29 Mayıs iki bin on üç


Where to start?

From late night last night to right now which is 12:32 Istanbul time I could write a short book!

I had to bring my suitcase to my room, 3 high ceilinged stories to climb up with 50 lbs in my arms. I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest! My quads were really mad at me and I could barely breathe. But I did it.

The hostel is cozy, nothing fancy but very warm atmosphere. I have a single bed in a shared dormitory but so far no one else has taken possession of the other two beds.

I went for a short visit of Beyoğlu’s neighborhood. Istikal sokak is mostly a pedestrian street, with some motorcycles, city and police vehicles and the Tünel, an old fashion tramway that rolls down a set of rails.

I remember a comment from a friend of mine from Ireland who had asked about Richmond, BC’s extra wide yet empty sidewalks “Where is everyone?” She had just landed in Canada and was wondering why no one was walking on those sidewalks.


Here, everything, everyone moves. There is constant honking of horns, but not like in North American cities where the laying on the horn is basically a clear unveiled “F..You” Here it is quick double beeps, light on the horn, determined, possibly annoyed but not in a show of rage. It’s just part of driving. I keep jumping when a big truck or a bus will honk.

There are the cats too. Lots and lots of cats. I hear they get fed and given water by the people in the neighborhood. Some look pretty good, some really rough. Some stay by homes, others elect residence at the various shops that line the street.

There is so much color, architecture from current buildings to ancient walls, gates… The energy is incredible. I was told the city has 20 million people now.

I grabbed a sandwich from on of those stores and headed back to the hotel as the sun went down. I was still pretty beat from flying and jet lag and all.

My evening I passed in the downstairs of the hostel, there are a few round tables, a bench around the room, music playing and candles on the tables. I ended up wrapped into an incredibly deep conversation with one of the hostel employees. I marveled once more at the difference in views between a Turk and a North American. Suddenly I’m looking at things from a whole other vista. And the honesty can be crushing if you are to take it personally. I actually played him my first Turkish song, “şafak soküyor” and without wasting too much time he said he did not like it and that it sounded like the blues. He proceeded to explain why and I could see exactly what he was talking about. Totally see. But that is why I am learning. Of course I’ll never be a Turk, I’m not sure where this will all take me, but it’s not even the point. I really appreciated how he explained that he thought the song had this constant push forward when Turkish music has constant rhythm changes, mood changes and that my song actually keep going. He talked about “pockets” but as opposed to what we call “being in the pocket” in the Western world, this meant ‘pockets’ of change. Where you stay in this pocket here and in another there. And keep in mind this guy is not a musician, but he knows his music.

The conversation sparked a lot of thinking. A lot. As we discussed all sorts of things, even love. He would say “I will be a bastard again..” Meaning he was going to ask a lot of deep questions regardless!

The discussion went into the wee hours.


This morning I woke up famished. I found a very neat cafe and had an omelet… Oh My… They served this with tomatoes, Turkish sausage fresh greens, and vinaigrette it was absolutely heavenly… there was bread and espresso along with that.

Later, I was to go meet my teacher Özkan Alıcı . He works at TRT, Turkish radio and television. I walked up there, it’s not very far from the hostel. We went inside the building. He is very solicitous, making sure that I am OK asking me if I wanted anything, at this point it’s water I need. It’s quite warm out, and the walk up here had me sweating as I carried my saz and my shoulder bag which is a bit too heavy. The place very much reminded me of the CBC, except that it’s way, way older. He said he wished I had arrived a bit earlier as they were recording live music. He pulled me into another studio where another session was taking place. It was just gorgeous, I wish I could just be a fly on the wall here and listen to all that takes place. I felt incredibly lucky to be there.

We went back outside and met with Burak, one of Özkan’s students and friend. Their relationship is obviously one of great respect and friendship. I’ve been noticing the presence of that beautiful respect that people have here. It is kind of refreshing and very beautiful. Özkan wanted to eat so we went to a cafe all together. The communications are a bit difficult, my Turkish being so weak, his English better than my Turkish but still weak. Thank good for translators on cell phones! So we talk and when we hit the wall the I-phone comes to the rescue, sometimes successfully, sometimes it’s hilariously wrong, like the time I said something in the phone and the translation came out as: “505”

We discussed a bit how to do the lessons, it is not quite figured out just yet, but it is shaping up. We left the cafe we went to get his car and we drove over to the Asian side of Istanbul, What an experience! This is a whole other experience than what you’d go through in Los Angeles. The cars are much smaller, no big Escalades to be found. But lots of those high cargo work trucks, motorbikes, and the small cars weaving through the smallest of openings with total disrespect for the lines that delineate the lanes. Somehow it all moves forward in a energetic race forward. Maybe more akin to a salmon spring run up a river than what we know as our orderly North American version of rush hour stand still.

