I made my first trip off the North American continent when
I was four. My parents, my brother and I drove around Europe for
two months, the summer after the disaster in Chernobyl. We visited
Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and
the British Isles. Almost every place we went we stayed in the
homes of local people. We spent our time visiting museums, castle
ruins and getting to know the Europe of the Europeans. I still
remember the Viking museum in York, steep Belgian stairs and climbing
over crumbled castles.
My mother and brother had been moved when the visited the Soviet
Union in 1985 to get involved in citizen diplomacy. My parents
began organizing tours to the USSR for this purpose, and in 1987
I came with them. We went to Moscow, Leningrad and Odessa (Ukraine).
In addition to seeing the great sights in those places - the hermitage,
red square - we ate dinners in the homes of Soviets, visited Russian
schools, gave out peace balloons and shared our cultures - Americans
and Soviets face to face.
On my second trip to the Soviet Union we visited seven cities.
Once again we went to Moscow and Leningrad. We also visited Novosibirsk
(Siberia), Alma Ata (Kazakhstan), Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Telavi
and Tbilisi (Ukraine).
In 1989 my family was involved in "Lullaby for Tomorrow",
a joint theater project between Bainbridge Performing Arts (Washington,
USA) and Smile, a children's theater company from Novosibirsk
(USSR). "Lullaby" was a story of good against evil,
with famous American heroes teaming up with famous Soviet heroes
to fight the forces of darkness (personified by American and Soviet
villains). The show toured in both the US and the USSR. I was
present on the USSR trip.
For two months in the fall of my third grade year we lived
in Danderyd, near Stockholm, Sweden. The first month I attended
the local Swedish school. It was a wonderful school, with wood
shop and music lessons offered even at that young age.
During the second month we traveled to Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. In Norway we followed the trail of family geneology. In Denmark we visited an open air museum with a large collection of traditional dwellings from across Denmark. In every country we went to we met with colleges and visited centers of innovation in sustainability.
My parents were hired by Gaia Trust to write a report on Eco-Villages
in 1991. That year we lived in rural Jutland, Denmark, for four
months. I became very good at keeping myself company during this
time. I spent quite a lot of time wander by myself around the
neighboring countryside. This experience inspired me to write
a short story two years later.
A couple of the highlights of our time in Denmark were visiting the Nordvestjysk Folkecenter, an appropriate technology research center, and hosting the first meeting of the Global Ecovillage Network.
On this trip we also traveled to Sweden and Finland; as usual visiting friends, colleges and places of ecological innovation.
In the summer of this year my mother and I returned to Denmark,
Norway and Sweden. We visited distance cousins in southern Norway.
I then stayed with friends in Sweden while my mother went off
to do some work at an eco-village in Russia.
I spent the first minutes of 1995 watching the neighbors' fireworks
out the window in Delft, the Netherlands. That year we rented
a house in Delft, though we were only there about six unconsecutive
months. Four of the remaining months we spent in the community
of Findhorn, in Scotland. There my mother co-organized a conference
on Eco-Villages and Sustainable Communities. My father and I also
spent two months going around the world. We had twenty-four hours
in Thailand, a month in Australia, two weeks in New Zealand, a
week in Hawaii and a week back at the Winslow Cohousing, before
returning to Delft. During that year the three of us also visited
an eco-village in Germany and spent Christmas with friends in
I made such good friends at Findhorn that with my babysitting
money, and little help from family members, I went to visit them
for a month in 1996. As part of that trip I also went with one
of my friends to Ireland for a week. This trip was a holiday,
but it was my first completely solo journey.
My father and I spent two months of this year in Europe. Our
time started with a set of meetings in Denmark that I partly attended,
partly helped out practically with. We then visited the Netherlands,
Belgium, Paris, Italy, Scotland and London. Most of our trips
in the past had been focused on my parents work. This time we
spent much of our time visiting art and history museums. The exceptions
to this were our visit to the spiritual artistic community of
Damanhur in Italy and my father's speaking engagement at Findhorn,
In December of 1998 my father and I spent a month in South
Africa with his new partner, Robina McCurdy. As usual our time
was spent in a combination of visiting friends and places where
people were applying ecological principles in their lives, and
Robina and I then went to Ireland for a week. We visited with friends, seeing sacred sights and an eco-village.
After our time in Ireland Robina and I fly to Findhorn, in Scotland, and reconnected with my father. He was assisting the community with its governance structures. One of the things that I did during the three months we were there was to get involved with an eco-village training. I assisted in the prepuration for the course, and participated in the permaculture and ecological building segments of it.