Archives for category: travel

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Old Man Ocean and I, 2013oldmanocean-5

(More photos after story, as well as on Instagram: lindsbrunsman. Click on photos for higher resolution view.)

The man I know and call Old Man Ocean, otherwise known around Kailua-Kona as Freddy, passed away this week. I had hoped I would get to see him again, but am very thankful and honored for the two times I was able to engage in conversation with him, in addition to the privilege of capturing his portrait both times.
I’m learning much more than I knew about him through many talking about him on my blog post from four years ago and through emails from his friends – he seemed to be a generous and genuinely humble man.

In his words, when asked why he was always by the ocean, “The ocean has a calming effect; it helps me to reflect on the good I’ve had in life, and it reminds me that with every breath I take there is a rhythm to my heart beat. When I was a young man, as long as I looked to the ocean, out past the horizon, I was reminded that I could accomplish more than I could dream of, with or without people’s help. When there was a tree in front of my ocean view, it showed that there would always be obstacles on my journey, but there would always be a way to get through life…” God bless you, Old Man Ocean. Thank you for sharing some of your stories with me and the gift of your photos.

— original story from 2013 —

This is a man I’ve always known as Old Man Ocean. Five years ago I was going through the School of Photography at the University of the Nations in Kona, Hawaii. My class and I often encountered this man wandering around town, and one thing he made clear to everyone was that he never wanted his photo taken.

One particular day, I was walking around town with my camera, turned a corner around the back of a building, and there he was. As I approached, I held up my camera asking if I could take his photo. He unexpectedly motioned me towards him and communicated that I could snap shots of him. While doing so, I carried on in a short conversation with him, and remembered him telling me how he had once lived in Texas. The photographs I captured that day remain very valuable to me, and I have sporadically wondered about him, his life story, and how he got to where he is now.

This time while in Kona, I took a day away from the beaches to walk around town with my camera. Old Man Ocean had been on my mind, and I wondered if he was still around. Just as soon as that thought came and went, I happened upon him. Astonished, I exclaimed, “Hey, Old Man Ocean! You let me take your photo five years ago…” He replied, “How much did you pay me to do so?” I answered back, “Nothing, you let me take your photo for free!” We exchanged a few more words, then parted ways.

I immediately felt burdened with a strong desire to talk with him more, but felt awkward to just run up to him and start talking… so I followed him a bit, and got to a point where I caught up with him, and looked over and said, “Hello again!” This sparked our journey walking around town and exchanging stories.

I asked him what his actual name was, his response, “I have many names.” 

I followed with questioning which he preferred, and he told me that he doesn’t like any of them because they put a label on him. I thought out loud, “The man with no name!” He retorted with a smile, “That’s a label.” I quickly evaluated his response, then agreed. Our conversation jumped around from questions of him asking me things like, “What river are you?” Confused, “I’m sorry, what? I don’t understand… what river would you say that I am?” With a smile and glitter in his eyes he responded, “You would be the river of purity and perfection!” Taken by surprise, “…Wow, thank you!… that’s a compliment…” 

He shared with me stories of how he hears voices, and of one particular time when he was scuba diving off the coast of California, he heard a loud voice command him to stay out of the water. We talked more about water, and he informed me that we can all live without water… that it’s not really a necessity. We exchanged thoughts about marijuana after he asked my views on it. He also instructed me to always think positive thoughts and never allow negativity to come near me, and he shared how many people who come near him are full of negativity and he has nothing to do with them.

His eyes… they are such a crystal clear blue. I affirmed to him that his eyes captivated me, and every time he smiled they would light up and twinkle. I followed with asking if it would be possible to capture more photos of him, and focus on his eyes. He agreed, so we walked to a spot where there weren’t as many people walking around. We neared upon a sweet lady, that for the life of me, I can’t remember her name, but her smile was warming and inviting. She waved and exclaimed, “Freddy!”, so we walked over to join her company. As I prepared settings on my camera, she lit up a joint and kindly asked if I smoked then proceeded to offer a drag. I politely declined, then informed that I was ready to take photos. Old Man Ocean started out playfully engaging with the camera with different poses, but then seemed to transition into being camera shy.

He asked me as he pointed to his hair, “Do you know what I call these? What would you name them?” Nothing came to mind, “Uhhh…I’m not sure what I would name them… I just know them as dreadlocks…” “They are warlocks.” he educated me. He shared that many years ago a man came up to him with a knife and slashed him from his ear to across his face, and that the blood that gushed from his infliction is how his warlocks were birthed.