We see a man yelling at another words I cannot make out.

“Aahh, Turkish people” says my teacher.

We get to Kadiköy where is the “office”. This area is quite different from Beyoglu. The tourist trappings are gone and the reality of this land is more palpable. The buildings are worn, all the roofing shows some signs of hand made repairs. Windows are tired, junk lies in corners. A cat comes out, forlorn, dirty, with clumps of hair missing.

The studio is a the top of one of those buildings. We go up a long narrow set of stairs up to a gate that creaks and groans when it is being opened. Up another set of stairs and we get to the “office” at the very top of the building. The ceiling is so low I have to bend down to walk in some places. I was thinking how Forrest would have a hard time in there!

“Come, come Dani!”

He says inviting me in and showing me around. It’s a four room apartment. Kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, studio and living room. The living room faces the sunset and offers an immense view all the way to the other side of the Bosporus where the sun sets, I can see an imposig mosque across, in the distance. Inside, it’s a bare room where rectangular cushions line the walls and beautiful long red rugs are lying in front of them. There is also a kitchen table with 4 chairs.

On the other side is the studio. the room is lined up in wood, there is 1 laptop, 2 speakers, one microphone on a stand and a couch.

Come, come! Özkan says.

I sit on the couch and he pulls a chair in front of me. He grabs a long necked baglama and plays a bit. Oh… right there in front of me. This music I so dreamed about. I feel immense amazement and the magnitude of what I don’t know all at once. To be a total beginner all over again…

“There are keys” he says

“Keys to playing. I will show them to you. Then you have to use them.”

Yes, it’s all up to me to be humble and climb the learning steps one at a time.

“Key number one…”

He places the baglama on his right thigh and his right arm on it, he traces a line in the air where the arm meets the body of the instrument and shows how it is perfectly balanced. He passes the instrument to me and I struggle a bit to place it. He shows me again. I see.

“Key number two…”

The thumb. I place my left hand on the neck and my thumb immediately goes to its usual place, right in the middle of the neck.

“Guitar position!” he says.

I have to completely change how I do this. This is probably going to be one of my biggest challenges, to bring the thumb up so I can use it to play, something completely alien for a classically trained left hand!

Key number three, the index finger.

An arched, strong, index finger, which is the main finger for the left hand. That is pretty good. He gives me one of the simplest possible exercises to do, up and down the neck and I sound like a complete novice. I’m hoping it’s not going to drive him crazy!

Soon Burak comes in with a saz and starts rehearsing parts for a song. Özkan plays the track for me. It’s Burak’s girl friend singing and she sounds heavenly. This recording is intended for her university marks. They are overdubbing saz parts. I sit there in wonder. The proceedings are super relaxed suffused with simplicity. As this takes place, the whole building keeps on living along with this gigantic city, doors slamming, traffic rumbling, the call to prayer resonating outside.

2 days ago I was in Los Angeles, and now I sit here in this place, listening to these brilliant musicians, being part of this world from which I knew nothing. These kind of thoughts pop up from time to time. I followed this call to come here, a called based on intuited thoughts, on knowingness from the unseen. I am here and it seems… normal… wondrous and… normal.

A couple hours later, jet lag caught up to me and Özkan noticing that, offered me to rest in the bedroom there. I didn’t want to be rude, but my eyelids were literally drooping.

“Come, come!”

He pulled the sheets off the bed and within minutes I was in deep slumber. I awoke to the sounds of a beautiful voice, drum samples and much laughing. I got up and met with Yeliz, Burak’s girlfriend. She is so sweet, beautiful, like a joyful breeze. They are done with recording, I was really hot and went to sit out on the balcony as the sun was going down. Özkan joined me we chatted a bit, as much as we can with this lack of language skills. He said:

“Here it is very poor and dangerous, you have to watch for mens, Across it is …” He makes a gesture with his hands to describe high faluting, snob.

“Para” (Money) I said.

