The Journey so far…

Peregrinatio ad oram vitae

(A Pilgrimage to the edge of life)

chaghcharan with my UK flag


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Born in North Carolina in 1968

Raised mostly in Kentucky. Although I lived in Germany, Tennessee, Georgia and Indiana for brief stints as a child and teenager as well. Actually, my parents moved to Tennessee after I had joined the Military. So therein lay my claim to Tennessee. I wouldn’t bother if I weren’t such a huge fan of Andrew Jackson.

I’m a huge history buff. I live to travel to exotic locales. Love photography. Landscape mostly. But people as well. I’m into politics as well. But mostly interested in foreign affairs. The Affairs of State.

I grew up a Pentecostal. I’ve been baptized Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal, Evangelical and Mormon. I’ve had hands laid on by almost every major evangelical preacher of the modern era. Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, Oral Roberts, Katherine Kuman, Jimmy Swaggart. I’ve probably been to see Jim Bakker and Pat Robertson as well. These days, though, I try to follow Buddhism. I don’t do so in near perfect a fashion. But I strive to be better each day.

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I served in the U.S. Army for a little over ten years. A confluence of events led to my exit from military service–an aggravation of an early training injury and the Clinton Era. I met Bill Clinton twice and he seemed like a nice fellow. Even so, I feel that his presidency nearly gutted our military. I could stomach it no longer.

After leaving the military, I attended various schools. Worked various jobs until I was hired in 2003 by Kellogg, Brown and Root to come to Afghanistan. I have been here off and on since. I have travelled to Bagram, Kabul, Qandahar and Herat since coming to Afghanistan. I hope to see more. This is a fascinating country and culture even as it can be a wretched, horrid and petty culture. I am currently working as an Instructor for the Police. It is a pretty cool job.  I talk to interesting folks.  I get out into the city and some of the country side.  More importantly and more of interest to me is that I get to meet the Afghan people.  They are hard scrabble survivors.  I can say that much from my interaction with them.

I have enjoyed my time in Afghanistan.  It has been an adventure.

Last thing.  I’m a huge fan of University of Kentucky Basketball from Basil Hayden and Adolph Rupp–the Baron of the Bluegrass to JOHN CALIPARI and Patrick Patterson…

GO BIG BLUE!!!

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This is my spiritual sister Becca. The only person whom I know who is both brave enough and free enough to travel the world with me.

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This is my Momma. I’ve carried this picture in my wallet since 1990 when I was stationed in Fort Knox. I was on extra duty punishment when this pic was taken. Momma came down to see me and my commander–CPT Iddins–let Momma take me out for a bit. CPT Iddins was a pretty cool cat and my Momma has always loved her wild boy.

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This June, I took two months off and traveled a bit.  I visited Egypt for the first time since 1998.  Becca and I traveled Egypt from Alexandria to Abo Simbel.  I met some great folks down there.  Shaimaa, Hamdi and Nora plus our tour guides down south–Fatima and Abdel.  I also traveled to India.  Ran all around Agra and got to tour the Taj Mahal.  Magnficence.  A tear in the eye of eternity.  Or so it’s called.  I climbed around several forts that were just humongous.  The Red Fort of Agra and that of old Delhi were imposing structures.  I could not imagine being asked to charge those walls in the old days of muskets and black powder.  What magnificent soldiers those must have been.  Such discipline and pride.

I also returned to Cambodia and, of course, Thailand.  Thailand is my original lady in Southeast Asia.  Magnificent Temples and Beautiful ladies.  I toured Angkor again.  This time with two lovely friends who joined me from Phnom Penh.  Amy and Rey.  My good friends from the Riverside Bistro on Sisawath Quay Road.  I had planned on hanging out in Siem Reap for a few days more.  But on a whim, I decided that I had waited long enough to see Laos.  It was time to jump.  I’ll tell more about that adventure later.

It was an excellent trip.  Enjoyed all of the sites.  Loved the ladies and children.  I can’t wait to do it again come December of this year.

I am truly blessed to be able to lead such a life.