At the end of our time spent together, the man I will continue to know and label as Old Man Ocean rested both his hands upon my shoulders, leaned in and gave me a kiss on the cheek goodbye, then wandered off idly roaming through town.

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EINE GUTES NEUES JAHR meine Freunde und Familie!

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Ich hoffe euch allen sind gut und gesund! Mir geht es gut… Ich nehme jeden Tag nach dem anderen.

Okaiiiiii, jetzt auf Englisch…

Time escapes me quickly here, so these are raw and unedited thoughts coming from me to you.

It’s been a really good, extremely blessed, interesting and somewhat complicated time so far.

The process of moving to another country and getting all of the logistics completed is a drawn out process. I can’t accomplish some big/important tasks without first some very small yet key details. For example, I have not yet been able to open a bank account because I first had to get proof of where I am now living. I can’t get a new SIM card until I get a German bank account with a German Visa card. I’m still waiting to get a response from the bank. In addition, so many German holidays in the past week have painfully slowed this process. Ein Tag nach dem anderen – one day at a time.

For the next three months I am living with my friend Melina’s family, in Reutlingen. I have been beside myself with how incredible and generous they have been in helping me with EVERYTHING. For an independent gal like me, I have been repeatedly humbled several times in each day and deeply impacted by the abounding love and grace I am immersed in.

A very unexpected surprise came to me when Papa Martin und Mama Dani said to me, “Lindsey, instead of you taking the bus to the train station, and the train to another bus to get to school, you take one of our cars!” Yes, I have a car to drive back and forth to school for the next three months, which not only saves me money, but also at least 2 hours of commuting a day! Simply, WOW.

I am moved by the true love in this family. I am transformed by how they include me so naturally as one of their own. It is something special to eat breakfast, lunch (on the weekends) and dinner together every day, and for Papa Martin to lead off in a time where we all pray, give thanks and acknowledge our Lord before we embark upon each day. Family is so uniquely different in Germany. As I continue to spend a lot of time with the Link Family, I experience the gentle touch, endless love and holistic healing of Abba Father through them.

Yesterday, I received an email from the police station in a different city, “Dear Ms. Brunsman, Your wallet and passport were found in the “Ranitzky” restaurant in Tübingen. Now it is at the police station…” WHAT?! My heart stopped – I had no idea that it had fallen out of my purse, and I have absolutely no idea how that could have happened, but it’s a true miracle that it was safely found and given to the police with nothing missing from it. Colossal provision and protection from the Lord.

Today was my first day of German class at the Sprache Institute in Tübingen. It went very well, although it was also very difficult. I really like my teacher. I definitely have my work cut out for me the next few months… and actually this will be my next to last English communication for a while (I have another post almost complete) because many people have advised me to have very limited English communication while I am learning German. Today my German teacher told me absolutely no English. Going back and forth between the two is a huge set-back and prevents me from being able to excel in learning, thinking, listening, writing, reading and speaking German. So I told her that I would send a long English message to all of my friends and family today, then follow her advice. I will STILL be in touch with all of you, aber auf Deutsch, and you can translate with Google, ja? And please, it fills my heart with a sense of home and encouragement to hear from all of you – so be free to get in touch with me (in English).

Here are some photos of where I am now living, of my time here so far, the city where I’m going to school and a photo from my last trip with the Link Family.

I mean this with every bit of my heart when I say that I miss each of you greatly. Your absence from what was my normal-daily-American-living life is deeply felt. It’s definitely a vast challenge stepping into a new country, culture, language, but everything is more than okay. Ich nehme jeden Tag nach dem anderen mit meinem Gott. Er ist genug.

I send much love, hugs and smiles to you all. Sei gesegnet.

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I have been profoundly blessed with a home that I call my place of peace and refuge for the last three years and two months. This particular spot will forever be etched into my heart and my story… countless hours of sitting before the Lord: undergoing radical surgical procedures of my heart, soul and spirit, releasing buckets of tears, fighting to let go, observing and smiling in awe at the beauty, movements and sounds of nature, receiving endless healing, hope and empowerment, engaging in hours upon hours of prayer and basking in the embracing warmth of His glory. I have been so romanced and amazed even on the most overcast of days by the sun, who always found a way to peek through the clouds and shine in on those moments, even if only for a few seconds.

