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WORDS FROM FRIENDS

LESSONS FROM THE JOURNEY

Photo by Cheyenne Jansdatter

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…. Broad, wholesome, charitable views …cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. ~ Mark Twain

CAMBODIA JOURNAL: DAY 3



The Mekong Express was a comfortable coach used by many Cambodians who were not sightseers. Despite the fact that mostly local travelers used it, one of its features was a young Khmer woman who acted as our tour guide and hostess. Before we’d even left Phnom Penh, she was telling us, Read More 
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LESSONS FROM THE JOURNEY

Royal Palace, Phnom Penh. By All-free Photos

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…. Broad, wholesome, charitable views …cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. ~ Mark Twain


CAMBODIA JOURNAL: DAYS 2 & 3



Our destination in Phnom Penh City was the Golden Gate Hotel Annex, but our cabbie took us to the Golden Gate Hotel. We walked up a broad flight of stairs into an ornate lobby, replete with lucky reds, carved and shiny dark wood, and gold leaf. At least that’s how I remember it now. It took a bit of talking at the desk for us to make the attendants understand that it was the Annex we wanted, and some additional careful communication for us to understand where we needed to go.

Thankfully, the Annex was immediately across the street. The lobby there was plain and functional with walls painted turquoise. We stepped up to the desk with our big matching duffel bags. Before we could get started with the check-in process at $20 a night for two, I felt the presence of Read More 
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LESSONS FROM THE JOURNEY

A corner of the Phnom Penh Airport showing what I felt was an unfortunate color

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…. Broad, wholesome, charitable views …cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. ~ Mark Twain



In 2008, Cheyenne and I traveled to Cambodia. My main purpose was to interview Wayne Matthysse about his journey from twenty-four years as a missionary to identifying as an atheist. I will probably always be fascinated by missionaries as a subculture—proselytizers of various faiths, missionaries of unbelief, secular missionaries, the hands and arms of colonizers the world over, change agents for better and worse. In 2008, I was writing a book with the working title Missionaries: Demons, Saints or Mortals? As the work progressed, I realized that it was too broad and that people who would be most interested in reading about missionaries would very likely not be interested in what I had to say about them. But the book was still Read More 
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Monica Friedman: The Glove That Covers the Hand of God

During the renovation of my website, it was necessary to take down the interviews that had previously been posted under "Inner Journeys." I've intended to repost some or all of them at different points, but it was helpful to Monica to repost hers now rather than later. If you haven't had a chance to read it, do, as it's both thought-provoking and profound.

I met Monica Friedman a little over ten years ago after I decided at age 56 to leave New Mexico for the MFA program in creative writing at Western Michigan University (WMU) in Kalamazoo. My advisor had hooked me up with Monica’s best friend Sarah, so I could talk to potential fellow grad students about the program and get some help looking for housing. Actually Monica was graduating that spring and planning to move to Tucson, so, although I felt an immediate connection, I didn’t think we’d have much opportunity to develop a friendship.

As it happened,  Read More 
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