# 54 Patrick Patterson

Recently, I was finally able to visit Chaghcharan in Ghor Province.  Shoaib and I gave our Property Management Course to the Ghor PHQ.  COL Barakzay presented me with a very nice carpet at the end of my visit.  I was extremely grateful for the gift.  These people–the Afghans–have been so welcoming to me.  They don’t really take our course all that seriously.  It would cut into their profit and corruption to implement our program.  So we get a lot of small talk.  A lot of talk about change and lip service to our program, but, they will not adopt the new program.  The powers that be know this.  They ignore it.  It’s as if no one cares.  So long as it seems that things are improving and we give them numbers, they are happy with our program.  It all seems a waste of time and money to me.  And again, no one cares.  No one pays attention.

This December I will take my holiday back to Thailand.  Unny and I will visit Vietnam.  We’re going to do the backpacker tour.  Let the road take us where it will.  I am hugely excited about this trip.  We’ll start in Phnom Penh.  Take the boat down river to Chau Doc.  Travel on to Saigon.  We’ll spend a few days there touring the Mekong, Saigon and the Cu Chi Tunnels.  After Saigon, we will journey North to the highlands.  Hue City.  Da Nang.  Pleiku, if possible.  Take to the Perfume River.  Take in Hoi An.  Then it’s Hanoi and Halong Bay.  All the beautiful sights.  The people of Vietnam and the ancient cities of what the French called Indochine.

We’ll celebrate New Years in Bangkok.  Probably with a group of folks from the website Thailand Friends (thailandfriends.com).  5 days later, I’ll fly back to Afghanistan.

I want to make it to June 11 here in Herat or down South in Kabul.  I don’t know, though.  I’m pretty burned out on the Afghan thing.  I feel as if I am no longer making any progress.  We’ll see how it all hashes out in March or April.  The contract is up for re-bid.  There are supposed to be changes.  If the changes are positive, perhaps I’ll stay.  It’s good money here.  There is no life here though.  The military makes sure of that.  What life we could have is closed off to us by all of these silly rules.  The American miilitary is run by puritans and old ladies who want to run the lives of young people in to the ground.  General Order #1 is a joke.  What granny thought this nonsense could possibly make sense.  I have no idea.  It’s ludicrous.  The new active Army units seem intent on doing nothing except squandering time and resources.  They virtually ignore us.  Who knows what will come of all of this.  I suppose we shall see.

I am coming more and more to believe that we should leave Afghanistan to the Afghans.  Let them find their own way.  Why are we wasting valuable treasure here.  To what end?  Are we making a difference anymore.  I don’t see it now.  I did.  Once upon a time, I felt that we were making a positive difference.  I no longer feel this way.  We’re just pouring good money after bad.  I say we pull out.

But I’m not in charge.  “Greater minds” than mine are in control.  Even if they are simply draining the national coffers.  Perhaps that is the only end.  The Military Industrial Complex in charge and taking advantage of the fears of the globe.  I don’t know.

17 February 2010

I’ve got 11 days left in Afghanistan.  About 5 in Herat and 6 in Kabul.  It’s been a rewarding 30 Months up here near the top of the world.  I’ve met hundreds of great folks.  A couple of real live taliban.  A few Iranians.  Hundreds of Heratis and other folks from all over Afghanistan.  And then there are the great group of guys I’ve worked with at MPRI and those military folks from all over the States and the coalition countries.  It’s been interesting.  Sometimes exciting and sometimes boring.

I’m about to move on to a new path.

Heading home for a month to see family.  I’ll catch the SEC Tournament and, hopefully, see my CATS dominate in Nashville.  First though, I’ll be hitting Senior Night at Rupp Arena with the CATS playing the Florida Gators.  This will be the first live game I’ll have seen since 2006 (I think).  I plan on spending some good time with my Momma and Grandma.  Ginger will be in town at the end of March.  I’ll get to visit with her and Rob and the kids.

I’m planning on taking a trip out to Washington DC to see the Smithsonian.  I haven’t been up that way in a decade.  Looking forward to that.  Maybe I’ll head up to Gettysburg as well.

Of course, I’m looking forward to hanging out with the best two friends a boy could ever have ~ Rick and Becca.  We’re heading down to Lextown for a weekend.  My nieces will join in on the party.  Should be a truly fun time for us.  Bonus ~ I’ll see a bunch of fellow Wildcat fans and friends down there.

Gonna wrap it all up with a big ol’ party at the Fox and Hound.  Hoping to see friends from the whole of my life there as well as family that I’ve not seen in a while.  Some, it’s been years since I’ve seen them.

So much has changed.  My life is heading in a different direction than I’d have thought back in 2003 when I first ventured this way.  Back then, I was rudderless. Dating a crazy girl who had a young boy and working a dead end job.  No real plan.

