Hello! Thanks for deciding to read this new post after all these months of silence. I have been putting off writing for long enough and now it is time to pick up the adventure.

I want to let everyone know that I have returned home.

I am very pleased to be home. Returning home was a bit unexpected but it has turned out to be the best part of my trip. I will use this post to give some gratitude to the fact that I am back with family. I will also use this post to describe my reasoning and point to what the future of this blog will look like.

I have been home for around two months. I came home just before Christmas. During the holidays I came to appreciate enjoying the company of family beside the heat of cozy wood stoves. I have eaten stomach bursting Christmas dinners, pre-Christmas dinners, New Years dinners, birthday dinners, and dinners in between all these dinners. There has been turkey, fish, chicken, moose meat, deer meat, breading, cranberries, special pea and cheese casseroles, cheese cakes, pastas, roasts, specialty made homemade cookies from fudge, snowballs, eat more bars, chocolate wallops, turtles, plush balls, date squares, caramelized crispies, sugar cookies, nuts, vegetables and bacon. All of this enjoyed on tables as full as family as they where with food.

We enjoyed cheers, hugs, cries, laughs and intimacy. We have bonded closer as a family in since I can remember. This crescendoed my trip and was also completely the best part. Returning home.

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

T.S. Elliot

Family is a weighted glue that seems to hold it all together. It also seems so very heavy and sticky and in other words… cumbersome. I guess that’s why the thought of leaving can be fantasized. Family reminds me of singing. It is very difficult and I do not seem to get much better at it but I can not ignore it. What I am meaning to say is that family is so beautiful because it is so difficult.

This blog will be headed in a few new directions over the course of this year.

After writing for a year I am getting closer to the subject matter I want to cover. In this post I am going to cover a bit about being back home and why I choose to come back home.

In the next post and following posts I will continue on my journey where I left off. I got disconnected from being able to post to this website while I was on the road. All my notes are on paper still and I will go through them to continue the story to where it left off “The Mirage of Monsters” in Nantua, France.

I have many many pictures. I will be going through them and sharing the best ones with you in the upcoming blogs.

So here to it, the meat of this post!

I have returned home. What started as a necessary quick return to Nova Scotia evolved into the decision to stay. I was in Rome, Italy, when I decided it was time to pack it up and return home. This decision was easy to make but it took a few weeks to be realized. I wanted to be very clear as to why I was making the decision to return home so I let the idea work itself out in my mind over time.

The biking was fantastic. I covered over one thousand miles on my bicycle. I rode across France, through Switzerland and down south all the way to Rome Italy. The scenery was fantastic, the sense of accomplishment was unparalleled. Gratitude was in abundance because everything was simply amazing to be a part of. There was a constant uplifting air of freedom. I had the ability to do anything and I was doing the very thing I wanted to be doing. My body was ecstatic and growing stronger everyday.

So why return home? Well first I want to draw attention to the wording I used in a sentence of the above paragraph “I had the ability to do anything…”. This sentence is important because it implies the ability to do anything is no longer there. The ability to do anything will always be there. I had it then and I had it when I made the decision to come home and I still have that decision making power now. I will always have that ability and I do not believe anyone will ever be able to take it away from me. I believe you have the same ability. I wanted to make that distinction because it is important.

So why return home?

It became very clear to me.

There is no love like family love. Family is love.

Humans all over the world are utterly fantastic. One single individual has the ability to create worlds beyond anyone else’s scope of understanding, yet these worlds can be made accessible to all. In short, humans are fantastic (you are fantastic) in that they have such a wide range of abilities available to them. I am saying this because I have respect and good faith in humankind and I value all humans as being monumentally important. I want to point out the peculiarity of family love, unconditional love, of our ability to put others before self and to share in suffering voluntarily.

Since all humans are equally fascinating then why the impossibly strong attraction, loyalty, affection, and commitment to those we love and are in our family? What natural force draws us to do this to these particular people? It is something i have pondered on for some time.

I must mention that I am not strictly talking about blood relation. This bond can be formed instantaneously with strangers, forged with length over years with enemies. It has no apparent motive and follows no real measurable pattern. It can strike anywhere and often does. It’s called love. I just happen to be looking at family love right now. It is natural and very common.

Family/unconditional love is unmistakable. It will not go away even if you want it to. It is honest and clear. That is what I find so interesting about it. There seems to be no control over it.

Everywhere that I traveled I witnessed family love.

It was among friends, families, groups, neighbors and strangers. It was clearly abundant in those bonded together by suffering and poverty.

We all know the world is not a paradise. That there exists out there some very real demons and horrible circumstances. There exists the absolute abyss of suffering and in its endless wake a countless continuity consumed by it. There is no end to the ups and downs of life and it never seems very fair in the end. But the most common thing I know of surrounds every single piece of reality.

Its love! Isn’t it? What else could it be? And that is wonderful.