“Evet.” (yes)

We talk politics a bit. He does not like this discrepancy of money, the haves and have nots. I can see that being poor here is quite a step down from being poor in America. We really don’t realize how much we have. We really don’t quite know what “having nothing” truly means.


Dinner is ready. Yeliz made a pot of mantı, a kind of Turkish dumplings served with yogurt and hot sauce. The dinner had been cooked on a single gas burner propped on a gas tank. I am so grateful for their hospitality. The sharing that is taking place. I surprised everyone when I thanked Yeliz with the “Eline Sağlık” (health to your hands) that is generally offered when someone cooks food for you. Again, much laughter. It is good. So good.

Yeliz says she thinks of quitting her English classes, and I offered to help her. She is very excited. It feels good to be able to contribute something. That is certainly something I can do.

Soon after dinner Burak and Yeliz head out. Özkan and I close the place down and we take those precipitous stairs back down.

“I am drunk so no driving” he says. We walk to the bus and head a little further into Kadıköy. When we get off the bus, he brings he takes me to buy a bus pass. Now I can go everywhere by bus, metro and whatever other public transport there is.

We walk into the neighborhood. There are people everywhere, the cars wind up narrow roads, honking their horns, the motorbikes and scooters zig zagging. I follow him, looking around taking all this in. It feels something like Europe and something I do not know of. We walk up to a hospital.

We talk a bit about the lessons. Then I ask him about the money. I still have no idea how this is going to work out and I don’t want to take advantage of anyone. But as soon as I say “money” his whole body and face stiffen up. I’m not sure if we actually understood each other. He says something that I don’t understand. He gets his phone out and types and shows me:

“I do not take money for teaching”

OK I thought. But that hardly seems fair… but then I remember in Ottawa, Turks have a very different notion of money than we do, especially if they have decided that they will help you.. I’m not sure what to say and I said

“I want this to be fair…”

“Fair?” He does not know the word. I’m trying to remember the Turkish word for fair, it’s in my notes, Selim, zalim… I can’t remember and I’m at a loss. He gets the phone once more, types fair. The translations pop up, I can’t see as I don’t have my glasses on… He relaxes. All is well.

“Do you trust me?” he asks

“Yes.” I answered without hesitation

We talk some more. He asks about me. What is my work, job, how long will I be here. I try to explain. I am thinking that the question here is about what kind of life I have. For most that would mean having a home, a job, kids, pets… And my being here like this is puzzling.

The conversation continues and I try to answer his questions

“I have nothing so I have nothing to lose. I trust life.” He reflected on that. Smiled.

We stopped in front of a hospital

“My friend works here.”

We get inside and go up in an elevator. There is air conditioning and it is a relief. Up there I meet Mehmet. Mehmet is a manager there. He loves the saz.

He asks if he can see my saz, which I had been carrying all along.

“Of course!”

He pulls it out plucks a few notes and hands it to Özkan who starts to play. We are all still, taking it in. And there was another magic moment, in a small office of a Kadikoy hospital. The song ends. Özkan passes the saz back to Mehmet who says:

“How can I play now after what we just heard!” But he goes ahead and plays and he is quite good. When he is done he hands me the saz and wants me to play. I am a bit shy, but I go ahead. The saz is now tuned up a third, and it is a bit of a mind bending exercise to play the notes on the same fret and they sound different.

Then we listen to a few things on the internet, on song Mehmet wrote the lyrics and Özkan plays the saz.

After a while we head outside and sit at a cafe across the street. There I meet more friends. I am bone tired, but yet I am thoroughly enjoying this. One of the friends is Uğur who coincidentally works at the foreign affairs office, which deals with residency permits and such… coincidentally right?!? He explains how it is done.

He asks me how I came to want to play the saz so I told him about Ottawa, about my discovery of Turkish music and how this saz came to be gifted to me. He says:

“When I hear the saz, I go away.” He then starts to tell me about the origin of the instrument 3000 3500 hundred years ago in Mesopotamia. How it has such deep roots in different parts of Turkey. For many the saz will be the cause for a deep, deep reverence. I can relate in the way the saz brings me such happiness, such peace and joy. I am not a Turk, but for some reason this instrument hold me in a deep embrace.

