Why Tea Afar?
I love tea and I’m on a mission to see every country in the world. Lofty goal, I know. But since the whole world drinks tea (I think), why not share a ritual that encompasses so many topics: clean water, agriculture, fair trade, energy, economic opportunity, indigenous ceremonies, and family traditions. Plus there’s the food you eat with tea, how the tea is prepared, how it’s poured, the vessels you drink from, the smell, the taste, it’s affect on your body . . . As you can see, endless possibilities through which to view a travel experience. It’s a way for me to connect and engage with people when I travel, to have a shared experience and cultural exchange.
Who is April Banks?
Most days I feel like a Jill of all trades, a master of dreaming. If I could narrow it down, I would travel the world and make art while eating chocolate, drinking tea and squeezing fat babies. I would ride my bike, ride a horse, hitch hike, kayak, run, skydive, ice skate or rollerblade, not necessarily in that order.
I could summarize my travel philosophy with a pithy quote like:
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
Describe a new way of see things as surviving a 10 hour summer heat hallucinogenic bike ride through the Mojave desert, collapsing in joy at my destination. A place.
Which is why I think this is so true:
“. . .the best travelers… seem to be those able to hold two or three inconsistent ideas in their minds at the same time, or able to regard themselves as at once serious persons and clowns.” – Paul Fussell
Obviously I can’t take myself too seriously when I speak one and three fifths languages. Sad but true. While I work on simplifying that fraction, I have become fluent in hand gesture and frantic sketching. Which got me through dysentery in Senegal during Ramadan. So I’d say it’s working. Or I’m lucky. I mention this because I’m often asked ‘how do you travel alone and you don’t speak the language?’ Never fear, there’s always a way.
Usually I travel alone, occasionally with a friend. Sometimes I have a purpose, sometimes not. I like to wander, off the path to places I would not consider a “vacation.” No luxury travel here. (Although I won’t turn down a good non-cruise offer.) My travel wish list is long and will carry me through life. Even if I play the lottery, remember to check my ticket, win, and fund a continuous five-year world-wide excursion—I’ll still travel forever. So I’m dropping “B4-40” as the title of my “must do” list. (Who thought, I’d ever be 40?) This is a life-long adventure.
As I blog, my tone may oscillate between humor, sarcasm, occasionally prosaic and even telepathic. But my intention is always to show my utmost respect for the people I meet, who go out of their way to offer me a ride, who insist I share their last piece of bread, who wash my feet after a hot dusty walk, who offer me a cup of tea, and remind me that life is good, people are good.
The bottom line: I love to travel and I hope you enjoy my stories.
Please follow often and share freely.
When I’m not traveling, I’m based in Oakland, California, where I can be found creating: art: aprilbanks.com