'Who are you?' said the Caterpillar...
'I-I hardly know, Sir, just at present- at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.'
'What do you mean by that?' said the Caterpillar, sternly. 'Explain yourself!'
'I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, Sir,' said Alice, 'because I'm not myself, you see.'
-Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Listen to wise old Joseph-withers, dear Alice, the man called once Mr. Campbell. He spoke thus:
"You are that mystery which you are seeking to know"
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April 6th 2010
Paradise Lost A conceptual image of Paradise is reality, but can only be found within the architectural framework of an idealist’s imagination. Just as Happiness and Sadness, Good and Evil—these concepts do not exist, yet are everywhere. They are undiscoverable, can’t by found, hidden from the materialistic world; but they simply wait, readily available to be experienced whenever the heart is open and the mind is broad. In The Island of Lost Maps, author Miles Harvey states: These days… not even the truest of true believers would dare to put Paradise on a map. Yet despite the cynicism of our age, we humans have not lost our urge to quest after that place of perfect contentment, never quite finding it but never giving up hope, sometimes drawing so near that we can almost smell the faint ... read more
April 1st 2010
Ecstatic Elephants & Horny Rhinos Like a mystical revelation of sorts, a dreamland where things are real and others phantasmal, there was relief. It had been three days of torment—physical, mental, and hardly spiritual—traveling overland atop a lorry truck from Ethiopia to Nairobi. Three days of early mornings, tortuous afternoons, and sultry nights underneath holey mosquito nets. Lily and I approached the Westland suburb of Nairobi, dazed by time and filth. As we arrived in taxi, the avenues grew emerald, denser with thick brush and high boughs. Trees were lush. They harbored blossoms of radiant oranges and opulent reds. It was as if we were driving down a boardwalk in Savannah, Georgia; huge homes covered in gray shade, ungodly in comparison to the neighboring slums. We continued and drove into the heart of gated properties, lavish ... read more
March 27th 2010
The Ethiopian/Kenyan Overland Kenya came with a crush and departed with deep rejuvenation. To extrapolate, my fiancée Lily Brewis and I entered the East African country along its northern limits. The day prior was spent rumbling along the nonexistent infrastructure of Ethiopia’s southern roadways before arriving to the border-town of nowhere-Moyale. We checked into a dump, ate, drank and passed out to the smells of our squat toilet, which emitted fumes of someone else’s noxious bile. Then we rose, left disgustedly, stamped our departure passes, strolled across into Kenya, more stamps, pens and papers—then KABLAAM! We were in Kenya surrounded by tall, beefy, tall, lanky, short and muscular, drunk and squeamish Kenyan men. Inside the country for all but thirty minutes and already witness to two fistfights and a handful of aggressive arguments breaching ... read more
February 14th 2010
We were enveloped in a disruptive blackness. Somewhere, in the Horn of Africa, our carriage rested, while inside our bodies contorted uncomfortably on plastic benches. Supposedly, this was First Class. But our butts, backs and remaining body parts disagreed in Western fashion as the hours of darkness slowly ticked intermittently between quick slumbers of exhaustion. One person stirred, which caused a domino effect of passengers waking, rustling, and repositioning themselves into something vaguely tolerable. Outside was more of the same. Shouts of Afar and Somali traveled in chaotic yellow beams of flashlights that sliced into the night air. Above, the skies were clear as stars glistened in their full desert regalia. They encircled a waning moon that reflected what little light there was, forming silhouettes of the surrounding landscape. We were found in the middle of ... read more
February 9th 2010
A little Harrari girl approached the five of us and to each one spoke the following: “Fish have no legs. Donkeys have four legs. Cows have four legs. And antelope have two horns. Now give me birr!” Her factual data and explicit demand caused me to think about the reasons of travel. We travel to absorb, to broaden the mind and expand our human consciousness. We move to progress, one hopes, in a forward direction, evolving with new skill sets and creative tools. We explore to simply discover the blossoms of unknown territories in mind, body and spirit. All these are our hopes, what we dream for in the essence of travel. The faerie tale of imagination arrives with blue skies and dazzling African sunsets. It’s angelic for a moment, and then in the next it ... read more
January 17th 2010
Addis Ababa sneaks up on you under the cover of darkness and smashes into your senses at the first light of day. Molasses mixed with gasoline and diesel spews from exhaust pipes, filling the grills of the public lines packed with humanity. Everything under the African sun thuds into 250 square kilometers of valley and pumps out a life bursting with tenacity. Dirty, dusty and polluted—Africa’s 4th largest city is… surprisingly easy. Catch a minibus from the roadside to a nearest transport hub and in an hour the whole sprawl is at your fingertips for less than a dollar (at the time of writing, 12 birr equals one US$1). Hiking trails along the outskirts dot mountaintops. Splashes of exotic cuisine from local injera to pans of pizza pie ring the clock. Shopping malls for the elite ... read more
January 11th 2010
Italy missed it. The Emperor Haile Selassie created a new legacy. Agriculture flourished with creative inventions of coffee and teff. And people evolved with smiles on faces of unparalleled beauty. Nestled within the Horn of Africa, this land is boisterous and unique; food specialized and faith ingrained deep with the freedom to believe. Home sweet home, Ethiopia. Twenty-four hours of transit to a different time zone upon a different continent in a world that revolves in different Time, all set in a calendar 7 ½ years behind the West. Add one extra month (which proceeds the month of August) in a yearly cycle of twelve and you find yourself in Ethiopia. Abraham the driver pulled Lily and me out of immigration, led us to his van and trundled into the city. It was after midnight on ... read more
November 8th 2009
The Faces and Emotions of Peace BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, WA - November 12, 2009 Cameron Karsten Photography is a portrait of peace. On Thursday, Nov. 12th from 6 - 8:30PM, an Artist’s Reception at The Upstairs Gallery in The Pavilion commemorates a new display of photography. Captured from around the world, the Bainbridge Island exhibition kicks-off Cameron Karsten’s upcoming adventure to East Africa and is part of the One World Multicultural Festival; an all-day event celebrating world diversity with international foods, cultural music, exotic dance, conceptual art and independent film. Along with partner Lily Brewis, the islanders’ journey will begin in Ethiopia, volunteering at an orphanage and continue for five months traveling and working with non-profit organizations like island-based Global Team for Local Initiatives. Via photography, article writing and HD film... read more
November 3rd 2009
The soul of the roving Cameron Juan Karsten is within photography and writing. He yearns for expansive adventure of the deepest value in order to express the tales of humanity.... read more
October 21st 2009
Bears are a species I have never encountered, and to be honest, a species I’ve always wished to experience. A bear by my car. A bear in my trashcan. A bear in the sights of my telephoto or a bear scurrying away in daylight at the trailhead. But a bear near my bed or next to my tent? I don’t care for that. Ah yes, Yosemite National Park. In my first twenty-five years of being human I never witnessed The Colossus despite living a mere five hours south. It was always one of those undesired, over-populated RV hog-towns where my family imagined last. We never rented the Cruisin’ America boxes. We never bought the Coleman stovetop with double burners. Instead, we piled into our old teal ’93 Ford Explorer with stained cotton seats and ventured to ... read more