Wednesday, March 8, 2006

From All Over

For me, one of the greatest joys of blogging is the opportunity to relate to people from all over the world. I consciously seek out blogs that originate from beyond the Pacific Northwest as well as from around the world. It's both interesting and informative to see what others in distant places are thinking and writing about. In many ways, it only strengthens my belief that, regardless of differing cultures and mores, we humans share far more in common than what separates us.

As I'm sure is true of most blogs, The Rambling Taoist receives visits from individuals from the far flung corners of this global sphere. In looking over the locales for the last 100 visitors, nearly 30% originated from outside of the 'ol US of A. Here's a partial list:
  • Paris, Ile-de-France
  • Surrey, Prince Edward Island, Canada
  • Manchester, England
  • Lancaster, Blackpool, England
  • Merelbeke, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium
  • Taipei, T'ai-pei, Taiwan
  • Heerenveen, Friesland, The Netherlands
  • Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
  • Priestdale Lagoons, Queensland, Australia
  • Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
  • Alboraya, Comunidad Valenciana, Spain
Some of these visitors I've come to know in a virtual way. For one example, Bert hails from Belgium and has afforded me the opportunity to read (though certainly NOT understand) Flemish on his blog, Haunted by Tao.

In many cases, however, certain regular readers hail from some of the locations listed above and yet I don't know the correlation between their name and their place of residence -- I only know they drop by frequently.

So, I'm offering an open invitation both to regular readers and anyone who just happens by who lives outside of the 50 states to use the comments for this post to share with me and others a little bit about where you live and/or who you are.

The best chance we have to create a world of peace and community is by getting to know each other, by having the opportunity to walk in another person's shoes, to see life from someone else's eyes. This is one of the great beautifies of the blogosphere. While we may never meet face-to-face or hear each other's voices, we CAN come to know each other and knowing people is the first step toward understanding.

Let's all endeavor to travel the path of life together as brothers and sisters.


  1. hey Trey,

    I heard someone calling me name, so I felt the need to drop by :)
    I'm actually from Antwerp, Belgium, but I live in Gent and Merelbeke is a small city near Gent.
    It's true that me too have got to know some people from different nations, which is nice. Especially when we can talk about all different kinds of things. That's what blogging is all about, no? :)

  2. So Bert,
    What can you tell readers of RT about Gent? What is the population? Where are some of the places you hang out? What is the general landscape in the area?

  3. Aah, Gent, I like to call it: the place where people try, but miserably fail :D

    No, seriously, Gent is ok, but it's not my kind of town. I'm from Antwerp and the rest of the dutch-speaking part of Belgium feel that we are haughty(don't know if this is the correct word, this is what my dictionary said)..., so you can imagine that even when buying something in the local store, people look at me in a way I don't really appreciate, but then again, I'm old enough to worry about different things :)
    The main difference between Gent and Antwerp is the so called hunger for sex! Everyone is looking for it, in a non vulgar way of course. But it starts at the age of 16, 17. If I look at my generation when we were 16, 17 (10 years ago), I must say that we were of a different mentality :)
    If you should ever visit Belgium, I would say: go to Bruges, Antwerp or Brussels and of course, Lier, my hometown. Some of the worlds most famous religious stained-glass windows can be found in the main church and of course the Zimmer Tower (

    If you like some more information, I will gladly reply, but I just got home from work (it's 6.30AM) and I have to be at the university in 3 hours, so I'm going to get some sleep now :)

  4. San Diego, eh? That's almost in another country -- if the Mexican War had played out differently, San Diego might well be in Mexico.

  5. Just saying hello. Saw you at Adolf's on the Unheard of Island. I read about Washington while doing American History. Logging and the IWW. Also, anarchist communities, etc. I live on vegetable soup and home made bread mostly. My blog is about bliss and getting a literary agent. Hotboy

  6. Hi,

    I'm an IT support guy from South Birmingham in the UK. Birmingham's the place where JRR Tolkien was raised and that provided him with much of his inspiration, although he wouldn't recognise it now.

    Like you, I've been amazed by where the page hits come from. I knew people would be able to read my stuff from all over the world, but it never really hit home till I saw it on

  7. I say Rambler!

    Now you have a reader from Kalimbuka.

