Book Reviews — 30 June 2017

Surendra reviews Navyo’s first volume of travel stories, “This account is full of sharp, cultural observations and has a great sense of movement.”

Navyo Ericsen - Soul Traveler 1With the immediacy of Navyo’s writing, it is easy to feel that you are travelling right beside him as he recounts his journey from California through France and Italy; going via Wales and London in order to catch up with his family. The lacings of humour make this stimulating account especially enjoyable. His description of a mass protest by bicycle, in Rome, is particularly hilarious. You can find this (Ciao Roma!) in Osho News where you can see other excerpts from his travels.

This is no ordinary journey as he is pre-visualising most of his experiences in order to manifest the reality he wants. With hardly any money at the outset, he starts by using this technique to raise the funds for his adventure. It is perhaps not surprising that the cynical, logical part of his mind tries to sabotage the whole thing. “Sounds a load of New Age poppycock to me.” But he trusts in a bigger, unseen intelligence. “It’s about holding powerful intentions, seeing their outcome in my mind’s eye, acting on what shows up and letting it happen.”

Soon he has “never raised this much money before in such a short period of time.” For example, out of the blue, an acquaintance mentions that she needs a car and Navyo rents her his. In fact, the whole book is also about how what he needs comes through the people he meets. He sources his short-stay accommodation through a global hospitality network and his longer visits through an international housesitting agency. Throughout the journey, Navyo continues to fund his enterprise by running his design business from his laptop, if and when he can connect to the internet. Not only in the rural areas but cities, too, he outlines how difficult this can be.

Navyo likes his food and beverages. There are many culinary descriptions, mostly approving, from pizza to ice cream and a lot about coffee. On one occasion, the poule au pot in Gascony, the dinner is so awful that he needs to vent his displeasure. “I rename the dish le diner est mort as it tastes like it has been cooked for 500 years.” The event is redeemed by a two-man rock band that follows the meal and manages to significantly impress our musically literate traveller.

We are treated to candid descriptions of architecture, for example, Milan’s Cathedral, Il Duomo and imaginative remarks about sculpture. “In Florence, statues are everywhere, a whole population of unmoving people who don’t eat, earn a living or do anything else except look absolutely fabulous and pose all day. How Italian.” It was Navyo’s pithy observations about people, however, that impressed me most. “It’s clear that he is not a country person, a farm person or an animal person, for that matter. These willful, messy creatures invade his psyche with an instinct that is beyond his city-bred manner.”

More of such eloquent insights into the characters he met would have been very welcome. In fact, sometimes, I felt a lack of detail and was eager for fuller descriptions. For example, his meeting with Silvia in Empoli was a pinnacle of the journey and I wanted to read about Silvia as a person. Perhaps the encounter was too overwhelming for Navyo and he was lost for words. Similarly, a bit more visual detail on the rooms and places he stayed in would have enriched these absorbing pages. What about the layout and furniture of the farm in Gascony which he house sat for three months, what was the bedroom like to sleep in?

Such details would have been the icing on the cake for me but Navyo delivers much more than simple, outer descriptions, he shares his inner experiences freely. Unpacking at the farmhouse, realising that he is living a life that he created, he feels full of gratitude. “Gratitude has to be one of the most powerful feelings, along with love, that I’ve ever known. It is such an expanded moment, I can feel it calling through time and space to all the unseen moments yet to be lived, to all the people I’ve yet to meet, to all the situations yet to come about. Talk about the law of attraction.”

This account is full of sharp, cultural observations and has a great sense of movement. The pace of the writing matches the momentum of the journey. Navyo is hosted and entertained, shown the sights, even invited to participate in a hunt. He also goes off on his own excursions. His sensitive responses to people and places are described well. We feel his joys and disappointments, the surprises and touching moments. Above all, we feel that we are part of Navyo’s life and experiences as we travel with him on this risky adventure that he designed for himself. It can inspire us all to stay in the moment and keep our own adventure going. Wherever we are and whatever we are doing, life is full of nascent possibilities awaiting manifestation.

This journey with Navyo was a great pleasure and the end came too soon. But this is not the end, more travelogues are on the way as Navyo continues writing about his sojourns in Europe. There will be Soul Traveler Vol. 2: Catching the Moment and volume 3 will have the subtitle Escape into Now. In the meantime, you can enjoy this lively book. You can also catch up with Navyo through Osho News.

Available as paperback or Kindle from amazon.comAmazon.ca
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Read an excerpt on Osho News: Ciao Roma!

NavyoNavyo left University to meet Osho in 1979 which changed the course of his life. He co-ordinated the music department in Pune Two for several years and participated in a number of CDs of Music from the World of Osho. He now travels the world housesitting in wonderful locations, writing and working on creative projects. NavyoEricsen.com – facebook.com500px.com

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