writing carries that message to even one person; if it dispels fear or dissipates even the smallest iota of bigotry, then I have lived a worthwhile life. Yes, I am a dreamer. But fortunately, I’m not the only one.

Previous year’s New Year’s Posts

Thank you to Scott, Ayngelina and Barbara for contributing to this year’s posts. If you’re interested, here are the New Year’s Posts from 2010 and 2011:

Travel for the Common Good: The thoughts of six seasoned travelers.

Travel Your Way to Success: the thoughts of 6 people who have.

And now, in the words of John Lennon…

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

  • Alexa

    Anything with John Lennon in the title will grab my attention! Great read. Really enjoyed it.

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  • Will – My Spanish Adventure

    Ayngelina’s comments strike the biggest chord. The heat of all this consumption is why we saw London go up in flames during the summer. Here’s hoping more people realize the latest gadgets, clothes and trainers aren’t the source of happiness that the media and marketing project.

  • yogesh

    good one i realy like this

  • Hotel Wala

    What a post..thoroughly enjoyed reading it…Hope for more…

  • Janice Waugh

    I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post. I certainly enjoyed working with the writers to put it together.

  • Vcmurray

    All of these authors resonated some inkling of truth for me: that was the same wish I always had,too; travel gives me a wonderful sense of perspective, humility, and also gratitude; electronics are a pit fall with the raw resources they devour, like the one I am using now; and corporations have held my soul for many many years taking a toll on my health, it’s been two years since I worked my final corporate stint which has set me free. Thank you Janice for posting a such a thought-provoking compilation of thoughts. Perfect timing.

  • Janice Waugh

    I am always amazed by the contributions people make on this blog. The “Occupy” connection was certainly uniquely appropriate for the 40th anniversary of this song.

  • Janice Waugh

    This blog is my pleasure – and even more so when it resonates with readers. Thank you for you comment Pia.

  • Pia Lou

    i’ve tried several times to express what i want to say – there are no words – thank you so much just lovely!

  • Christine Peets

    Thanks for this great post! When was this concert? It was funny to see the blue-tinted lenses. I had those in about 1970–maybe around the same time JL did? I was,and am, a huge fan. Yoko looked a little strange up there faking piano playing, but at least she didn’t try to sing along. The thoughts you’ve added from other bloggers are so appropriate to John’s message, and to what’s been going on in the world lately. He’d have been proud of, and likely participated in, the Occupy Wall Street movement.