What an amazing night… day… every step of the way reveals more, and things seems laid out for me. I’m tuning in. Peace, joy, fluidity. We hang out a little longer Yeliz and Burak show up again. Soon we leave, ride back to the bus station in Burak’s car. Yeliz and I ride the bus back to the metro. She has a Turkish opera exam tomorrow. I wish her luck. We get off at the same station but she goes in one direction and I the other.

The air has cooled. I can’t help but smile. That was my first full day here and it was beyond all hopes. I ride the metro to Taksım Meydanı (Taksim square) and from there walk down Istikal cadde back to the hostel.

I smile. It’s so intense and beautiful. There are pedestrians everywhere, locals and foreigners. The smell from the food cooking in the shoppes fill the air. There is music coming out of each store. One melody to another, to the rhythms of the discotheques to the streams of folk music. Street musicians, I recognize this one lady who plays old French songs on the accordion. She has a couple of kids posted on the street who also play at different times of the day. How good the air feels. I smile some more.

At the hostel I drop everything in my room and go get a bit of food. The simplest things are so tasty.

I am so tired, but I am feeling so good. I take a quick shower. Lay down and fall quickly into a deep slumber on my second Istanbul night.




May 29, 2013
























May 28, 2013

May 28 arrival


On Turkish Airlines plane, I surprised myself for being able to read the menu and understand it! The food was amazing… I had ayran, there was biber, dolmates, patlican, on the menu (pepper, tomatoes and eggplant)


the mediterranean

the mediterranean

I sat there very well behaved reading my book, eating my food, then I looked outside, we had come down below the cloud level and I saw the land and it was different… and as we approached I realized we were above Turkey, then the Mediterranean appeared on the horizon and I was sitting there looking at all this, taking it in, unable to repress a smile on my face.


the approach to Istanbul

the approach to Istanbul

As we approached I started to make out the outline of the coast that I had looked at on google maps so many times… then the Bosphorus, then the city… I cannot yet quite explain what or how I feel… I kept taking photo after photo as we coursed above the southern part of the city, then I saw the bridges that I’ve seen in so many pictures, the heavy traffic on them, the endless rows of habitations, the red roofs, the minarets from the mosques … I am here. I made it.. I left LAX Sunday… it seems such a long time ago… Europe, Frankfurt, Vienna, seem just a strange illusion that took place while I forged forward.


gigantic city

gigantic city

We land… taxi down the runway to the airport. Stop and everyone gets up. I have a window seat so I am stuck in my seat for a while. A little girl looks at me, she is so beautiful, great big dark eyes, I wave at her and she is smiling back. When I can finally extricate myself from my seat, I grab my saz, my guitar and head out of the aircraft. It’s sunny, and the light is right. Up in Germany it felt too cold, too northern a latitude, it makes me uncomfortable to be too far from the sun. This feels right. We came out of the airplane onto a platform outside. I filled my lungs, I’m here. I made it… we all hop on a bus, it’s so different, cars, busses, trucks zip around aggressively, cutting each other off with… a kind of grace, I can see how north americans are freaked out by the driving, the closest to this is what we see in Montreal, but Montreal is mild compared to this.


more of the city

more of the city

We are dropped of at the terminal where we’re all herded towards the passport check. I go through a long line up only to realize that I had to get my visa in another line. I turn back, line up and the process is incredibly fast, no questions, just a fee… A long, long way from a US border customs interrogation procedure… I give $60 and zap, got my 3 months visa. I go back to the long passport line up. I hand my passport to the official, as she looks at it, I peer beyond this “border crossing” it seems it won’t be real until I get to the other side… She hands me back my passport, I say “Teşekkur ederim” (thank you) she looks at me and I think she duplicates my excitement and smiles gently.


Now I have to find my suitcase, there are numerous luggage carrousels when I finally find my suitcase, it’s the lone one left on there, an employee helps me lifting it up from there, I get loaded up : shoulder bag, saz, guitar, 50lbs monster suitcase and I head towards the exit.


I remember to get Turkish liras at an ATM, first card does not work, the second one does. When I am done the man behind me asks if I left any money there for him as it took me a while with the card not working out, I burst out laughing. Next step is the shuttle. I had read earlier this morning about the Havataş shuttle bus, and there it was. 5 Euros to get to Beyoğlu.


Everything is so different. Some buildings are so run down, standing right there near the road so close to the airport, it makes me think of Canada and how nothing looks like this, especially near an airport. On my right, a body of water, at this point I’m not sure which one it is, I’ll have to study maps and orient myself soon.

