Patricia started learning macramé in the Colombian Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta a couple months ago. A lifelong lover of crafts (and a fantastic primary school teacher), she’s been progressing quickly, learning different knot and pattern styles for bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and sunglasses holders.

She’s also made friends with other artisans, local or traveling, through Peru. Many of them travel and live off their work. This is a world I’ve only been introduced to through her.

In Huaraz, next to La Plaza de Las Armas, sits Art Wasi, a boutique of souvenirs. But what impressed us most was the incredible display of Mirko’s macramé, shown above. Mirko took time from his work to talk to us about the different stones that are prevalent in Peru, their prices in Lima, and gave Patricia a good precio artesano.

While we’re both not interested in the alleged mystical healing properties of stones, they are geologically natural mini-wonders. And my partner makes beautiful jewelry with them. That makes them special.


I added a /reading page. The Pinboard links come through liking an article in Instapaper or a workflow to save a web page from Safari. Though I would prefer if they were ordered by date with a short personal description rather than an excerpt, like Josh Ginter’s The Newsprint.

I haven’t figured out how to automate my novel reading through Goodreads yet. Most Goodreads plugins display book covers or don’t work anymore. I want an unordered list with a progress percentage, like this:

I don’t know enough about PHP or APIs yet to make this possible.


The 24-hour news cycle is not for me anymore. I imagine a lot of people feel the same. I can’t do anything about what’s happening on a macro-level. I try to tread lightly on this earth, wide awake, conscious of my thoughts and actions. This can be my contribution.

I still love knowing. Screens and the internet have exponentially expanded my interests and knowledge of current events. But often there is no beneficial action or mental change I can make after I read or see something noteworthy. It doesn’t bring immediate value to my life, except maybe some low-grade anxiety.

I cut out most news and found different sources. Places on the internet, often more independent, with interesting articles, podcasts, and videos that inspire me or bring some direct and meaningful benefit than just knowing; writing tips, things on Islam and mindfulness, vegetarian/vegan recipes, surfing videos, history PDFs, vanlife forums, language learning blogs, etc.

Jason Kottke is an inspirational example. For twenty years, he has been independently curating amazing things on art, history, philosophy, and science — occasionally topical, but never “breaking”. His job is to share his interests with us. Que suerte tiene.

For now, I satiate my online curiosity like this:

  • Reeder for RSS feeds, mostly indie bloggers from the community, some surfing blogs, a few technology sites, and miscellaneous feeds.
  • Instapaper for saving articles I’m interested in reading later, and taking away all the formatting to make it more readable.
  • Pinboard and Pinner for things I want to hold on to, for research or otherwise. I have an IFTTT applet running that archives liked Instapaper items to Pinboard.

My unintentional objective was to distance myself from the virality of the internet. I turned off any sharing feature on Instapaper from day one. I quit Twitter. I still have a news app on my home screen but thirty seconds after clicking it, I usually close it. I’ll keep it there to measure how little desire I have to keep informed over time.

More than anything, I’m just trying to take care of myself these days; my body, my brain, and my soul. Because this is it. And when I can take care of myself, I can care of my family, the animals and plants I see, and the spaces I occupy.

Free Time

There’s usually a simple third question exchanged among travelers, after names and countries of origin:

“What do you do?

I used to teach. But now?

With the amount of free time I have, I do many things now.

  • explore new villages and towns
  • buy local fruits and vegetables
  • cook with my wife
  • write novella ideas in my notebook
  • read
  • practice Spanish
  • learn new things like surfing
  • make coffee with my tiny cafetera
  • hike
  • work on my proofreading course
  • meet new people

I did many of these things when I worked full time, but they aren’t weekend activities or things to do after work. These are my days.

We use our free time to get inspired and to organize our life in ways to not need as much money to live it. How are you using your free time?

Whose Land? Tongva Land

Aruba D’Souza and Summer Brennan are asking people on Twitter:

Whose land are you feasting on this Thanksgiving?

They both link to Native Land to check the original owners of the land we now call our own. If you were educated in the Californian education system, you might have worked on Spanish mission history in 3rd or 4th grade.

Even with this, I remember nothing about the Tongva people, the original inhabitants of the Los Angeles Basin and the Southern Channel Islands.

After the Mexican-American War ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe in 1948, the United States took possession of land that included California. Between 1851-1853, U.S. Treaty Commissioners signed 18 treaties with hundreds of Indian groups setting aside 8.5 million acres in California for Indian reservations if the original inhabitants gave up the other 75 million acres. These treaties weren’t ratified by the U.S. Senate and were “lost” in a locked desk drawer in the Senate Archives for over 50 years.

And this is just the start of the U.S. Government’s unilateral decisions regarding the Tongva and other original California peoples.

The official Gabrielino-Tongva tribal website has more information:

Acting to “recognize the equitable claims” of the Gabrielinos and “all the Indians of California”, the Court awarded 7 cents an acre as compensation for the 8.5 million acres of land which was never set up as reservations under the 18 “lost treaties”. From this sum was deducted the cost of administration of the claims. In 1850, some 94 years earlier, no public lands were purchased for less than $1.50 per acre. The Court of Claims awarded no interest for the 94-year period between signature of the 1851-53 Treaties and payment of the monies in 1944.

The Tongva people have been living in the Los Angeles Basin for 7,000 years. While the history is well-documented with 2,800 archeological sites, California and U.S. Federal records, as well as Catholic mission documents, it’s quite a shame I know so little about the land I grew up on. When Spanish and American missionaries and settles came in, they enslaved Tongva people, they committed state-sponsored genocide, and allowed the theft and slavery of Indian children. This was all with the tacit approval of the State of California. In fact, Section 394 of the Civil Practice Act states:

“No Indian or Negro shall be allowed to testify as a witness in any action in which a White person is a party.” Our Supreme Court reasoned, “The evident intention of the Act was to throw around the citizen a protection for life and property, which could only be secured by removing him above the corrupting influences of degraded castes.”

It took until 1994 for the State of California to recognize the Tongva in Assembly Joint Resolution 96:

The Joint Resolution states that the State of California “recognizes the Gabrielino-Tongva Nation as the aboriginal tribe of the Los Angeles Basin and takes great pride in recognizing the Indian inhabitance of the Los Angeles Basin and the continued existence of the Indian community”.

Too late.

Let’s educate ourselves. Whose land are you feasting on?