In exactly 14 days, I will continue forward in my journey, letting go and flying free out of this nest of a home, with many tears of joy intertwined with tears of grief that come with change. I am reminded that for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. (‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3‬:‭1‬-8)

My heart is full of endless gratitude for these 1,171 days of goodness and blessing. May it be doubly so for the next young gal who is coming in right behind me.

“Steh Auf!” – 14.Sept.2014

A demonstration led by Angela Merkel against Anti-Semitism took place a couple of days ago at the Brandenburger Tor in Berlin. There were about 8,000 protestors gathered to show their support and listen to what Mrs. Merkel had to say. However not everyone was there to support the cause. There were some distinct “firecrackers” who had their own motivations of using the Anti-Semitism stage to stir things up by protesting, “Free Palestine” and “No war”. As you can imagine, this caused some very strong conversations. The expression, “Schämt euch!” – Shame on you!, could be heard loudly encircling them.

One particular young Jewish man was very bold in confronting these protestors, exclaiming that it was the wrong stage for flaunting their political/war frustrations, when this was clearly an event to show support against the racist acts towards the Jewish population. It was interesting to observe the change in body language and facial expressions of the pro-Palestinian protestors the more this Jewish man made his point that this wasn’t the time or place for them to raise their voice. He and another opposing man even exchanged phone numbers in order to meet for a beer and talk further about the topic.

Although there were some people who tried to start some commotion, everything remained peaceful.

Another year quickly gone by… today my dear brother, Chandler, would have been 21 years old! Today was perfect, beautiful and truly the BEST day ever!

I am so tickled to have spent this day with two of my favorite people, my second parents – Mark and Dianne. We adventured to one of the most gorgeous land-locked bodies of water I’ve ever seen – Crater Lake National Park. We hiked to the top of one of the points for an incredible view and couldn’t take in enough of the beauty while being mesmerized by the refreshing tones of blue. If only we could have dived off into the water… perhaps next time.

Amazing dinner at one of my favorite spots, topped off with sweet beats, fire pits, friends and a toast in honor of Chandler’s 21st. This day couldn’t have been any better.

Brother, you are SO ALIVE in my heart! I cherish and am honored to carry your legacy with me every single day… infinitely thankful to our Heavenly Father for you and your life and that I was part of it, and that you are a part of mine forever and always…

I raise my glass to you. Love and miss you TOO much! xoxo

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What a day of reflecting on the past few weeks… the waves of realllllly missing my new friends, the land and people of Cambodia (& Thailand) and my time there have fiercely crashed ashore in my heart.

A dear friend shared a warming thought with me, ‘Just think, loneliness is a symptom of loss. You truly gained something while you were there.’ And that I did; I gained an immeasurable amount that has been a passionate whirlwind stirring within me, and will take some time to articulate into words.

Working intently on my many photos and stories to share with you all hopefully so very soon. Thank you for your patience.

In the mean time, may you all get a kick out of me attempting to become a Khmer tuk tuk driver!

35 hours of airports and airplanes… let’s do this! done & done.

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Thailand & Cambodia

Off I go for Thailand and Cambodia…

I will arrive Bangkok, Thailand on the afternoon of the 9th, and continue on to Phnom Penh, Cambodia on the 12th thru the 23rd.

My purpose in Bangkok is just to explore and experience some of the city, sights and culture.

My purpose in Cambodia is to do photojournalism for a non-profit called Steps of Justice; a justice based organization that partners with local churches, communities, and activists to bring awareness, education and practical steps that help people engage in serving the poor and oppressed of the world. I will be with an international team of about 20 other’s.

My primary focus is to capture photos along subject matter of: human trafficking, poverty, clean water, orphans, education and more. These photos will be used by Steps of Justice for a 30-day prayer and action guide as well as for their marketing purposes.

I would really value prayers for:

safety and protection – of myself, the team I’ll be with and equipment/belongings,
health,
discernment and sharpness,
peace and assurance,
insight and wisdom,
that my hands and eyes would be anointed to see and capture God’s story and His heart…,
and that I would be Spirit filled and led,
that the Lord’s glory, love, truth and healing would triumph and shine through us to every person we encounter.

If you would like to stay updated, I will be posting photos daily on Instagram & FB!

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, 
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.—Is. 61:1-3

Here I am Lord, send me —Is. 6:8