I struck a conversation with a lady in the seat next to me. She is italian, living here, doesn’t work. She is critical of the place and the people, but she has been living here for 5 years, she was just coming back from Italy.

“You must be careful.” she says. Everyone says that to me.

The trees are beautiful, along the water there with the tankers it has a slight Vancouverish look except that it’s impossiby bigger and busier. There is even a park that could be reminiscent of the Seawall but again it’s so big… The bus winds its way closer and closer to Beyoğlu and the traffic snarls to a crawl. Tons of taxis, tons of people, old walls, buildings built on top of other older buildings, way more women with scarves on their heads than I expected. We climb, zig and zag and get to Taksim Square, the driver drops us all off.

Where am I? Not sure, which way to go. I try to consult my GPS, I wrote the hostel’s street and it comes out with nothing. Not surprisingly, not having a Turkish keyboard on the phone… I stand there for a while trying to figure things out without success. The sun is out. The drivers from the taxis parked down the steps keep repeating “ Taksi… Taksi..” Across the way there is a Starbucks… the old stable datum from my North American travels… if they have Wifi, I’ll be fine, I can call my teacher as he had asked me and I can look up google maps. So I order a double espresso sit down and try to log on. No success. I need to have a Turkish phone number to get a code to access the internet… OK then. I pack everything back up, put on my sunglasses and go to plan B.

Outside there is a flurry of taxis again, I hail one, he stops, I show him the address and he says no! An older man approaches, he looks at the address and I ask

“Uzak mı?” (is it far?)

He launches into a fast response from which I gather that I have to go over and turn left and go… He grabs my suitcase, pulls it off of the road and goes over to a man manning a food stand and asks him something about this street, he looks at me and speaks fast and I then said to him that my Turkish is somewhat poor… he grabs the suitcase and says lets go and he pulled the 50lb monster all the way to the hostel which was at least a KM down the street. He walks fast, negotiating the massive human traffic effortlessly stopping once in a while to ask one man or another about the hotel’s street. He is wiry, brown, dressed like men would dress in the US in the fifties, trousers and shirt. I have to hurry to keep up with his pace, he is strong, his body language speaks of a proud man. He gets me all the way to the hostel’s door. I want to give him something but I have no idea what money is worth here. I have 20, 50, 100 lira bills, that is too much… so I hand him all my change, maybe 4,5,6 liras… I don’t know if it’s OK, I don’t want to disrespect him… but he really helped me…

At the hostel I get my room. It’s super relaxed, student like atmosphere. I will likely crumble with fatigue later, but I’m good now. I’m glad I won’t have to lug that suitcase for another 6 days!!! I will go out and look around a bit tonight. Tomorrow I will meet with my teacher. We talked on the phone.

I am so elated. It feels so good. I cannot explain. All is well. All is well and amazing. I’m here.

Vienna airport

May 28, 2013

May 28th


My Austrian experience is coming to an end. I woke up in the middle of the night, which would have been the middle of the day on the North American continent. Tried to get back to sleep immediately but could not. So I turned on my laptop to see if I had some messages. My teacher was actually messaging me which brought everything very close and very real. I had a broad, broad smile on my face. I am continually smiling. The nerves left me as soon as I boarded the plane. Everything being on course, on target.


One amazing thing is that I got zero hassles with the instruments. Every stewardess, airline totally accommodating. That is a night and day difference with North America not to mention Canada’s literally harassing you when you carry an instrument. Let alone two!


I was wishing I’d just brought my underwear yesterday as that suitcase’s 50 lbs was a real workout when I got off the plane in Vienna. I guess I will come to appreciate the items I brought, but with the two instruments, heavy shoulder bag with the laptop in it and that 50 lbs monster it’s a bit much for someone who never lifts weights!


Last night I had dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. The menu items: Much meat! Sauce and starch. I had Gulash that had zero hint of any vegetables. I had asked the waiter for gulash soup which seemed sized for me with a side salad. He frowned and would not have it! Gulash soup and salad were not acceptable together!! I did not fight. But when the plate came it was a dark brown thick sauce with much, much meat and sausages! But the salad was really good and it reminded me of the kind of salads my mother would put together.


I had a double espresso and as a testimony of being in Europe, even if it was pulled out of an automatized machine, it was delicious.


This morning it was mayhem in the restaurant. There had been a bus load of teenagers that arrived the night before and they were all in there elbowing for food. All the bread and much of the buffet had been inhaled by the hungry youths!


