Greetings from India
Wow. I'm astounded. 

I'm humbled and invigorated by everyone's comments, reshares, and support coming out of the launch of this page. A diversity of friends from a plethora of locations and time periods/life chapters have come forth with suggestions, the sweetest and kindest of words, and further ideas to evolve and expand the vision. Love it. I can't wait to keep journeying to see where this takes me (us). 

Speaking of journeying, I'm typing this very first post on a flight enroute to Kolkata, India, and meanwhile outside the plane window, some 12000 meters below, is the vast, expansive, and hugely red Australian desert.  

It's red. Very red. And flat.

I'm headed (back) to India to connect with a friend of a friend who has split time between India and the states in the last 7 or 8 years, and has worked in community gardens while keen on starting one in/near Kolkata, his home. We are looking to pull our knowledge together and see how his regional connections plus my past experiences working on farms, with the Beacon Food Forest and Conscious Impact could potentially help him grow his vision. 

I'll also be heading up to the Sikkim region of the lower Himalayas to photograph a multi-day wedding for a friend from Seattle and her soon-to-be husband, whose family is interestingly from the part of India that used to be Nepal, but India "won" it some decades ago. Many people there still consider themselves Nepali despite holding Indian passports, and follow the Nepali calendar, traditions, and other cultural elements that differ from others in the greater region. 5+ days of festivities and celebrations in the Himalayan foothills where even Google Maps doesn't have the village listed? Sign me up. My only concerns - monsoon rains, and leeches. Mmm... at least it won't be 40C(!) like it is currently in Kolkata. You can bet there will be some colorful images coming down the pipe. 

Australia was an unexpected and extended "layover" for me. Due to an unforseen circumstance in New Zealand, I had to hop across the Tasman Sea to Oz in April. I've had utmost fortune having friends through traveling and the Conscious Impact community in Sydney, Gold Coast, and Byron Bay, and got to spend the past several weeks with them and their family and friends in the best of care and quality company. I love reunions! As some of you may have noticed in the main Patreon video, the new content was written and shot while I was in beautiful, tranquil Bryon Bay. I got to soak up some natural beauty on those lovely beaches and lush swamps while having much time to be introspective and process these last several months. In Sydney, I had some great opportunities to hang out with the incredible Digital Storytellers (http://digitalstorytellers.com.au) team in Sydney, and worked out of their office while getting to know several people in the team and shadowing the co-founders on a couple videoshoots. Their ethos, values, and purpose-driven work and productions are deeply admirable. They have truly inspired me in a multitude of ways, and moving forward I'm beyond excited to keep learning from their 'Stories For Impact' program and have the potential to collaborate. More about this in a future post! 

You know what's quite monumental? It's only been 6 days since the launch, and we've smashed the first goal and are on track to the 2nd in the coming weeks! That essentially secures the return to Nepal later this year for another round of rebuilding, documentation, and content creation with my baseline costs covered at the very least. 

In case you haven't seen the linked video yet - this piece is close to my heart. It is a collaborative effort with several people in the Conscious Impact team (Alyson Sagala, Narayan Bhattarai, Bryce Tanner, and Sunita Pandey) plus Alyson's friend Justin Nguyen on the soundtrack, and it was shot and produced last year, and edited and published just a few months ago. Let Narayan's words sink in, and enjoy his wisdom. It's videos and stories like his that I would like to shoot and produce more of moving forward. 

Looking ahead - will you help me make this experience better for you and I both by suggesting the types of content you'd like to see? Behind the scenes? Personal anecdotes on travel, life, work, and balancing them? Gear/technical geekiness? Links to relevant, inspiring articles or videos? The best ice cream? I definitely plan to continue to write about and showcase recent happenings and future visions, give shoutouts, and be transparent with the spending of support monies. 

Just a heads up - your cards/accounts will be billed in the beginning of the month. Please ensure they are up to date so no payments get declined! ALSO - since we've hit the first goal - I've JUST ordered my (new-to-me) laptop! Having this residual financial support really adds confidence in making leaps. I can't wait to be typing and creating content later next month on the newer machine when I return to the states! 

So this being the first post, I really wanted everyone to be able to see it. In the future, there'll be content that's for supporters/patrons-only. But regardless of your patron status and tier, please feel free to engage, to post, and send over ideas as they come to mind on this platform!  

Meanwhile, please enjoy the linked video (in case you missed it) dear to my heart that was collaborative creation by 3 friends and I in the village where Conscious Impact has been based: https://vimeo.com/256242105 

It's time for shoutouts and a showcase of some of the garbage I've picked up on behalf of folks who are pitching in at $2/month or more: 

Shoutouts!

  • Peter Wells
  • Kristine Schiman 
  • Dora Lee
  • Otis Skipper
  • Ally Carlton-Smith
  • Kelly Pi
  • Obakhan Jones
  • Aiyana Bailin
  • Mikey Leung
  • Frankie Lee
  • Lisa Colligan
  • Renee Dyke
  • Steve Tracy 
  • Lindsay Claverie
  • Michelle Kizner
  • Khen Russell
  • Nils Folger
  • Naira de Garcia

 Garbage!

Picked these up plus a few other small bits of plastic packaging throughout Sydney this past week. I think I'll have plenty of opportunities for garbage pickup in India for the rest of the month... This will quickly turn into a mosaic/college of garbage as time goes by! 

I'd like to close this first post with a very powerful read on SSIR (Stanford Social Innovation Review): https://ssir.org/articles/entry/using_story_to_change_systems. It highlights many points I've mentioned on my Patreon page, and much more. You may see an upward trend in the use of "storytelling," and whether or not it's a practiced with integrity or as greenwashing, I think this is an emerging movement to watch. 

I love this post/reshare by Lisa, a new friend and connection in the sustainable food realms met whilst in New Zealand, "... Subtledream captures visions of a more connected and nourished (physically and spiritually) world community via Jonathan's globetrotting adventures. He's making some serious moves ~~ check out his story and work, and consider donating." Ok, it's 41C in Kolkata now. I need to close to this hot laptop. Deep thanks to you all. 

Next goal - and we're so close - book that flight back to Nepal!