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Hill 'n Holler Review Columns

The Real Human Beings

Around the World Trip 2009 278When I crossed the border from Botswana into Zimbabwe in 2009 I had travelled to 50 countries.  The entire 30-year odyssey is chronicled in my book The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries.  I feel fortunate to have been able to see so much of this beautiful planet, but I guess I sorta’ planned it that way.

Ever since that first trip to Europe as trombone player in my high school jazz band, I was bound and determined that I would always have a cash reserve to pay for that next plane ticket and that I would never let a job get it the way of traveling. As such, any kind of “career” was out of the question. The act of travel was just too important.

Most people take vacations; a week in Cancun at some all-inclusive fenced in zoo, a few days at Disney World, a bus tour to Branson. Travel is different. Travel is no vacation.  The root word of travel is the Latin “travail”, which means, “to suffer; to endure”.  That 58-hour third-class train from Bombay to the southern tip of India qualified, as did that 46-hour hard seat-class number out of Shanghai.  But with all the hardship comes a deep appreciation of humanity that I feel many Americans have lost in a fog of cynicism.

That Filipino farmer, who opened his door to strangers at 10:00 PM, then butchered one of his three hogs the next day in our honor. That Nicaraguan campesino, who butchered his only cow to feed a bus load of strangers. That Indonesian hotel owner who whipped up an herbal concoction that his father passed down, that instantly chased the bug from our ailing bellies.  That New Zealand Green Party MP, who left us to watch her home for three days after meeting us just 12 hours before she left.

There is something in travel that brings out the best of humanity, something in nomadic living that brings us closer to the Creator.  When we settle into one place for too long it seems that petty bickering takes precedent over bigger battles and a mindset of “our bio-region is better than yours, our place is the most special” predominates all discussions”, and fear-based cliques decide and cement the status quo even as they claim to be the “alternative community”.

There is something innately corrupting about sedentary living.  At it’s most basic level, maybe it comes down to the notion of having to constantly guard all your stuff from the interloper, policing your all-important property against intruders, becoming a full-time paranoid in what is as we all know, a very dangerous world out there.

The paradox is that when I am traveling in a foreign land I often feel safer and more welcome than when I am home.  Travel has schooled me to have empathy for the poor, especially the black and brown poor because their version of poor is something that 99% of white folks will never understand.  Travel has taught me to live simply with few possessions- like most of the world lives. And it has instructed me in the area of self-sufficiency: how to build a simple building with no power tools, how to grow food in average soil, how to save your own seeds, how to do laundry in a river, how to cook over fire, rain or shine.  In short, travel has taught me how to live.

More importantly, travel strengthens my faith in humanity.  There have been times in my life when I have felt it necessary to get out of the USA because of the negative energy and cynicism which seems to have come to define the thinking of folks across the political spectrum.  I have no answer as to what produces this cynicism. Is it a white middle-class disease of affluence?  Is it a powerlessness that derives from life in the belly of the military/industrial beast?  Is it 40 years of right-wing talk radio telling us to be suspicious of the motives of the individual while resigning ourselves to the “inevitable” corporate takeover of our government?  I don’t know the answer.

I hope that you will all keep the faith.  No more bad dreams.

Dean Henderson is the author of five books: Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries, Das Kartell der Federal Reserve, Stickin’ it to the Matrix & The Federal Reserve Cartel.  You can subscribe free to his weekly Left Hook column @

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21 thoughts on “The Real Human Beings

  1. i enjoy reading of your travels and awakenings. I hope to travel as widely and awaken as widely myself.

    Posted by mike elmoor | December 2, 2012, 11:22 am
  2. Dean, As a nomad child living where my father worked and them moving when the construction was complete with this repeating til college and then it was visiting family on brakes from school where ever his work took him, can tell you that from my travels here in the U.S., you don’t need to go abroad to find friendly, good people who would lend a helping hand to a stranger and treat you as an honored guest. Have know stay at home people that didn’t move much or at all in some cases from their neighborhood and still were world travelers past the small part of earth that they called home.

    Posted by Douglas Baker | December 2, 2012, 11:47 am
  3. Best of luck to you Dean. I’m an 80 year old retired Floridian and a former traveler to 66 countries. I know exactly how you feel. Traveling and living well is the best revenge for a lot of things and I wouldn’t trade one minute of it for all the money in the world. Like you, I am a lifelong confirmed leftist. I see the U.S. as totally insane and if not for raising 6 kids here I would have left here long, long ago. Best of luck!!!! – Richard AKA Lefty

    Posted by Richard, ( AKA Lefty ) | December 2, 2012, 12:01 pm
  4. Thank you for sharing those beautiful thoughts.
    Why do Americans live this way? Because they have been controlled through fear and artificial separation. :(
    Very sad that government would do such a thing to their own people.
    American spirit this is what is truly amazing! To be able to witness how people would just stand in unity against injustice – just because it is a right thing to do. You do have a lot to be proud of too.

