About Earth Journey

On an Earth Journey

Ollantaytambo Ruins (1) (1)

Hi. I’m Amanda Lynn Barker, a traveler, writer, and metaphysical practitioner. I believe that we are all eternal beings, temporarily in transit on planet earth to heal our karma, to learn how to have a healthy relationship with the Self, and to explore creation. Yea, that might sound weird, but what else would you expect from an INFP?

Earth Journey is an intention to inspire others to seek and find, to dream and build, and to journey to the horizon carrying the full knowledge that the horizon is not real, but an illusion that is never reached. We are all on a journey through this temporary arrangement. Let’s explore beyond the boundaries history has constructed.

I write these essays as points of reference for new ways to see the world. Travel is not only wine on a veranda, or wild boat parties on a foreign river. It is a transformative experience that pushes personal boundaries while crossing geographical or political borders. In the midst of a global pandemic and travel restrictions to curb an unknown virus, travel will look different. This is yet another opportunity to re-arrange how we interact and experience adventure and the unknown.

20200709_094221 (1)
Farmland in the American south. c. 2004.

The past is pushed away and the borders are more challenging to cross, if not even completely impossible. The future exists as a now unimaginable space that forces us all to redefine and redesign our expectations for our lives. Why travel if it doesn’t change us? Every moment is an opportunity to evolve, to blink and reemerge from behind our closed eyes to see a different world. When the pandemic is over, my dream is to trek overland from Ulaanbaatar to Lisboa. I don’t know what that looks like yet; my vision is focused on the day-to-day. Eventually, I will see that horizon through the jungle.

Diaries of an American Nomad

I call myself a nomad because I don’t know how else to define my lifestyle. My housing and my occupation shifts and adapts to navigate changing economic cycles and seasons. I am flexible and highly resourceful. I know my own land of the continental United States very well. I have traveled the freeways, back roads, and train tracks through about 40 of the 50 states. My personal feeling is that it should be a right of passage for a young American adult to ride the Greyhound from San Francisco to New York City. See the country, meet the people, learn patience and humility, and by all means, bring a pillow. After five days on a crowded bus in the heat of summer with no air conditioning, almost every other minor discomfort is absorbed into the total experience of humanity.

20200709_094305 (1)
Landscape in the mid-American west, c. 2007.

Since 2004, I have lived in Chicago, Illinois; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Arcata, California; Cleveland, Ohio; Fortuna, California; Sacramento, California; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Los Angeles, California; Oroville, California; and Cincinnati, Ohio. Within those places, I have moved about 35 times. Gentrification is real, class differences are real, and it is a true story that property owners raise rents monthly, quarterly, and yearly. What’s that saying? A rolling stone gathers no moss? I may have problems, but moss is not one of them.

20200709_094314 (1)
Outside my door. Jackson Hole, Wyoming. 2005.

My grasp of my own country was deep before I ventured over any borders. When I was 24, I drove from Humboldt County, California, to Vancouver, Canada, for two days. I was interviewing for a doctoral position at the University of British Columbia. I didn’t leave the US for another six years, when I walked across the border into Mexico from San Ysidro. I spent a couple of hours in Tijuana, and then came back. When I was 32, I finally had an actual passport, and plans to see the world beyond the US. Since then, I have traveled through Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania.

When I travel internationally, I carry one backpack that weighs about 35 pounds, I stay in bunkhouses and hostels, I ride on public transportation, and I find internet access through cyber cafes. These are not vacations. I have spent less than $10k on international travel, including plane tickets. Sometimes I pay for tours, if it is a requirement for me to see a National Park or sensitive ecosystem, or if I want to learn more about the cultural significance of food; but for the most part, I walk around on my own, and find city parks, local cafes, graffiti art, and the spaces that tell the authentic story of the people and their history and experience.

Sometimes people ask me if I am scared to travel alone, and so far, my scariest experiences are from within here in the US. I am probably more afraid to go camping in Kentucky than to walk to a foreign transit center in the middle of the night, in any of the places I have visited so far. But I am always aware of who is around me, and of how close to me they are standing or walking. It is also important to listen, and to understand that communication is deeper than the language of the spoken words.

A Season of Uncertainty

At present, I live in Cincinnati, Ohio, and considers myself on a pandemic assignment. In my current role, I am in a position to redesign how local advocacy and campaigning efforts look while maintaining social distance. It is a challenge, and it gives me focus and direction in this time of volatility when travel is not an option.

Selfie April 10
Selfie from April 10, 2020

My published works include Restless Flesh (2012), a collection of short fiction; Door Waves (2012), a script for experimental theatre; and two collections of free verse poetry, Random Acts of Alchemy (2014), and The Spirits Speak in Free Verse (2017). I am also a content creator with VAMONDE.

I have a BA from Indiana University in Communication and Culture, an MA from Humboldt State University in Social Science, and two professional certificates in Positive Psychology and Project Management. I am also ordained as a Metaphysical Practitioner through the International Metaphysics Ministry. My spirituality influences my view of time and space, and gives dimension to my experience with travel and fellow travelers.

Contact Earth Journey

%d bloggers like this: