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“31, Numb, but the Hurt is Gone…”

Friends,

I’m 31.

31 stony grey steps toward the grave if I’m looking to be poetic and needlessly morose.

It’s certainly been a full 31 years, but even in light of everything I have experienced thus far, I feel in some ways like I am just getting started.

Not at life, mind you, but at living.

This is gonna be a big year for me. How do I know?

Well because it has to be. I can’t keep on the way I have been thus far or I will keep getting what I have always gotten.

And I’m bored of that.

2015 was a big year for me. Monster was my operative word. It was my theme for the year if you will. It was on my tongue for everything I wanted to do career-wise.

And, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy: It was my biggest year in film (such as it was), and certainly I could have kept said momentum up and kept growing, albeit in a linear fashion.

But that didn’t seem righteous to me. Essentially, there were other areas of my life I had been neglecting during my entertainment pursuits, most notably my aspirations as an adventurer, and to keep on the same way I had been would have been to repress those longings.

So I donned the sombrero and poncho of el peregrino and made my first foray into Latin America where I partook in ayahuasca and shot a film. This satisfied my longing for adventure while reassuring me that I wasn’t losing too much professional momentum. I got two birds stoned at once as it were.

But now I’m back home. Back for over two months actually, and I stand at a bit of a crossroads: Where do I go from here? I could go back into that linear progression but it doesn’t feel righteous; that is to say I don’t find myself pulled in that direction. After all, do I really wanna spend the rest of my life only telling other people’s stories? No, mine must be the priority.

I feel on a very deep level that to keep pursuing the same things, the same way in the same place is to do myself a disservice and squander my potential while ignoring my passions.

If the theme of 2015 was Monster, the theme for 2016 is Evolve. I have known this…felt this, since mid-2015. I’ve recognized this need for a quantum-shift for that long.

So how do I plan on evolving?

Well, I am precipitating said evolution assymetrically and on many fronts simultaneously, developing existing aptitudes and even trying my hand at new endeavours not strictly film or even adventure related. That’s a big step for me.

So what are some of my approaches?

Well, there is another adventure documentary in the works which will be my greatest undertaking yet. I can’t speak too definitively about it right now simply because I’m not producing/organizing it (which is kind of a relief), but if it doesn’t get deferred until 2017, it will begin this October. Stay tuned for that.

But, I’m kinda sorta almost hoping it does get deferred until next year because my back-up plan is pretty damn sweet too. I’ve started making some inquiries about this one but I can’t start making arrangements until my new passport comes in over the next couple weeks…

On the home front I am starting a collective which at this moment I am simply calling ACCESS. It will be a first furtive step in the direction of embodying a set of values important to me and my partners in the project, values such as sustainability, abundance, collaboration and skill-development to name a few. We are still selecting the property we wish to purchase for this endeavour, and there is a strict set of criteria it must meet, but I am confident we can have that portion of it sorted out before any departure I may be inclined undertake in the fall. This will be a long-term project that will grow and develop as my partners and I do, and I’m excited to begin living values that I have thus far just been discussing.

With regard to strictly creative endeavours, I’ve done something I’ve been meaning to for some time now which  is to lay down vocals for a hip-hop track. Director and Rapper, Matthew Luppino is producing it and it should be out over the next few weeks. I love rhyming and playing with words and so this is a long-overdue step. I want to challenge myself to write a few tracks a year as a way of harnessing this skill. I’m nice at writing bars. Now the world will see this.

Film-wise, I haven’t been applying for auditions but I have kept busy enough through referrals and the like, and for about a month of my time home I was pretty goddamn busy doing stunts on Blood & Fury: America’s Civil War. This latter was actually really important because it gave me that feeling of still being in the game which is so useful for combating feelings of idleness during this period of reflection.. But the whole time I’ve meditated constantly upon how to evolve. A seemingly obvious step would be to finally look into getting an agent but I’m not 100% sold on that…yet. I think there are other ways in which I can transcend where I’m at before I allow that influence into my life.

Finally I am going back out to comedy shows after a lengthy hiatus. This time however I am more aware of how I present myself on stage and going to try new means of delivering my ideas which will hopefully add to their efficacy.

Like I said earlier, I’m 31. I am LITERALLY in the prime of my life when all factors are taken into consideration. True, my body may have some wear and tear (I was in the army for 10 years), but that is mitigated by eating well and keeping fit. And really, from a physical fitness perspective, I’m still easily in the upper 20th percentile of North American men my age. But even if I wasn’t that lack would be offset by the fact that I’m smarter, wiser, more focused, more established and freer than I’ve ever been. I am at a singular moment in my life where I can do ANYTHING. So it’s very important that I don’t squander this time with vain pursuits because I will never be able to achieve like I can achieve now.

Evolve.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

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…Where Credit is Due

My Friends,
   I’m back home in Canada after circling the globe over the past 107 days.  It was in many ways not the trip I was expecting but perhaps for that exact reason it was also exactly the trip I was expecting.  For you see I was looking for adventure, something which is eminently un-plannable, and adventure is what I got.
   However, the success of this venture rested on more than just my own overtures toward worldliness and Quixotic affectations.  Rather, I was helped at almost every step by others; some I knew beforehand, most I did not.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who made my trip not only what it was, but possible in the first place.
   So, Thank-You…

To my friend Tommy and my brother Adam for helping me try to get financial assistance for the trip.  It may not have been successful but it was a lot of fun to hang out and make videos.