Right now I sit in wait for the departure of the last flight on this journey to Istanbul. As I said, I am just smiling and as I write this I am smiling wider! What awaits me?! I dunno but I cannot wait. My saz and the Go guitar sit next to me. How amazing this all is.


I got to wonder why the Gods are allowing me such endless goodness. I am so thankful for this chance to learn, to explore… My Facebook has been bursting with good wishes from all my friends… My friends… that is the most valuable wealth anyone could have. I love you back with all my heart!


I am so excited!…

And she is off

May 27, 2013

Morning of May 26th


the phone’s bleep woke me up, message. I had set an alarm for 10 am at the latest, I looked at the time, the white numbers popped on the screen of the device : 9:00 AM


I decided to get up. Meditated. Showered and proceeded with a flurry of activities, putting sheets in the washer, packing the last items that had dried overnight. The cat as usual, rushed in the washroom when she heard the water running. I will miss her. And her four neurons. Time flies, I hear the the bleep again, another message. I wash the tub, clean the washroom, I go out to the garage and I see my bike, the cowling is askew, I had a crash almost a month ago, seems like an eternity away now. The front fender is cracked, the paint scrubbed off in places and I have red electrical tape holding all of this somewhat together. I decided that I would get that fixed upon my return.


Arkadas. My Suzuki SV 650 S, bright, shiny copper color. I am leaving you behind on this one. And my heart tightens a bit.


For the first time since I decided to go on this journey I find myself actually nervous. There are only a few hours before I have to be heading out towards the airport and I don’t like deadlines, appointments or set schedules. I like things to flow one from another as they will.


I am meeting Forrest one last time before I head out and will have my last Klatch espresso. I have been there pretty much every day since August… I have made friends there. Eclectic friends, young artists, writers, an elderly Persian anthropologist and poet, bible students, many barristas with all sorts of stories, a photographer, who has disappeared without a trace… A man who travels to Thailand to do good deeds there, etc. etc.


Today being Sunday, it’s busy in there, Robert offers me my drink on the house when I tell him I am leaving, that was almost always a double long espresso.


I am a bit out of sorts. Actually compared to my usual cool I’m downright nervous. It’s a strange state to be for me. We talk for an hour or so and it’s time for me to go. We hug. I hope he shines when I am gone. We make music together and what we make is unique because of the unbelievable connection we have when we play.


At the house I put the dry bedsheets on the mattress, eat a bit, I go back and forth, one little detail, another, then I discover that there is a lock on the suitcase, I cannot find any key for it, so I destroy it with a pair of plyers and a screw driver so I can put mine on there.


I look around. There has been so much love in this house. So much goodness. When I landed here last August I was a shadow of myself, irradiating with a pain I could not stop. My broken heart, impossible to heal. I landed here on my last few dollars, after having crossed the continent on a 5000 km trek that took me from Ottawa, to Winnipeg then across Montana, Idaho, Nevada and California solo on that Suzuki.


I was nursed back to wholeness is that house. I’ll never forget the day the Viking said: I’ll protect you.

When a Viking tells you that. You are safe.


And now today… everything is ready. The suitcase, my two instruments, my shoulder bag. I get the Ford, which had the name “the Fjord of Norway” Because in the Viking’s house nothing is quite the same as in any other house. For example, when you perform house cleaning duties, it is called “being famous” and those are expected to be performed in 15 minute segments, which are your “15 minutes of Fame”. Which suddenly makes the chores much easier to get through.


This is the last time I will see this house, the Viking will move this summer. So it’s somewhat wistfully that I scan the rooms to absorb one more time the vibe of this place. The light of California, which I believe has healing properties, the palm trees, the blue sky. Goodbye San Dimas.


I have to run to Best Buy first as I managed to put my MP3 player in through a wash cycle as it was in my jacket pocket. Not impressed, but as things have been recently, a friend had just given me $60 the day before and the gizmo costs $54. Perfection again.



Afternoon of May 26th


On my way to the freeway down San Dimas avenue I see a black and white car, cop car, behind me. I’m ultra careful. I don’t want anything to derail my plans today. I stay at 39 MPH in the 40 zone, 49 in the 50 zone and he thankfully turns left when I turn right and head for the freeway.


Today it truly is a freeway. No traffic, it’s the sunday of a long week end.