    Posted by marinaalbin | December 2, 2012, 5:40 pm
  5. You are a warrior sir,,,
    A brave good soul,,,,,,

    Posted by Neil | December 3, 2012, 2:42 am
  6. Brother….When people in the future ask me ‘what do you do for a living?’ , I want to be able to answer ‘living’.
    And that is what getting back to the land is all about for me, doing as much as I can to create the way I live, and that is
    the career path I will choose, nine to five living. Living for me, not the ‘man’, and travel and the lessons of the road have been very helpful in reaching this ideal.

    Posted by Khalid Taha | December 7, 2012, 3:50 pm
  7. Jews are the enemy of humans. Jews did 911 and Fukushima and all world wars.
    You censor this and YOU are the enemy as well.

    Posted by World Changer | December 5, 2013, 10:23 am
    • Maybe so, but given the utterly irrelevant nature of the comment here and now, your comment should be removed, (censored if you wish) on the grounds of being off topic. If you think someone removing this comment on this venue at this time makes them “the enemy” then you’re a f@ckwit who would probably be more danger to your ‘friends’ anyway if they were to find themselves in your foxhole. Also this sort of off topic and in your face anti-Semitic screeching is often one of the Chosenites anyway, making a dick of itself on purpose. In other words, you end up looking like a Jew since everyone knows they often stage such things to justify their own hysteria.

      Posted by rabbitnexus | December 6, 2013, 7:51 am
      • No worries Dean. I’ve been doing this too long and have to be in the right mood to bother myself with every cretinous comment one comes across. There isn’t that much satisfaction in shooting fish in a barrel anyway but sometimes the drivel is typical in its way and it occurs to me it might at least serve as an example for the other well meaning but either over enthusiastic or misguided souls who might otherwise be inclined to see an endorsement of the voices they’re hearing in their heads in such satisfyingly simple slogans and declarations.

        Posted by rabbitnexus | December 8, 2013, 7:14 am
      • Oftentimes, it is good to find a short blurb of truth in an otherwise boring, alien forum, don’t you think? But then, there is usually a “bit dog” around to take offense due to its having friends in the “fight.” N’est-ce pas? You are perfectly correct about the perfidious nature of the Jew.

        Posted by Lasher | February 13, 2014, 6:20 pm
  8. Began reading a few of your articles last month, and liked your insights. Now I see where they were from — the world. And why drawn to writing — a fellow traveler.
    (2nd biggest employer in World is the India Railroad system.)

    Posted by m. neubert | December 5, 2013, 10:50 am
  9. Dean,

    Mate, travel, indeed is as you defined it: travail. And if you don’t mind, I’ll add: the best education in the world! I’ve done a fare share of ‘travailing’ myself. Check out my book: ‘A Visitor Calls’. You’ll find it on

    Good on you. And go well.


    Posted by chadrennie | December 5, 2013, 11:34 am
  10. Hey Dean, why do you think black poverty is worse than white poverty? Poverty is poverty, man. Why do you accept white guilt to such an absurd extent. And I thought it was 40 years of “progressive” propaganda that tells us to be suspicious of individual liberty in favor of Big Brother, not “right wing” radio, yeah?

    Posted by Joanna | December 5, 2013, 12:24 pm
  11. Ok, mr. Hate. You need to calm down and do your a man of Arabic heritage, I have suffered more injustice than you can possibly imagine. However, that said, I refuse to hate an entire group of people. For you to condemn Jews like this, shows your ignorance. I can’t stand being put in this position of having to defend Jews, after what has happened to my people, my family, myself, and many others by a criminal cabal that seeks to scapegoat Jews. The horrors committed on a daily basis, by the Zionist regime running the world, are too numerous and horrific to quote here.with that said, my best friend growing up, was a Jew. I loved that boy, and his family, and they defended me, and took me to the hospital many times after the beatings my father gave me. Many many Jews have shown me love and compassion throughout my life, and I am extremely grateful to them. Yes , there are people that are Jewish that do horrible things. There are people of every ethnic and religious makeup that do horrible things. Hold them responsible for their actions, not an entire group of people. Just as I am sick of the hatred I receive as an American with an Arabic name. I get threats , intimidation, and racist treatment all the time. Should I hate all Americans too? No. I grieve over the injustice I, and my children receive on a daily basis, and I hold the individuals responsible for this in contempt, not an entire group of people. I strongly suggest you read the works of Albert pike. He laid out this plan of turning muslims, Christians, and Jews against each other, and it seems to be working quite well. Quit falling for this nonsense. Jews are not the cause of your frustration and anger, people doing evil things are. Hold them responsible. Thank you dean for your columns, and opening your site to comments. This needed to be said. Zen shaman

    Posted by zenshaman1 | December 5, 2013, 9:47 pm
    • Right on point! It is amazing how after meeting and talking with people who are different than yourself dispels previously held self opinions of other groups of people. I believe that it will only get worse though because interaction today consists of social media and technology as opposed to face to face communication of the past. I have been fortunate to meet and talk to people of all races and economic status and have rarely encountered the stereotypes associated with each in the process. As you said evil people come from all backgrounds. Hate is an emotion that mostly hurts the one who holds it. Love your fellow humans and let the hate die from your souls. It is the only way.

