“So, why have I been doing this?
What has been my inspiration? What started me on this journey?
This Project — while at its core addresses serious and tangible global issues — is a memoir of sorts. It is fueled by my journey, as an adventurer from the ‘developed’ West who becomes thoroughly fed up after a lifetime of being bombarded with consumerism and its material culture. I wish to be unbound from the rules of my home society and pioneer a new life path.
This personal journey — perhaps representing a planetary species that has become disconnected from the natural source that gives it life —is an analogous quest to reconnect with my natural root system, back to a point of natural innocence.
This adventure took place literally on the opposite end of the planet from where I was born and base programmed. This quest stems from an inner driving force to access what I consider to be the heart of humanity, i.e., the nature intrinsic to us all, and which perhaps manifests more in the hearts and lives of indigenous peoples living in their natural environment.
Following an inner calling, he separates from his beloved family and friends and jets off to ‘developing’ SE-Asia. It is in every way on the other side of the planet from where he was born, and everything he’s ever known. As though he’s traveled back in time, this foreign space is amidst a sort of in-between global ‘modernity’ stage. ‘Traditional’ culture rooted in natural ways is, however, in many respects (for awhile longer) still intact.
On the journey of a lifetime — experiencing a sense of soul liberation and personal empowerment — he becomes deeply engrossed by this land, its peoples, and particularly with their rural ways of life. Now with the space and opportunity to reflect upon his world-views, as well as cultivate his potential, he actually does, while learning about life, pioneer a new life path.
He’s found his sanctuary and vows never to leave. However, while further developing a deep genuine love for this new environment he becomes evermore perturbed by the ‘development’ related changes happening rapidly around him.Verdant rice paddies in his new northern Thai homeland are being filled with concrete to make way for the foundations of condo and shopping mall developments. There’s increasing traffic congestion, materialism, and pollution. People are becoming more impatient. The ‘traditional’ culture is giving way to that of fast-paced material modernity. Generations-old farms are being sold to foreign investors. The landscape is transforming.
“These are the very things that I have been attempting to flee! Is there anywhere in this world that I can escape, to where life is natural and normal? Do I have to leave the planet?!? … I will.” … He is becoming in Thailand as a foreigner from the future.
He begins comparing these phenomena evermore with those that have long since happened in the country from which he comes, and especially their impact on people and society. This the foreigner from the West realizes is just like what happened in the small mining town from where he comes — once a cultural melting pot that heeded the forces of nature. But all of this had vanished in the wake of industrial modernity.
His gnawing angst and insatiable curiosity commands him to get on his motorbike, push all boundaries, and travel further and further into the Thai countryside. He eventually finds himself (alone) in remote off-the-grid rural areas, where there are no modern facilities and people are living from the land. There, it’s as though he’s living the National Geographic specials he intensely watched as a youngster.
His experiences profoundly transform when he meets an old indigenous ethnic Lahu medicine man named, Jebate. Of an ‘old generation,’ this knowledge keeper of nature is the last of his kind in the area. Jebate is diligently trying to transfer his knowledge to the village youth. However, the younger generations just aren’t interested; material modernity is more enticing.
The old medicine man’s knowledge of how to live with and from the Earth will die with him.
Witnessing this strikes the heart of the adventurer. He doesn’t want to see this transpire in northern Thailand like it already had happened in his home country. He sees more keenly now that our world is changing (perhaps too) rapidly — not just in rural areas, and not necessarily for the better.
As a solution, he wants to take a moment’s pause. He wishes for everyone to look around and realize the value of our connection with nature and with each other — before it’s too late.
He chooses to dedicate his life to trying to cultivate global awareness about the value of the old medicine man’s knowledge and that of others like him. He at least attempts to bring awareness to the world about our natural roots and about what is most important for all of our survival.
While experiencing great blessing — as well also persevering through economic and personal hardship — as others help the adventurer along his way, he perseveres.
Step-by-step, adventure by crazy adventure, he as a ‘foreigner from the future’ in this quickly transforming foreign land learns from northern Thailand’s indigenous peoples — their ways, and their plight. He while doing so gains life expanding insight into where he’s from (i.e. his roots in nature), where he is, and perhaps where he’s destined to go — as a member of a world society.
Come with me.
Our world is rapidly changing, not only in rural areas. This is a global human condition. … Please look around at our roots, our nature, our cultures; they have value!
And this Project aims to communicate this through the voices of people who are in many ways at the margins of the global development continuum. They (still, for how much longer?) carry indigenous knowledge that I believe is vital for humans’ survival on Planet Earth.
Most people in this world now seem to think and believe that everything is going wrong, when in reality many things are going right. After decades of industrial development slumber, people are waking up again to what is really important.
Regardless, during this time social division and a soft civil war of sorts is happening. The world is polarizing, with each side thinking the other side is evil. … And I believe it is (nearly) time for reminder messages of our natural roots and peace in social unity.”
FOR THE FULL STORY, click here and read the transcript of a 2012 interview with Jeffrey.