I get to Huntington Beach where the Viking is. We chat a bit. I’m nervous, emotional. I try to find my center. I approximate it. It’s better. He takes me to the airport, helps me with my suitcase, stays in line with me for all the time it takes to get to the counter. A gentleman he is. I will miss him much.


Then it’s the security rigmarole. I got to see the saz and the guitar through the X ray. I wish I could get a picture of that.


I am flying Luftansa. We are served dinner with real silverware! We have blankets, pillows, and are offered a choice of cognac or Baileys. I tried to sleep but it’s quite uncomfortable, my seat does not recline all the way, unlike the seat of the person ahead of me which is about 20 inches from my face.


It is starting to get very obvious, I am going into foreign lands. I have not been overseas since my twenties, that was a long time ago. Just in the airport the mixes of languages, skin types and body language is already dizzying.


First stop will be Frankfurt, then off to Vienna. We are a long ways away. It’s 11:46 Pacific time. I”ve only been on the plane since 7 PM so that’s another 7 hours to go.


The couple next to me is young, she is pregnant. A whole different experience than mine. All these souls around me… heading one way and another. I am returning to my state of electron. Coursing through. There is a Quantum network influencing all this. I sense it. There are vectors meant to cross. Fates meant to be realized. What is mine? I do not know.


My mother kept wishing me to “find what I’m looking for” I am not really “looking” for anything, or searching, that entails the idea that I am lost, or that something has to be found. I have all I need and I am not lost. I am living.


I am being.


Back in 2010 I followed a call. That call brought me back to life. I had been in a cryogenic stasis, Frozen. I thawed. Then I asked the Gods to use me as their instrument and I asked them to help me learn. Learn I did. Learn I still do. But I’m realizing that it’s not so much about learning than just changing what we look at and how we look at it. I am not on a quest with targets and goals and objectives sown on gridded calendar. It is a road. Motion is vital. And it becomes a road of moments. Moments are divine. Truth lies in those moments where past and future disappear, when doubt, judgment and fear make way for presence then light then vision


I’m listening, observing, absorbing. I am alive. I pray, meditate. I trust. I do not know. But I intrinsically trust. I have no expectations, I will be shown the way as I go.


May 23, 2013

Hey y’all… I’ve put together this little video to close the RocketHub crowdfunding project.

As you know, I am heading to Turkey this coming Sunday, May 26th.

If you wonder what the music is, it’s from my album Aventuriere Accidentelle.

I think I might change part of the name of the blog and instead of in the wild wild west, it will be in the wild wild east…

I got a new camera, pyjamas, new underwear, the saz is ready, I just need to figure out the suitcase configuration, drive to LAX on Sunday and let Luftansa take care of the rest.

I’ll land in Vienna, sleep there, then fly to Istanbul the next day on the 28th… Got a room for a week right in the heart of things in Beyoglu, will meet with my teacher and get things going…

I can’t wait.

10 days to take off

May 17, 2013

Luckily, this week is not racing by too fast.  

You know how sometimes you start on the Monday all hopeful that you’ll get so much done, then suddenly it’s Friday and what happened between these two moments of awareness is just a blur. 


Sunday the crowdfunding effort on RocketHub ended. It was both a bit sad and a huge relief.  Never one to be very good at asking, it felt good to be able to stop asking.  But I must say that there was much magic to behold throughout the campaign.  I will put together a thank you video with a recap of the whole thing.  Thank you so much to all who helped, be it with money, big or small, thoughts, wishes…  It all matters. 


So here I stand on the edge of a new departure.  On the edge of a new world for me and an ancient one by North American standards.  There has been a flurry of “Oh, I need to do this, I need to get that” coming at me.  I’ve had to look at my clothes even and realize that both my boots and my shoes were shot so I got a new pair, wore them for the first time today! I realized that I needed pyjamas!  And things like an electrical adapter and power converter to deal with the European electrical facilities, which are different from here, so I can use the laptop and other electrical gizmos.  I got protective sleeves for my credit cards to avoid being scanned and defrauded.  I needed a new bag as mine in the very recent past just decided to start breaking down with holes and fraying… and on and on..


My bike here is in serious need of love.  New tires, repairs from the recent crash (fender, cowling) valve adjustment…  But it will have to wait until I come back.  For those liking those sorts of numbers, I have put conservatively, 25 thousand KM (that is 15 thousand miles) on those Michelin Pilot III tires!    I say conservatively because when the speedometer went out twice since I put the tires on and I lost count of the exact mileage I covered.  So anyone looking for durable tires, I would say those fit the bill.  