I saw love in mothers caring for sons and in clerics cleaning altars. I saw it in beggars, dirty and humiliated, searching for a scrap of food to feed their loved ones. I saw it in paintings, newspapers, manuscripts, history and on the smile of strangers flashing by on the train. I saw it in those returning home.

Do you see it?

Well love is there and it is abundantly clear! It so very clear!

When I climbed mountains and saw mountain ranges cutting into a angry clouded sky. The wisps of winter floated off ice capped and collected in clouds to ready a vicious storm. I saw horses and cows and lambs. All I wanted to do was tell my family about it. All I ever wanted to do was share it with my family.

What’s the deal with that, eh?

It is this raw essence of brutal honesty that all things can be properly viewed from. Does the action you are taking at this very moment coincide with the feelings of love you have for your family? When you weigh the choices you make against the purity of family love how to the scales balance?

It doesn’t actually matter. Since anything we can measure is measured imperfectly and distorted by our own expectations of reality we can not trust any assumption or measurement made by ourselves. We can only come to most closely agreed upon assumptions and hope that the agreements were made using standards of purity. But is it not interesting that a sin seems so very much more sinful when we keep in mind how it compares to our family values? When we think about how an action might affect someone we love why does it seem so important?

Human is an animal that places great meaning on the value of all things. Usually this value can be weighed economically or sentimentally. With love, unconditional love, it is different. The value is not economical or sentimental. It is emotional and it is among the most powerful (maybe the most) forces of nature. It is curious to me that such a thing would exist. It does though and it is undeniably a part of us all. Some can, and do, build walls around it. We shall discuss that later.

 Even the ancients had a sense of humor… and idolized the hedonistic nature of man
Even the ancients had a sense of humor… and idolized the hedonistic nature of man

So that is reason number one to why I returned home. It is a subject that I will return to again and again in upcoming blog posts.

Love of family and desire to be back with them is not the only reason I have returned home. Music has made me do it as well.

When I was travelling it was very hard to commit to any practice of any sorts musically. In France I did borrow a guitar for a while and I practiced my vocal techniques as often as I could. I would sing to cows and empty fields and wonder if anyone could hear me howling at seven in the morning. Eventually though I craved a committed space to work musically in. I wanted my guitar and a new piano. I wanted sheet music, binders, and posters to help me study theory. I wanted to become immersed in music. My soul began to scream for it

It’s a peculiar thing that my desire to practice and make music would be so strong that it has such an influence over my life. I feel physical pain and discomfort when not being able to play my guitar or stretch my voice. I dream of piano and often find my hands twitching as though there was a ghost piano under them.

It is extra peculiar because I am not particularly talented at music, especially singing. However the desire is probably the strongest I have. I simply must make noise and I must find harmony or else the whole nature of my being goes out of whack.

One of the first things I did when I returned home was buying a piano and I now practice it everyday. I try to sing and play guitar everyday. I try to make time for things that I have decided and found by trial that are important to me.

I have many projects on the go and I am spread pretty thinly trying to get them off the ground. Having a space to work on my creative outlets is critical for me. It became clear to me what I had to do. Just like it was clear to me when I had to travel it was clear to me that I had to return home. It is so interesting because a lot of this journey has been in the name of “follow your heart”. That is what I believe I have done and so far the benefits of that have been outstanding. I still feel precocious about the whole idea. It is a very abstract idea and difficult to explain clearly. However that is what I have been doing. That is why I quit my job. That is why I sold everything. That is why I traveled the world for a year. That is why I am reconnecting with my family. It is why I play music and write and feel passionately about self expression. Because my heart tells me to. And even though I still have the gull to not completely trust the process, it has not yet led me astray. In fact I am happier than I have ever been.

There is a big project in the works right now. I hope to get it off the ground in the coming weeks. If it goes well it will be the largest testament to how listening to my heart works. In the future I will write all I can about the process that I believe got me in touch with my soul, my heart, and my animalistic nature. It will be interesting I promise! So please stay tuned and subscribe with the form below.

A lot of this clarity is attributed to my travels. A lot of this clarity is attributed to before my travels and came with the whole planning process. I hope you remember, reader, that I got rid of everything before embarking on a world tour. This meant the obvious material possessions like car, house, and appliances. This process also meant the getting rid of anything that would weigh me down which included notebooks, pictures, and various extremely sentimental objects. This was difficult. The payoff though is that today when I sort through my belongings I find only things that are critical and important to me. Anything that was attached to an idea or an abstract value is gone. This process has eliminated the unnecessary from my life and made clear the necessary. This is so beneficial to getting things done. I intend to write on this subject with great detail in the upcoming posts. The clutter is gone.

For now I will leave you with this post. I am safe at home and the bicycle trip is for now over. I felt I learned and discovered so much on my journey that I had obtained what I was looking for even if I am not exactly sure what it was. I decided it was time to come home and take a new perspective on my entire life. That is what I am working on now.

I have a very exciting project on the go. I can not wait to share with you. Please subscribe to stay in the know!

Allen Hall