Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I am in line for an initiation ceremony where I will be buried alive for an unknown amount of time. I climb into the casket which is buried 6 feet below, but I do not want them to fill the hole with dirt, I am afraid of having a panic attack. I have recently been scuba diving and was rusty about using the air hose. So I am in the casket and it's dark and suffocating, I climb out to go pee and face some disapproving looks, like I am not truly committing to the process. I rationalize that I am making an okay decision, being completely buried just isn't safe. I convince myself that merely being in the closed casket in the dark is a good enough initiation. I sheepishly get back in and blow all the candles out to prove that I am committing, I am. 

Am I?

Monday, July 15, 2013


in a snack.


I started smoking cigarettes a little bit when I was in India, mostly just as a social thing and for the novelty of an easy buzz. For once I wanted to join in the process, the sharing, the scrounging, the excuse for a breather. Plus, cigarettes are cheap and sexy. I decided to see what it was all about.

And then I came to Nepal where I began eyeing the death sticks from afar, waffling on if I should get a pack, guilt tripping myself into abstaining. Well I finally bought some and smoked two. The first one gave me a buzz and the second one made me downright queasy, dizzy and sick as a dog. And now I can't even look at the damn pack. Go figure. 



Three years ago today, while camping with my parents I had my first lucid dream.

Two years ago I was vipassana meditating 10 hours a day and hadn't spoken in a week.

Last year I was acid tripping in a wicker dragon with a tiny fairy child, naked singing hallelujah with strangers dripping sauna sweat.

This year I am alone but not lonely across the globe in Nepal. 

Summer birthdays are the best.



Led me to yet another energy healing modality called "the emotion code" which I am so stoked to try! When I think of all the fun trapped emotions that are lurking in my body just waiting patiently to be released... Oh boy, hours of fun :) All I need is a magnet and some trust in the process. 

Since I began reiki 2, my intention has been on shedding the layers. And now I have a tool with which to do so. Thank you universe. 


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Home thoughts

I am getting better at finding homes wherever I go. In fact, it is kind of incredible that though I have been traveling for half a year, I have stayed on only a few hotel rooms. I have had access to kitchens and rooftops and I have even been allowed to paint the walls. BUT... I have also had to share these spaces with some very dominating people. People who lock the fridge and hide the key, people who bust in my room at all hours of the night, people who have painfully shrill voices and quick tempers, people who tell me how to live my life.

The better I get at travel, the more I am craving a real home. I don't know if this means a tiny apartment in the city or a tipi in the forest, or even something on wheels. What I do know is that I want a space I can come home to. I want a space where I can cook what I want and sleep when I want fully inhabit. I want a place that I do not have to share. But where is that place? And how to I get to it? 

Time will tell. 


Super moon

I have been away for exactly 6 months today, moonwise that is. So much has happened! Wow.


Thursday, June 20, 2013


I have been getting a lot of validation from online sources these days, posting pics on tumblr and checking to see if anyone likes them. It is both motivation and a strange pressure for my picture taking process. 

My style is a bit sneakster, a covert operation. I like the honesty of a candid. As I walk around I see the world in frames, beautiful creased faces, bright colors, shapes and patterns and laughter in eyes. Sometimes my whole focus become pictures I am missing. It is an easy leap from there to self criticism, of my shyness, my introversion. Last week I began carrying this guilt around, as if the problem lay in my fear of asking.

So I made a challenge, to ask 10 people if I could take their picture. I had yet to ask this question in my 6 months of travel. So I went out with my mission, nervously, and noticed some really interesting things. Of the 4 adults I asked, 3 of them were behind something, like a metal gate or a glass window, as if I needed the illusion of separation to be comfortable. One person said no. All were shitty pictures. 

BUT, in the process of talking to one guy (a schoolteacher) I attracted bunch of kiddos which led into a ridiculous photo session of leaping shots and of laughing. The kids actually were the ones to ask me, but I count it anyways. It was exactly what I needed.