The list of things done and ready gets longer:


Hotel for the first week in Istanbul
A saz teacher
Money to support me for a few months
A couple of options to find long term accommodations after the first week


I have all these dreams of the things I want to achieve there, I hope I can reach towards those with all my energy and will.  Of course life will always throw whatever it will throws at you, and I am ready to accept that too.  

So here we are… 10 days to go before taking off.  Incredible isn’t it?  

I must say, I am feeling very alive.  The electron that I am is going to be able to return to its natural state of flow.  



Closer and realler…

May 9, 2013

Last night after two days of searching, asking, getting information, punching endless amounts of destinations, times, and itineraries, I got my flights…

I am truly, really going… to… Turkey

I used Orbitz and got deals that saved me $500 over the AAA travel agent price and $700 over the price offered by an online “multiple-destinations” website. I spent probably 8 hours online but in the end it was worth it.  I will fly Luftansa, Turkish Airlines and Air Canada!

I’m flying out on May 26th, that gives me some time to wrap everything up nicely.  I have a fairly long  “to do” list that I have started to tackle this week… Hair cut, glasses, blood test, fundraising, flight, hotels and trying to keep studying Turkish through all this.

What is looming right now is the end of my fundraising project on RocketHub.  It ends officially Sunday the 12th of May at 7 AM PST, so really, it ends Saturday night for us Westcoasters.  On the site so far I have raised $2120.  A few friends donated off the internet.  I am so amazed and thankful for those gifts!!!


the whole project is on Rocket Hub here:  http://www.rockethub.com/projects/22672-danielle-hebert-istanbul-bound-a-journey-of-music-and-discovery


If you feel like contributing,  every dollar is going to be put to good use :  accommodations, food and lessons on the saz.

I’ve just taped and posted a new video, Here is a link to that clip : http://youtu.be/D_OWZzlqN4E


Last Friday we  had our last gig in California before my departure, some VERY special people showed up and it was incredibly heart warming.  Forrest and I played our hearts out and gave our all.  Forrest brought the house down with an ending on “I tell my heart” where we worked up a special “double kick” extravaganza where the man could let it all hang out!  I love to let him fly as he can indeed rise to unfathomable heights when he plays music.  He is truly a monster in the best sense of the word on these drums!

A smile is worth a thousand words!

A smile is worth a thousand words!

Mr Robinson doing his thing!

Mr Robinson doing his thing!

some of the best people I know

some of the best people I know





More of some of the best people I know

More of some of the best people I know

Forrest and I gettin' er done!

Forrest and I gettin’ er done!


For the occasion I brought my glorious Gibson ES 175, the pedal board, the saz, the Go Guitar… it took a while to set it all up!  I thought, last show, lets bring the whole artillery…  I also got to use my brand new toy, a pre-amplifier for the saz (I had major feedback and volume issues without) and for the first time I had decent sound.  For this, I must thank Hector and Mona, who helped me get the pre-amp (and LR Baggs gizmo for the techies) by sponsoring 2/3rds of the price as a donation for my journey to Turkey : THANK YOU HECTOR AND MONA!!!

Sunday it was the Renaissance Faire, I had promised Forrest to go with him for his birthday, I had never been to that sort of event and it was really dreamy, interesting, funny, amazing and I had a day I totally enjoyed

A faerie

A faerie


Some nobles hanging out

Some nobles hanging out


A fight to the death

A fight to the death


Even Jousting!

Even Jousting!


A great day that I ended with a pulled pork sandwich and 2 dark chocolate dipped strawberries!


I am pretty much over the bike crash from a couple week ends ago.  The bike will need some love but I’ll take care of this when I get back… it also needs tires, my beautiful Michelin Pilot III’s are almost done for.  I’ve covered over 24 thousand kilometers with them, that is REALLY good mileage for motorcycle tires.  I should check the exact amount…  It will be strange to leave my Arkadaş behind…  I know I will miss that… But this journey is going to bring so much…  wow… I can finally think about all this… I’ve been so busy…  It’s happening!

It really is!!

This blog is still going to be “the” place where all the events are told in depth.. Wow.  Istanbul in 20 days…

Love you all!