Four Trips Around the Sun

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A glance at a calendar tells me I wrote Three Trips Around the Sun a year ago. It feels like a decade or lifetime but then time is relative for time-travelers, and this has been one very tumultuous year in my time-vortex.

I landed in Copenhagen a year ago and thought I wanted a home, a job, an everyday life. Four weeks later I desperately wanted to travel again, to run again, I was craving new horizons. The curse of the eternally restless is not easily shaken despite its inevitable perils. This unfiltered time-traveling life can hurt so much I long for a corner to press my head against, and cry.

There are days where the sights, sounds, culture and environment of a strange place are too overwhelming, and become too painful. Far too many sensory inputs register at once and the world starts to crash around me. Paranoia and anxiety take hold, and I find myself in a free fall towards that dark place inside me that I dread, a place of self-hate and apathy.

I find myself in the darkness with the one person that I run from, the one person I most dislike in the world and never want to be alone with: me. At that point, I am the worst version of myself I can imagine; the one that lives in the shadows. And there is no place to hide from it, no rescue party, no safe sanctuary.

Through all of this, despite my daemons having hounded for most of my life, light ends up trumping darkness. I always end up wanting to travel again, live a life where I am free to embrace emotional extremes nonetheless, letting new people, places and experiences into my world. The very fabric of my soul will not be calmed, it screams for this life. Because on rare days, there is actual magic.

Being a time-traveling gypsy in this scary and wonderful world means I am always looking, always testing directions, searching for a path, wandering to the end of the universe and back.

I have learnt in the hardest way possible, that rationale, the good intentions of others, and sometimes even much lauded common sense, simply don’t apply to my life. At the start of my journey in 2009, high on the feeling of seemingly being able to bend the whole world to my will, I was forced back to earth by a set of circumstances that left me crushed. So great were my illusions of grandeur, that I was blind to being manipulated by another, because I refused to listen to the wailing sirens of my instincts, convinced that there was no way they were right.

When the fantasy of my invincibility was shattered, I was left broken for many years afterwards, with only the darkest shadow of myself for company.

This however, burned a most important truth in my brain: That my instincts are my only compass.

I still suffer long periods of darkness far from home, unsure of my bearings, and my ability to do anything right. The entire first quarter of 2013 was plagued by long stretches of bad luck and bad decisions – or decisions that seemed ok but turned out to be really bad. I bought the wrong plane ticket to the wrong place. Then flew to the right place, and loved Guatemala but became very sick and depressed. A possible trip to work in Peru was cancelled. And months of work planning the creation of a follow-up movie to Una Pura Verdad went down the drain in March.

I can land in the brightest of places in the darkest of moods. Splash into the darkest of places and feel very uplifted. And in my life, these extremes can be just hours apart. It is sometimes horrible. And always horribly addictive.

But on some days everything in the universe aligns, life is amazing and occasionally it is pure unfiltered magic. I find myself in the right frame of mind with the right person, in the right place at the right time and we stumble into something wonderful. When it all comes together in these moments, I feel like everything is possible, that I am ok, that I can fly.

Magic means everything to me. I mostly find the world a very sad, dark and difficult place with far too much pain, misery and loneliness for me to handle. It is hard for me to feel comfortable in this world, when I relate to so little of it. Always the outcast growing up, mercilessly ridiculed, I let my fears crush my dreams and aspirations.

Always have I felt this, isolated and alienated, always have I wanted to run and hide from the pain. For many years I did. At some point I decided to use all this pain as fuel so I could at least burn brightly and travel the universe. Search for the pure feeling of wonder and amazement I experienced as a young boy wandering in the wide open fields. Where everything is new and amazing, where everything feels possible and I feel free. I will suffer all the daemons and dark days in the world for this, because magic is rare but it can and does happen.

The world is very far from what I want to make it. I would make it a place where people hurt each other less and understand more. A place with more empathy and less prejudice. A place where dreams, truth, innocence and an open minded sense of wonder is treasured. Where cynicism, greed, lies and apathy are not. A place where I could travel the whole universe, and where there is a place for everyone.

How can you live like this, people ask. How can you live without a home? Without things? Without a secure income? Without any form of stability? Chasing magic? I am very aware that this solitary path of time-traveling is impossible to understand for some. But this is how I want to live and no one can change it or me. Sure, at times it feels like the loneliest life. But my life has always been lonely. At least now the world is my playground.

I do not know if these days of complete freedom, days when all of time and space is my playground, are special. Maybe other people have plenty. I did not. These days are precious to me. Never did I imagine these days could be shared nor how happiness is even better that way. Yet, year four saw the birth of Mad and Magic Raving, and New Mexico in 2012 and 2013 turned out to be pivot points in my space-time continuum. Being able to chase the magic across the universe, blasting music along the way, a wide-eyed kid living an unfiltered life, no safety net, no strings, no shields, pure emotion and wonder. Watching in grateful amazement as the world and everyone I meet responds favorably to my bending of all rules of gravity and life and generally acting rather crazy. If you allow it, allow the world and allow yourself, this dark world can be a most amazing playground.

How can I not live like this, keep searching for what fuels me? How could I ever stop chasing these magic days, days that are infinitely better than anything that ever happened in my old life? If I ever went back it would tear me apart.

So I run. Run for all kinds of reason too terrible and too wonderful. Run on what is now my fifth trip around the sun. Run to chase the magic. It is out there.

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Both images by Charlene Winfred, Mad and Magic Raving Tour, April, 2013.

The Blue Box and The Red Sofa at the End of the Universe

Been knocking about for a bit already this year. Things to do, people to see, places to be – as always. Different projects, different places, different moods, different versions of me. This is but a few fragmented tales and images of the past few months. Began the year in cold winterstruck Copenhagen. My first Copenhagen winter in 4 years, and yes suffice to say, not really my favourite time of the year in Copenhagen. Was just about as horrible, no maybe a bit worse, than I remember it. Being with friends and family was always, very nice. The neverending paradox of having a life in a place where I do not wish to live, outside of Summer. So I pretend I have a blue box, a TARDIS and I time-travel.

Then I briefly spent a few days defrosting in the Florida sun; attempting and failing to connect with Miami. The sun was warm, my mind was cold and dark. Apparently I had forgotten that I hate big cities, especially when feeling exhausted and down. A longer Miami story with more images to come. Not the best of times for me, so I time-traveled.

Miami SoBe skater

Went to amazing Guatemala for a spell. Learned a language, made many pictures, worked with an NGO, hung out at the local market where you can buy everything from fruit to goldfish in a bag to latest Hollywood movies. Donated a few liters of blood to Guatemalteco mosquitoes, inhaled incense all day long photographing the rather spectacular processions – and drank many a cup of the worlds best coffee. Much more to come, a return to Guatemala must happen as this country touched my soul in some ways.

Guatemala market

guatemala-procession

PPresently I arrived in New Mexico. Several projects to do here, first of all, recharge internal power supply. Fortunately I am staying with my great friend Laura Gerwin in her wonderful house, which like a TARDIS is bigger on the inside and a happy place, featuring presently two dogs and a cat and a fish and a time-traveler. I am doing promotional videos for Renaissance Art. Am shooting stuff with Daniel Milnor, some kind of followup to Una Pura Verdad. And, the long awaited followup to Cowboys & Aliens – Mad And Magic Raving II tour with Charlene. New Mexico is wild and crazy and enchanted and quirky. We had epic clouds on my first day here, proper end of the universe clouds.

NM loco magic

Finally, it somehow feels completely natural to find a red sofa in the middle of nowhere of the enchanted state of Nuevo Mexico. Well, it was just outside of Santa Fe on a rather gorgeous and stormy day. Red Sofa at the end of the universe, in wild and crazy New Mexico. A very fitting place for a time-traveler to hang out. Goes well with my time-machine, the blue box.

FBJ hanging out in Santa Fe NM

Still a lot of running and time-traveling to do. And more stories to come from all of these places as I get a look at the images and write some tales. Later. Much later. I struggle mightily at the moment with posting any words or images online, struggle with the whole idea of being online at all, struggle with my writing and photography, struggle with reality not feeling real. Disliking having any online version of myself. Paraphrasing Bilbo Baggins, I need a very long holiday…from? well I do not know. Stuff to figure out, deamons to pacify, reset buttons to push, hence the fragmentation. Oh well. Onwards and forwards! Vamos. Hasta luego amigos.


Bolivia Remembered

Bolivia, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, December 2011. The camera stares at, grins at me lying on my hostel bed in tropical heat–I shoot angry glares back. The camera has been kicking my butt every day for some weeks and I hate it right now. Despise photography. But I need to pick it up and go create something. Need an outlet. A dark storm hovers in my mind, I am depressed, all purpose seems lost and recent events including a suicide made me fall in a black hole devoid of all light. I walk the world feeling completely disconnected from human life. Despising myself and my existence. As always, light this bright casts some very dark shadows. Despite an abundance of sun light in tropical Santa Cruz I have been in the shadows for days. I like extremes–I seek extremes. Fitting then I guess, that I am in the darkest of moods in the brightest of warm tropical weather.

Get out. Walk. Standing still never worked for me. Must keep moving. Or shadows catch up. Grab the damn camera and walk, walk the streets of this hot, weird and interesting melting pot of a city. Get out of this hostel from hell. Walk, damn legs, walk. A market appears. A gigantic chaotic market bigger than any market I have seen in Asia or anywhere else. A world inside a world. No hiding here. Not a single gringo in sight anywhere. I break out the camera. Channel my darkness into looking, seeing, shooting, making images.

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These are two of my favourite pictures from Bolivia and I like putting them together. They look like one image, almost. The top image is from the street I lived on and an easy image to make. The second image is my favourite from Bolivia, women at the largest market ever in the history of all markets–that I have been to. Filled at least 15 square city blocks. Hard to shoot this image. NO ONE wanted to be part of any photos. Had to steal images as I walked around being the most noticeable person in the entire city.

Memories are funny. These words are written about a year after the images were made. And I want to return to Bolivia. Have been on my mind recently. Calls me back. It is one of the hardest places to work in that I have experienced. I was in a dark, dark place for the 10 days I was there. But it was a very interesting place filled with awesome people and places of contrast and extremes. That’s why I want to return of course. The challenge. And I need the extremes. To create. To feel alive.