    MM III

  8. Hi there Rambler, I'm a reader from Cambridge in the UK and have just started a blog myself "Wanderer amongst Strangers". It's great to see a number of other taoist related blogs.

  9. Well, at least Bellingham, Washington, where I live, sounds like it could be in the UK!

    I've always wanted to do a bicycle tour of British, Scottish and Irish pubs.

    Some day.

  10. Hiya Rambler,

    I'm American but have lived in the county of Argyll in Scotland (in the west)for the past 6 years. The weather's often wet and dreary and never quite hot enough, but the scenery is spectacular, the people friendly and have a wonderful sense of humour (once you understand it). I love it here and I make it back to the US at least once a year.

    You posted on my blog regarding my exploration of Zen Buddhism, which is how I found your blog.


  11. This is simply marvelous!! Through this medium we call the internet, we have a group of people who have come together to mingle momentarily -- folks who most likely would not have ever mingled otherwise.

    I'm very, very interested in hearing and learning more about how you Brits & our American Scot view the world from across the pond. MM III, excuse me for my ignorance, but where is Kalimbuka? I'd love to hear what life is like there.

    Howard, isn't Bellingham almost like Canada?

  12. Howard, isn't Bellingham almost like Canada?

    LOL! Oh so close, about a 20 minute drive, but I still don't say "ay". I'd like to, have tried rigorously, but, alas, it's no use. I'm a Canadian wannabe and become more so with every passing day under the Bush administration.

    If I could impart one message to all of your readers from other countries, it would be this: More Americans are turning on Bush everyday, and hopefully we can take back our government and return to sane foreign and domestic policies soon.

  13. even when the other bloggers are just a stone throws away :)

    happy day to you Trey did you get snow also today?


  14. Hello Trey,

    The American in Scotland here... I see the world with completely different eyes since I've moved across the pond...most especially America. I'm afraid we were all raised to believe we were 'so lucky to live in the greatest country in the world', and we all believed it. Having Bush as president certainly hasn't given the rest of the world a better opinion of Americans. Fortunately the Scots are not anti-American but they do ask me why so many people voted for a *** like him?! Can't figure that one out myself. Don't get me wrong, I love America but the rose-coloured glasses are long gone.

    Peace. Please!

  15. I think lots of Europeans ask the same question :)
    But if you ever should visit Belgium, don't forget to buy some chocolate!

  16. I noticed that you've added a picture to your profile, Trey. Which reminds me of a question I ask myself sometimes: what is the average age of the people I'm talking to :)

  17. Bert,

    I'll be visiting Brugge/Bruges this summer for the first time. My mouth is already watering at the idea of the chocolate and the waffles! Oh, and the architecture, scenery and the culture as well! I recently turned 54.


  18. hehe, if you need some info on Bruges, I can ask a good friend of mine who is from Bruges.
    PS: try to find a Neuhaus or Godiva chocolate store if you want the best (and most expensive of course ...). Otherwise, the local bakery is most likely as good!

    I personally don't go for Belgian waffels, but don't forget to buy a pack of Belgian(!) fries with afterwards a nice Jupiler (Belgian beer)
    I'm starting to get hungry myself :)

    I forgot to answer my own question. I'm 25.

  19. Casey: We're not sure what fell from the sky this morning. It looked like a mixture of snow, sleet, freezing rain and slush. The real treat has been some thunder and a little lightening.

    Weesoul: As an ardent Green Party member, I certainly didn't vote for ye olde shrub! In 2000, I voted for Ralph Nader and in '04 my vote went to David Cobb. Even though I live here, I can't figure out why sooo many people voted for Dubya and against their interests!

    Bert: You know, I'm not a big fan of belgian waffles either. I just like the good 'ol fashion ones with lots of maple syrup. The pic I've posted was taken 6 years ago when I ran for Governor of Oregon (as a socialist no less!). I am 48.

    Howard: I think almost every American progressive and/or radical is a Canadian wannabe. I've been thinking of starting a drive to see if Canada would consider annexing Washington state. We could all learn the Canadian national anthem...Oh Canada, my home and native land...

  20. Trey:
    I was totally shocked that the Shrub was 'appointed' prez in 2000. As I was still in the midst of adjusting to living in a foreign country at the time I wasn't paying much attention. (I do postal votes). However, in 2004 I paid very close attention and stayed up the entire night (time difference!) watching election returns. Devastated by the result. None of my family or friends voted for him. Still baffled! BTW, I would have guessed by your posts (a thinking person) that you were NOT a Dubya supporter!

