The nomadic life has much to recommend it, but it can wear you down. By the day after Christmas I will have been back in the U.S. a full month. I hadn’t realized how tired and run-down I was from my travels until I got settled into my temporary home. Fortunately, my good friends, Sergio and Gaye Lub, graciously provided me a “landing pad” at their home in the East Bay where I was able rest and recuperate for a couple weeks, enjoying their company and the comfort of a quiet, peaceful, and beautiful place.
Staying there in the San Francisco bay area also afforded an opportunity for me to meet more great people and see some old friends. Sergio is without a doubt the world’s greatest networker and event organizer. Besides being an artist and successful entrepreneur, he is the founder of the Living Directory, a free social networking utility that is used by tens of thousands of people in dozens of organizations and groups around the world to build their “networks of trust.” You can check out the Living Directory at http://www.livingdirectory.org/.
The evening following my return we went to hear Frances Moore Lappé speak in Sonoma, then afterward a few of us accompanied her to the home of harpist, Georgia Kelly (http://www.georgiakelly.com/) for conversation and refreshments. That also provided occasion to hang out with the very funny and much admired Swami Beyondananda (Steve Bhaerman). In case you’re not aware of it, Frances Moore Lappé has been working for 30 years on politics of food issues. She achieved considerable fame with her book, Diet for a Small Planet. Her latest book is called Getting a Grip (see http://www.smallplanet.org/). Swami Beyondananda is a syndicated humorist. His website is at http://www.wakeuplaughing.com/
The day after that event, Sergio and I visited a mutual friend at Google headquarters in Mountain View where he has been working for the past couple years. As you might expect, the Google operation is quite impressive in a number of ways. First of all is the campus and buildings which are extensive, nicely landscaped, and well maintained. Many of the buildings have their roofs covered with solar cells that, we are told, generate about a third of the company’s electricity needs. Then there are the various employee “perks,” including free meals throughout the day at several gourmet level company dining rooms, gardens and cafes that are scattered around the campus. There are a number of plug-in hybrid cars that employees may borrow to run their errands, and for getting around the campus, employees can pick up one of the many light blue bicycles that can be left at their destination. Added to all that are a swimming pool, several gymnasia and readily available massage.
For obvious reasons, we were not told much about the inner workings of the company or their current projects, but it seems that the various work teams have a lot of autonomy within an organizational structure that has very few layers of hierarchy. The subject of compensation was off-limits to our conversation.
The weather in the east bay for most of my stay was on the cool side, much like that I left behind in London, but that helped to put me in the Christmas spirit when on the weekend Sergio and I ventured out to buy a Christmas tree that I later helped Gaye to decorate.
I took a couple days to drive to Arizona, arriving in Tucson on Wednesday the 12th of December. I stayed with friends for a few days then moved into a house-sitting gig for a couple weeks while Bob and Frederika visit family in Europe. It’s been a pleasure to reconnect with many friends here in Tucson. The Holiday season has made it feel all the more welcoming — I went to three parties in the first three days, including the holiday dinner of the Sustainable Tucson core team, and there are more social events upcoming.
I’m pleased to see that Sustainable Tucson (http://www.sustainabletucson.org/) is growing and thriving, with many energetic new people on the core team. ST has so far managed to remain open to a diversity of views on what sustainability means and approaches to achieving it. That is the nature of a coalition, isn’t it? to be inclusive, promote dialog, and emphasize the things that are held in common.
I’ve finally gotten around over the past couple weeks to start posting my photo galleries on the web. They are on Picasaweb at http://picasaweb.google.com/tomazhg. My most recent photos in California and Arizona are there, including pictures of the ST core team holiday party and the Winterhaven Christmas walk. Many of my Asia pictures have also been posted, but more need to be added as time allows. Enjoy!
People have been asking what my plans are. At the moment, I’ve booked only a couple things over the coming weeks. In mid-January I’ll fly to South Carolina for a few days to visit my son, daughter-in-law, and grandkids, then a few days later will go to Oregon for a series of meetings and presentations. It is my intention to return to Asia sometime soon, but whether that will be within weeks or months is still not clear to me. As Castaneda’s Don Juan advises, “A warrior cannot plan, but a warrior must act as if he has a plan.”
My best wishes to all for a Happy Holiday Season, and may we hope that 2008 will bring lots of love and peace and joy into our world.
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