To Steve and Lynn from modrobes for the clothing you provided and the re-supply mid-expedition.

To Mark from Oakley U.S.A. for your generosity.

To Maria, Victor and Wilson, the first three people who showed me any kind of goodwill in my trip but whose contact information I lost in the robbery.  Thank-you so much and I will keep attempting to find you guys on Facebook.

To my parents for all of their help after I got robbed.  Thank-you for booking my flight back to Lisbon, scrounging through my boxes in the basement to find pieces of documentation so I could procure a new passport and making sure replacement cards, documents and gear made it out to me as quickly as possible.

To the staff of TAP Airlines in Funchal Airport for giving me money to buy lunch when I had lost everything.

To the flight attendants on my TAP flight from Funchal to Lisbon for giving me all the food I wanted after learning I got robbed.

To Bev and Darryn Cross, who saw to it that I had a hotel to stay in upon my arrival in Lisbon.

To Eneida and Gisella at the Canadian Embassy in Lisbon.  Thank you for all of the free calls and the speed with which you helped me out.

To Antonio, Antonio & Penelope for making my stay in Lisbon better than it could have been given the shitty time I was having.

To Vasil & Nadia for letting me camp in their garage during my last night in Portugal.

To “Belgian Teacher,” Greg & Maria, “German Couple,” Samuel, Jose, Sergei & Andrej & Dimitri, Bianca, “Hungary Dude” & “German Girl,” Therese & Stefano & Hannah, “Granada Dude,” “Guadix Family,” “Lorca Dude,” Juan & his Dad, Paul & Sonja, Andrew & Laura, Antonio, Julius, Maria Jose, Xavien, Keira & Ali, Claudia, Rene, Hugo, Tomas & Sandra, Moroccan guy who may or may not have wanted to rob me, “Gay Michele,” Dominique, Miro, Benoit, “Fronk”/Franc, Mohmed & Kh____ (x2), Simon, Gwen, Claudio, Nasir(?), Orsun(?), “Gas Station Patron,” “Nameless Dude,” “Old Dude,” Erol, Veysel, Ali, Ibrahim, Mehmet & Besir, _____ & Ramazan, “Some Trucker,” “Mini-Bus Full of Dudes,” “Big Bus Full of Dudes,” “Turkish Family,” “____ From Antakya,” “_____ & ______ From Antakya,” “Family in a Pick-Up Truck,” “German/Turkish Couple,” Hasan & Usan, _____, Mustafa & _____, The Syrian Secret-Service/Cab-Drivers, Jima, and finally Havid & Family.  Thank-you for picking me up instead of just speeding by.

To Ricky, who came out of left field to offer me his house to crash at in Rota, Spain.  Your generosity was overwhelming.

To Annelies & Annejet, who gave me sunscreen, a pink towel and would have given me a ride to Malaga but I slept in like a dunce.

To Toby, who came back and picked me up from McDonald’s just like he said he would.

To the Collet family who picked me up and let me stay in their beautiful home.  If you have any plans to visit the south of France you should definitely consider a stay in one of their residences: http://www.bormeslesmimosas.com/locationscoulomb/.

To Neil, who showed me around San Remo, bought me a bus ticket, and warned me about just how corrupt Italy was on arrival.

My cousin Steven and his family in Legnano, Italy.  Thank-you for your hospitality, helping me deal with lazy Italian officials, and the delicious food which fattened me up for the cold weather which laid before me.
To Imad and Lina who made me feel at home in Beirut, took me around the city and included me in their Christmas-tree decorating.

To the proprietors of the cafe in the Suez bus station for letting me crash in the back-room.

To Jima, who picked me up, took me into his home and broke bread with me during my last night in Egypt.

To Brian for for offering his flat in Zanzibar which I never made it to.

To Robert for sharing his campfire in Ein Gedi.

To Amina & Gulmyra, my Kazakh “aunts” who forced me to eat with them on the train and led me to the bus station in Almaty.

To “Opie,” who made my welfare the highest priority in his life.

To the Chongqing Police Force for allowing me to use your computers and inviting me to share your Christmas dinner.
To Erich and Serena, for inviting me into your home and the delicious perma-cultured eggs.

To everyone I met who posted pics on my Facebook.  Thank-you so much for enabling me to have photographic reminders even after the loss of my camera.

To my regiment and my friends back home.  Thank-you for being there if I needed something taken care of.

To all my siblings who were supportive of me through the duration of my time away.

To my sister Tanya who posted entries for me while I was in China and unable to access anything but hotmail.

And finally, to my beautiful woman, Chelsea.  Thank-you for not making me feel bad about leaving and for encouraging me in all my goals.

Nobody makes it through this life on their own and even when I felt most alone, I knew I wasn’t.


Oh the song of the future has been sung
All the battles have been won
On the mountaintops we stand
All the world at our command
                      -Gordon Lightfoot

Stay Thirsty,
Andre Guantanamo

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