I realized that to get the kind of non-sneakster shot I love, I have to build a relationship with the person first. I need to be able to put them at ease so they are reacting not to the camera itself, but to the girl behind it. I can do this with kids and with friends. And with strangers if I am drunk. And that will have to do for now.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I am caught

In creative flow. I do not want to leave the house and face the busy streets and foreign stares. But I owe 10 rupees to the man who sells me cake. And it might be nice stretch my limbs. xo

Sunday, June 9, 2013


While attempting to savor my new book, I realized I have already read it and in fact already own it at home. Thankfully, it is a book worth savoring twice. xo

Friday, June 7, 2013


I caught a genuine smile, bought a small book to savor, and found a clue towards Tibetan dream yoga: an author and title. xo

I have been attuned

Now may the Reiki flow in like water. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


I have been eating a lot of triangular food lately, mostly samosas and dosas.



In lieu of real girlfriends here in India, I have been watching the tv series girls over and over. Yesterday, watching an episode one pep talking about the starving artist thing: "Flaubert did it, Elvis did it, mick jagger did it." I wondered with the vague sense that I should know, who is Flaubert? 

Later on at home, Ali had laid out all the books from the house on a coffee table. Our library! He said proudly. I picked up a leather bound book and opened it up. And what did I find?

Madame Bovary, by Flaubert: an answer from the universe.


Saturday, May 4, 2013


Of my art.

Fairy tale
Still life

How do the pieces fit together?


Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I am back in Delhi, in the oppressive heat and welcome freedom. After months on the island, I can now go for a walk or eat a samosa whenever I want. And soon, I will have a whole apartment to myself. xo


Everything on stilts, in boats.


Shops closed for months due to strikes and political unrest. One man was selling vegetables here.


I feel like a stalker, this man is too precious, honest, serene. He is also a complete pain in the ass. I miss him.


I believe in tipis!

In what do I believe?

I believe in a divine pattern
I believe in duality
I believe in the law of attraction

As above so below, 
as without so within, 
The world is a mirror
And so am I.

Like attracts like,
My fears grew into
A flaming tower.

We must give it up to have it all
(The gift of the present moment)

Spiraling through time and space,
Ask and you shall receive
I saw the structure of a cell in my beer glass 
and the universe within that.

I believes in unity

I believe in fractals
I belong to you 
And you belong to me

Om shanti shanti

This week, I finally met the gem man. I was interested in his Tibetan mandalas, painted on rice paper with crushed stones and collected by his great grandfather from the mountains. I bought three, and then he opened his suitcases of jewelry.  From packs of folded white paper came a gorgeous array, I couldn't resist a small crystal egg and some moonstone pendants. I asked him if he had any rainbow obsidian, a stone I have been looking for (in the lava flows of eastern Oregon and gem and hippie shops) for about two years. He thought perhaps yes, but at his shop across the lake.  

So today again, he showed up at the island with a boat full of suitcases and an invitation to his home. After tea in a smoky dirt kitchen, and 6 hours and many gems later I found my rainbow obsidian, a 420 carat peridot, various topaz and the shiniest, clearest rose quartz I have ever seen. Like a deer in headlights, I didn't know what hit me.

So here I am, less traveling in India than living in Kashmir, painting on the walls when I feel like it, writing fairy tales to amuse myself and buying ridiculous crystals. 

simple pleasures

Of morning snow on the island, making my own milk tea with ginger and warm Kashmiri bread, two pieces. xo

The hawks are making joyful glides

And I am back in Kashmir. It is a month later and much warmer, though still cold enough for poncho and fire pot. I am staying on the island with two of my most favorite people here, a Finnish snowball and a Kashmiri prince. I am having two long shirts fashioned by the tailor, and a new green poncho. There is a strike and a curfew and all business have been closed for a week. 

More importantly, I am becoming aware of this pattern Hillary spoke of. It is a computer virus of the brain which multiplies at the slightest attempt to shut it down and is the source of much frustration. It has to do with jealousy, desire, and men who call me darling. I have realized that no one can take it away for me, I must bin it myself. 

As wise Ali baba told me, this is all my space. How do I want to use it?


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

patati patata

(blah blah blah)

My mind is on overdrive these past few days, in a good way I think. An emotional outburst from Ali has sparked some of my own questions, such as, how to be? And in what do I believe? And what am I willing to give up? Being in a Muslim culture is a godsend for bringing these topics to the surface.

There is a great ocean of distance between the West and Islamic east. I am constantly Trying to Understand, both sides, and within. 

I see so much beauty in the tradition here, from family life to daily prayer. I like the symbolism of cleanliness, and the shape of mosques. 

I have trouble with the intolerance of other ways.

Is this in itself intolerance?

I will always be an outsider to this gorgeous house,

But I will still creep around the garden

And try to catch a glimpse inside.

And I can't help but wonder,

Will anyone invite me in?


I am building a house

That will be the framework in which I live. My house is a triangle and a circle. It has three essential poles and nine to create space. The floor is the earth. The walls are creature hides. Inside, fire connects earth to sky.

My house is a tipi!

The tipi is a divine pattern: a mandala, made from the strongest shapes. If I can live within this pattern, my life will make sense.

But first, I have to learn it by heart.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Dear India

I have only known you a month, and it feels like much longer. I am growing to love your chaos and flow and most of all, your unpredictability. You have thrashed my plans, taken my money and given me gratitude and new friends. You are very beautiful, and very strong. Thank you from my heart.

Love, Gianna

The culture

Here in India, is to bath often and obviously. For me (private and self conscious) this is a good thing. xo

Thursday, January 31, 2013

self portraits

From Jaipur and Varanasi.

So as not to forget

I am traveling with semi-disgruntled folks, all in varying degrees of feeling ripped off and taken advantage of. I am getting the best deal of us all and have to constantly remind myself for what I am paying. Without this circumstance, I might be without friends, without locals to trust and dealing with a great many more daily hassles and frustrations. As Ali said, I am paying for time, time with these new people in my life and the full experience of being f***** by India loving it.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013


But this Rajasthan bit is hard. I hate the way we are traveling, I hate being stuck in a tourist track, I hate how much we are paying and I am so very thankful for this experience, the people I have met and all the gorgeous sights I have seen in the past week.

Every day we have spent traveling hours by car, stopping at cheesy overpriced tourist restaurants, forts and temples. The surly norwegian quizzes the driver on how much things cost, what grows where and how long is the drive in his sing song accent. We arrive to a town just as the sun is setting and leave first thing in the morning. I have been carving out space for myself when I can, declining tours and touristy bullshit in the hopes of letting the magic in.

It's funny though, even the magic is not what I imagined. 


Sunday, January 20, 2013

my name

means something different wherever I am, from yesterday to a state of one-pointed concentration. Here in Kashmir? My name means heart. xo


While being ferried around tourist style to somewhere that I didn't want to go, I saw a street boy. He came up to the car window with a dirty rag to his mouth, which meant he was high on gasoline or glue. He tried a flip and fell on his back. It took him a minute to get up. Then he dislocated his shoulders in a grotesque plea. He put his face right against my window, shielding his eyes with his hand (was just tall enough to see in). I bent to mirror him, our expressions separated by a pane of glass and a short lifetime of experience: his small blank eyes, my ambivalent tears. We held our gaze and he flicked a smile that I could not decode. Waseem and Carmen in the car, tried to get my attention and spanish Agnes said "leave her alone". 

I feel like a water balloon, filling slowly for weeks, and suddenly pricked by two glassy brown pins.


India, surrender.

I have been here for just about three weeks, and this place is simply blowing my mind. In this short time, my experience has been so completely unexpected, so far from what I thought I wanted and so completely wonderful.

My biggest challenge has been letting go of certain travel ideals, and my pride. I am realizing that I am kind of a stickler about travel. I like to do things the hard cheap way, I like to ride on junky local buses and buy the tickets myself and wander around alone and decide when and where to sleep, eat and move on. I thought I came here to be alone. Instead? I have been caught up in a flow, a torrent really that is carrying me along, washing over me in spicy waves and gently eroding the chip on my shoulder. This is a current far more powerful than I. 

So here I am in Delhi, last night Ali's mom slept in my bed and there is a constant barrage of yelling, coughing, crying, throat clearing and phlegm hawking coming through the walls around me. I spent the past two weeks in a warm smoky room on a houseboat in Kashmir, the whole time with a feeling that it would be over too soon.

Rajasthan is next. I wonder, what is there for me?


Is travel

Ever what we thought it would be? And isn't that the point? I am falling in love with this experience.


this place