  21. As someone new to Buddhism I find it a huge challenge to hear Shrub's voice on TV and not have my usual immediate reaction (anger, annoyance, a desire to scream and quickly change the channel). He's on the news here in the UK much too frequently! I want to be a calm, peaceful person...but he's quite a test for me.
    Aiming for peace. annie

  22. I do like the way this template works. Is the code available anywhere?

    In answer to your question - my blog resides in the UnHeard Of Islands, the penguin capital of the Southern Hemisphere, where the summer has lasted too long this year and people are hanging out for some cool weather.

    I have added your blog to my bloglines page.

  23. Annie,
    One advantage for me in being a Taoist (as opposed to a Buddhist) is that it's quite alright to curse at the TV when the shrub happens to be on. ;-)

    Re the template, I certainly did not create it. My css and html skills aren't that advanced. I found a web site called Firdamatic. It's a script that allows the user to key in several parameters and then it generates the template code for you.

    Once that was completed, it took me several days (a lot of trial and error) to tweak the code so that it looked and behaved the way I wanted it to.

    All that said, I happen to like your template. It's different.

    Now as to your location... I took a look at your blog profile and noticed that you indicate that you're from Heard & McDonald Islands. I figured these must be islands in the vicinity of England. However, to help me get a better picture of where you hail from, I looked up these islands in the Wikipedia.

    According to the Wikipedia, both islands are located near Antarctica and both are uninhabited by humans. So, I figure you must be a a technologically-adept seal. :D

  24. Thanks Trey, I'm now half-way through adding peek-a-boo comments to my existing template.

    Australia, the official owner of UnHeard Of Islands, never checks who's blogging here. Keep it under your hat. Of course I may have to move anyway once the penguins start dropping with the virus.

    Good poem.

  25. Barbara Stiner3/11/2006 12:07:00 AM

    Hi Trey!
    maybe I'm already too late in this fast world of blogs and comments. As I am retired (translator) and not working with my computer every day I only check my favorite blogs two or three times a week.
    I live in Zurich, Switzerland, but I'm originally from Bern, and my case is just the reverse of Bert's - people here react to my dialect because the Bernese are supposed to be a bit slow and provincial (even though Bern is actually the capital). I could also start a dispute with Bert as to whose chocolate is the best, but I know purists say that Swiss chocolate is not the real thing, because there is too much milk in it.
    My discovery of the Tao was at an art exhibition; there was a room with around twenty paintings by Qiu Shi Hua - all in white. When you looked at them for a few minutes, however, you saw emerging pictures of landscapes, of breaking waves, trees. It was beautiful. It said that the artist was a Taoist. When I reflected this I realized that yes, this is the answer to all questions.
    And yes, Trey, it also figures that you are a Green, as I am, btw.

  26. Rob: Don't know why (probably a silly assumption on my part), but I thought you were a Brit. Turns out you're an Aussie. So how are things down under?

    Barbara: In the blogosphere, no one is ever too late. I'm always happy to welcome a fellow Taoist & Green. If you return to check the comments here, please share with us the Swiss view of the Bush regime.

    P.S. I've always LOVED Swiss Chocolate!

  27. Barbara Stiner3/12/2006 01:42:00 AM

    Well, in a nutshell: the official view is that regardless of the present government the US is an important trade partner. The inofficial view is a total lack of understanding how a democratic system could deteriorate in this way. But most people can make a difference between the American people and an unelected 'president' and his mafioso entourage.

    My personal view would take at least four typewritten pages, but basically I'm observing with interest and hoping for the best.

  28. Hey Barbara,

    I too love Swiss chocolate, I rather meant: the best Belgian chocolate :) (although some say that Belgian chocolate is among the top of the world, don't know if that's true)
    It's very annoying when others blame you for something they've heard from television or read in some magazine. Eventually you start to react against them in a way they expect you to and so the story continues ...

  29. weesoul,

    I came across this site:

    and they are offering a massage with Belgian chocolate, I thought you might be interested :)
    It's in Bruges, so you're in the neighbourhood when you make your visit.


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