      Posted by Danimel88 | December 6, 2013, 2:07 pm
      • You know the social media is enabling a lot of people to make direct connections to the “other” culture in increasing numbers. My wife and I met through Facebook, she a Pakistani Muslim girl and me an Aussie baby boomer still rolling along ‘on the road to find out’. We meet more and more people these days who like ourselves found each other across once vast chasms of cultural separation, via the almost miraculous nature of the internet. Such meetings and intercultural unions were far less common once and would have entailed rare and random meetings, much longer time periods and much more complex from getting to know each other to arranging the future even down to in our case a fairly complicated elopement which was decided and acted upon successfully with reliance on the net up till the last minute, within a year of first meeting.

        It’s happening on a personal and individual level but those of us making the leap are having a profound effect on our countrymen and peers. I am in contact with dozens of new people every week through my business and who in most cases end up learning I am a Muslim {funny how it usually manages to come up, :) } which in a few minutes leaves many of them knocked completely adrift from their pre conceptions. Loosening the preconceived falsehoods is the first step in educating them. They leave with a more open mind at least, in most cases. Given a fair chance we could probably get it together as a race.

        Posted by rabbitnexus | December 8, 2013, 7:31 am
    • Sayanim?

      Posted by Lasher | February 13, 2014, 6:25 pm
  12. Travel for most of us is liberating. Anyone who goes for more than a two week vacation finds themselves in a whole new state of mind. Without familiar things the soul may be liberated in self discovery. But yes it is work and uncomfortable beyond jet lag. Changes of latitude, changes in attitude, trail magic, wanderlust, the hero’s journey, pilgrimage, footloose, going out of bounds, are the positive part of travelling light. But of course there are negatives. For some travel is merely dispersing a nation within a nation, and they congregate tribally in places like Kasol, India, where their own kind hang out. So there are more than one sort of traveller, the liberated and those who always seek the familiar, which seems self defeating and lame.
    Don’t be an ugly Amerkan is a good idea to remember when the third world doesn’t act like we want abroad, we get hassled, or things fall apart. I would be ashamed if my presence caused a third world person to feel obligated to host me to the point he slaughtered his stock. I’ve met lots of young nitwits who cruise around on the generosity of others and think of themselves as highly successful travellers having wangled charity everywhere.
    As far as who controls the world, Dean has written about the Rothschilds so many times however I do not see a frank discussion of the meaning of the red shield or astarte symbol outside their counting house. I believe that since this hex symbol is chosen by the entity which recently declared itself the nation of the jewish people, we can safely conclude the Rothschilds thought of themselves as the kings of the jewish people and their monetary authority as that of the jewish people whose sign they carried before them. So it seems perfectly reasonable to bring up the issues of jewish identity politics as Gilad Atzmon and others do without fear of phony slander as being anti semitic. In that context I would recommend everyone read the classic by Douglas Reed, “The Controversy of Zion” available free in PDF to understand what codified and defined judaism at the beginning over two millenia ago. Only by understanding the core identity of judaism can people understand its final act, zionism.

    This too shall pass. The question is how many of us make it past Deuteronomy.

    Posted by robert preston | December 8, 2013, 12:54 am
  13. Main stream media portrays images according to their own self serve, wacky criteria, which is usually attached to $$$ & a propagandist motivation.
    We have American TV & movies in Australia, so you would think that Australians would have grasped an image of the real American persona & a long time ago. Not so. Before the internet allowed us to reach each other & have a real look at who the other was, mainstream media news & current affairs had given, if no one else, me an image of a redneck, uncaring, materialistic, ignorant & without conscience people in/as the American.
    Divide & conquer :-
    Now I know that, while you are different to us in many ways & not everyone is a good guy & hey – we have the bad guy element here also – Americans are certainly not backward & primitive as the main stream media caused me to believe. In fact inspirational is a good way to describe you.
    And that is why we the people of this planet are kept apart, so as to not share ideas & inspire each other, for it defeats the purpose of those who strive to conquer humanity.
    United we stand
    Divided we fall
    Because we are good for each other.
    Stay cool all

    Posted by R Davis | December 9, 2013, 7:02 am
  14. Perhaps this cynicism is a desired result of manipulative propaganda.
    It sounded to me as if you knew the answers in the questions you posed.
    Great column, I enjoyed the read, thank you!

    Posted by Mary Okorn-Jimenez | December 13, 2013, 9:53 am

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