What is travel? Asking this question is like asking, “What is life?” or, “Who are you?” (or, as I’ve frequently been asked, “Who are you?”). The answers to such questions are as numerous as the people asking. The Idiot of Funkyville: Becoming an Everywhere Citizen takes a chronological snapshot of actual personal experiences as a young and less-than-young man living and playing abroad; exploring each of the above questions in the context of a displaced American piecing himself together on foreign turf.
Contained therein: perhaps an excess of sex, more than a healthy dose of drugs, and all the rock ‘n’ roll one can ask for. Balance is achieved as the vignettes build one on top of the next.
Pondering the course of my life from the confines of a Qatari jail cell, reminiscence begins with teenage confusion at a Mexican bar and concludes with grown confusion as an expat in the Middle East. In progression, the narrowing spiral of personal growth leaves finer grained finger prints as the tales evolve through destinations and age. In theory, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. But that’s for the experts to decide.
Having dismounted a train, plane, boat, or rickshaw in nearly forty countries (including Canada), The Idiot of Funkyville documents a life of travel as a point-blank portrayal of my life through travel. And who doesn’t love life and travel both? Whether you’ve already gone or have no intention of ever, ever going near the place, wonder is universal. We all have questions. A good majority of my questions just happened to be pondered abroad.
The thing about me is that I ….. dance like a crazy man when one of my favorite bands is playing.
When I first get up in the morning, I ….. try to remember which day it is. Then I think about what to do with the day, but that’s mostly because I’m on a sabbatical from my day job.
The most important things in my life are … my friends and family.
I love to travel to ….. every place that I can. Bali and India are two of my favorite places so far.
In my spare time, I ….. do my best to stay active. Yoga and swimming are a part of my daily routine. Beyond that I love rock climbing, surfing, snowboarding, and cafe hopping.
One thing I learned about life was ….. that it’s too short to take too seriously. I would love to see that philosophy implemented at an official, governmental level.
My sole mission on earth is to ….. serve humanity to the best of my ability. Writing is one form of service.
One little known fact about me that might surprise you is …..that I like working with my hands. I renovated my house and yard and have also built furniture of my own design.
My favorite time of day is …..at night. That’s when I feel most awake and most relaxed. At night, when I feel both energetic and mentally calm, I tend to be more productive than I am during the day.
I love to write about … anything that has meaning. It could be something autobiographical like my book, The Idiot of Funkyville, or it could be a work of fiction that also has an underlying message about humanity.
The most difficult aspect about writing is ….. getting to a point where I’m satisfied with what I have written. While writing my book I went through each chapter and paragraph more times than I can count, editing and re-editing until I couldn’t take it anymore. It’s hard for me to decide that something is as good as I can make it and move on from there. I still see words or sentences I would go back and change if I could.
My most favorite aspect about writing is ….. the contemplative aspect of sitting down with a blank piece of paper, letting thoughts arise, and spilling them out through the pen. There’s a meditative quality to the process that will keep me balanced if I do it on a daily basis. It’s a nice blend of creativity and reflection, which is why I began writing in the first place.
When I became a published author for the first time, I ….. turned my attention toward the promotion of my work. With the rise of ebooks and digital publishing, getting your work into the market has become the easiest part of the process.
The inspiration behind my book comes from ….. a 13-month around-the-world backpacking trip I took in 2006-07. This book wasn’t actually planned. It happened to me. Rather than making a decision to sit down and create a book, I wrote a series of travel stories as a way to take greater meaning from the experiences I was having while backpacking. At some point in time I realized that these stories were the foundation of something bigger.
The most asked question about my book is ….. Did you really go to jail for showing your middle finger in Qatar? Yes, yes I did.
ABOUT ASH HODEN
Ash Hoden is a writer, foreign correspondent for a California-based design studio, and architect currently living, working, and writing about living and working in Qatar. His pursuits have always involved creation. He firmly believes social contribution is a fundamental requirement for a happy existence. He attended Colorado State University where he received the American Society of Landscape Architect’s Honor Award for exceptional academic design work. In addition to ongoing contributions in the business world, he previously founded an independent design firm and organized CambodiaFund, a method of providing basic school supplies to Cambodian children in need.
The Idiot of Funkyville is his first published book. You can visit Ash Hoden’s website atwww.ashhoden.com.