I write, take photographs and travel for the same reason —
to witness the world within and without, to pay attention to the details of my life,
and to reflect back the truth of my own experience.
“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving.” ~ Lao Tzu
Since 2005 I’ve been living in the South East of England (I’d been regularly visiting England since 1990, spent the summer of 2000 there, as well as the first six months of 2004). However, in May 2012, my partner Mufidah Kassalias and I embarked upon a slow traveling tour of Europe. In so doing, we decided to adopt Lao Tzu’s apt phrase, above, as our slow traveling motto.
As of February 2014, our travels continue with no end in sight. Thus far, we’ve spent time in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, all of our first summer (2012) in France, seven-and-a-half months living in Burgos, Spain, and then traveled back through France last spring (2013), and around the South East of England, the Lake District, Scotland and North Cornwall through late August.
From late August through mid-January 2014, we house- and dog-sat within a stunning 100-acre property set in the vineyard- and sunflower-strewn hills above Gaillac, in the Midi-Pyrénées region of South West France. We then traveled along the Côte d’Azur from Cannes to Nice to Monaco to the France/Italy border en route to San Casciano in Tuscany, 15 kilometers southwest of Florence.
And so we’re now living in Italy, continuing to work with our CreativeThunder.co clients to fire up their online presence and prowess, while working, too, on our own creative projects, all from a beautiful 1,600-tree olive farm set high on the Sorripa ridge overlooking San Casciano, just a few kilometers from where Machiavelli wrote his most important works, including The Prince.
It continues to amaze us what we’ve managed these past 20-plus months, slow traveling on a shoestring. Opening to the unknown has been key, as has a great deal of creative seed-planting and trust in the universe.
In 2013, alone, we launched four of our own books, including a fine art photography book of 367 of our acclaimed 1,400+ Instagram photos of Burgos, Spain, two short fiction works, and a book of philosophy, specifically, an exploration of David Hume’s and Immanuel Kant’s works on metaphysics. And we founded our new business while living in Scotland in early July, and earned income from three other businesses over the course of the year, not including our book sales or affiliate revenues from our various websites.
Speaking of which, not including those we’ve built for our CreativeThunder.co clients, we also created three new websites in 2013, including this one, and have since been recognized three times by the WordPress.com editors — including two Freshly Pressed blog posts (one, two) and, again, in January 2014, within a WordPress.com News article.
On 24 February 2013, my essay entitled “Slow Travels: The Art of Voluntary Homelessness” was published on Henry Makow’s internationally popular website. After having read Part One of “My Adventures with Don Quixote”, Henry invited me to write a piece about our life in Spain. Here’s how he introduced the resulting essay: “To a casual observer, Sean Madden and his partner Mufidah seem to have escaped the confines of everyday life. But, maintaining their nomadic lifestyle in Spain is a daily act of faith.”
You can follow our day-to-day goings-on via this website as well as my and Mufidah’s Instagram galleries. These photographs came to the attention of a Diario de Burgos journalist who profiled us in the Sunday, 25 November 2012 edition of the newspaper. Exactly one year later, the same journalist wrote a follow-up article on our then-soon-to-be-launched photography book, Burgos². You can learn much more, and preview the whole of the book, here.
A longer, more detailed account of our travels was published on 18 January 2014.