Beat Zen and the Art of Dave
The story of the project
Travel can be as hard to define as Zen itself. For some of us travel is a vice for anonymity and escape to punctuate breakups, career changes, midlife crises and semi-retirement. For others, overland journeys reveal deeper impulses of personal transformation – to find answers to happiness and harmony and bear light on the ultimate mystery and sufference of it all. But in the bleachers of honeymooners, holidaymakers, iBackpackers, veteran wayfarers and Beat Zen vagabonds capturing this movement is difficult.
In spite of, or more accurately because of such impediments, the genesis for Beat Zen and the Art of Dave found its own traction. The timing was right. I was standing on a figurative and literal border in my life – symmetrically placed to see equally where I’d come from, where I was and where I was heading. There was a physical lyricism to match where I was in life. After five months travelling down the grand isthmus of Central America I was in Leticia in the southwest corner of Colombia. Nestled on the tri-border of Peru and Brazil, I was well beyond the end of the road (and right where I wanted to be)since Leticia is only accessible by boat or plane. There I stood on the Rubicon’s edge of my journey. It took the form of the Rio Amazonas flowing like a giant causeway into Brazil and out into the Atlantic Ocean. Fresh from an ayahuasca ceremony with Jimmy, the local Medicine Man, I glimpsed an arcane conflation of things that seem to visit me on every overland adventure I undertake – usually involving my staring down at my feet or gazing across a vista, marvelling at how I got there. I had every intention of jumping on a boat and heading downstream for 8-10 days to Manaus then onto Belem on the coast. But for the first time ever on a trip I decided to curb my insatiable onward desire. I was mindful about returning to Australia to help promote my first published book and wanted to return with some cash still in my pockets.
After the release of my first book I realised I wanted to reflect on my own longstanding attraction to an erratic, meandering lifestyle, for which I’ve observed over time more and more people of every age identify with like it is a self-contained religion. While spirituality and travel is a marriage as old as earthly beyuls and pilgrimages, I believe it is no less relevant today. I wanted to embrace the previous generation of iconic travel writers, such as Kerouac and Steinbeck who sought answers on the open road at a time when Eastern philosophy in the West was new and exciting. And I wanted to make this connection relevant in our present climate of heightened spiritual curiosity. I also wanted to compare the attitudes of the aging Lonely Planet generation to the new iBackpackers, to expose the conundrum of travellers seeking enlightenment in the less familiar when mobile technology keeps us tethered to all that we left behind.
The result is Beat Zen and the Art of Dave, which intertwines humorous anecdotes and travel lore with backpacking philosophy and Eastern spirituality. I also offer an allegoric window to personal introspection by selecting arresting and entertaining stories from my lifelong odyssey. I expound on the delusions, desires and detachments (however misguided or allied they might be) which impel backpackers away from what’s familiar. I entertain the serendipitous phenomena which appear to gravitate and orbit more closely around the lives of those on the open road. I ruminate on my own journey – the rewards of self-exploration and discovery often ignored in everyday life, as well as the sacrifices which came along for the ride. And I contemplate my ageing stature in the every youthful fraternity of overland travellers as a way of dispelling myth and glamour which embalm the backpacking lifestyle.
At its essence Beat Zen and the Art of Dave is a wending meditation on the modern vagrant and wayfaring lifestyle. To be released in December, your support comes with great giveaways that would make a fantastic Xmas present to acquaint tyro travellers with life on the open road and accompany wanderlust struck mates on their next adventure abroad. It will also appeal to those invested in modern spirituality and personal development, along with individuals who always wanted to feel the weight of a backpack but obligations got in the way.
How the funds will be used
-> Design/Layout: $1260
-> Printing (nominal print run of 1000 copies): $5400
-> Marketing/Distribution: $1800
-> Pozible fee $940
There are a lot of hidden costs in book publishing which we will happily absorb, especially in regards to the postage and deliver of campaign perks direct to your door anywhere in the world. With your amazing support if we do exceed the target, after all remaining costs are met additional funds will be donated to the Cambodian Children’s Fund.
Some of my other work
Like many graduates I flew to the UK and carved out a pauper existence while jaunting around the continent. Propelling myself across the globe aroused an incurable passion for independent travel. My unique insight into the world of international budget backpacking has given me a wealth of real world experience. Consequently, I can write with the unmistakable authority, clarity, relevance and empathy which only come from continually seeking out the most remote and arduous destination. This yen and fortitude delivered its own inevitability of sorts – a writer and published author as evidenced by my first travel book Loves, Kerbsides & Goodbyes.
Promotional work associated with m first book included radio interviews, press interviews and presentations about my publication to members of book clubs, libraries and other reader groups, the most coherent of which can be found on Soundcloud.
I capitalised on the publication of my last book by establishing my own website where I continue to blog creative works and travel-themed material. Constant application to my craft has produced a growing collection of short stories, flash fiction, and published freelance articles. I also use my website to showcase a diverse portfolio oftravel photography.
I also currently work for Charleston Daily where I contribute articles which focus on local community issues. I have only just recently returned from the USA after spending time gathering material for a third travel book, while working on two books of fiction also intended for publication.
Being heavily involved in the successful release of my first book, many of the hidden challenges related to book publishing and distribution are now familiar to me. This fills me with absolute confidence Beat Zen and the Art of Dave will be available by the middle of December to be put under Christmas trees and used as stocking fillers.
I am also intimately aware of the rigours and challenges of self promotion since I managed social media platforms and online content to enhance the publicity surrounding the launch of Loves, Kerbsides and Goodbyes. The challenge of PR campaigning is finding hours in the day when without assistance you’re already doing two other full-time roles. Luckily, I’m blessed with a great support network of family and friends, both locally and abroad, along with useful media contacts from my strong background in media production and freelance journalism. With your your generous support I have no doubt Beat Zen and the Art of Dave is a travel book that can travel far.