Now…I’m moving to Bangkok.  Planning a life with my GF Unny.  She and I are getting a little pup together.  Our little Pug Malalai (Named after the only real Afghan hero.  Malalai Joya).  I’m planning to ask Unny to marry me in the coming year.  Another plan is to write about my travels.  I feel lucky to have lived a pretty unique life.  Unique for Americans at any rate.  It seems that most Americans know very little about the world outside our borders.  Many don’t seem to care.  They’re comfortable and that’s about all that matters.

I take a different view on geo-politics.  I can’t help but do so.  I’ve seen the chaos wrought by our interventionism.  I’ve also seen the good that America is capable of effecting in the world.  I’d much rather our nation be the author of great good in the world.  As opposed to great chaos and destruction.

Perhaps, I can be a part of effecting some change.  Perhaps not.

I’ll move to Bangkok for at least a year.  If I can become financially independent, I’d love to move to the South of Thailand.  Down on the islands.  Have a son and a daughter with Unny.  Raise them well.  Live out my life in happiness and relative comfort.  Nothing fancy.  Get me a big Dish to being in the joy of watching the Big Blue.  Open a small cafe.  Not for income but for the potential adventure and interesting company it might bring my way.

We’ll see.  Life has been nothing if not surprising for me.  The paths that I’ll take in the future are known only by the Gods.  Hopefully, they’ll keep me in their company and in their favor.

Khoda hafiz.

Until we meet…

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65 comments on “The Journey so far…

  1. Dude, This is a jamming site bro keep up the good work, I will check to see what your other adventures are here, for your seeing different things that I am here. I am Ray in Mezar-e-Sharif, doing the same thing as Dave is now. He is a wild cat and bro just know this I will always have your back. We have had a lot of good times and even thought there would be an outbreak in the Landmark Hotel over a pic, remember that one Dave? Well man you are truely a great friend and I hope that we can get together in the future to tear up some more of the adventurous world out there. Bro you have more adventures and I hope you find the time to tell them all, hell already have enough for a book. Bro you take care and keep your head down over there. I will talk to you later. Oh yeah and I wrote Fayaz already…….Ray

  2. David, you rock and I hardly know how. Thanks for the bio. Interesting? Not bopring? I’d say! That is the man Rick befriended and you could have no better friend thatn WildcatRick.

    Curlycat liked you a lot and she knows a little bit about charcacter.

    SamKat

  3. I’m glad to find your blog.

    I lead the Minciu Sodas laboratory http://www.ms.lt for serving and organizing independent thinkers around the world. I live in Lithuania. I’m writing a proposal to Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry to organize a “sneakernet” to link Ghor province with Kabul http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?Afghanistan We are already starting one in Kenya http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?Sneakernet We did our most amazing work in Kenya in 2008, http://www.pyramidofpeace.net when we organized 100 peacemakers on-the-ground to avert genocide.

    I appreciate your help to find teachers, doctors, engineers, clerics, aid workers and others who might like to participate if they had the chance, especially in Ghor province, but also in Kabul and elsewhere. I also invite you to join us at our working group “Fighting peacefully” http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fightingpeacefully/

  4. I just checked out some of you archives…you are one obsessed UK fan…love to see the Big Blue Nations represented no matter where it is. Gonna be a great ride this year, buckle up your seat belt! Love your pictures and what you have to say in your other blogs. Very interesting, stay safe and take care! Go Big Blue from Ms. Wildcat in Lexington West…also known as Louisville, Ky

  5. Dave,
    I sent Larry Vaught an email about you. He would like for you to contact him. He found this all very interesting. I’m a daily viewer of his site. Send him an email on how to contact you other than this site. He has a tab on his site to send him an email.
    GO BIG BLUE.
    Linda

  6. Glad you sent the email And no, I am not Uncle Carl’s wife. I am just and big blue fan. If you have another email address…send it to me and I’ll respond.I’m sure you have my address. I was going to respond to the alert but not sure you would get the response. I am probably old enough to be your mother!

  7. I got here from a link on one of the UK sites I visit. I don’t remember which one. They were commenting on ‘that’ other journalist, the one from LHL who bashed the Pattersons. I can’t say his name, it makes me want to explode. They had the link posted from your blog about that ‘other’ journalist. For someone who is so far away, you sure keep up with things. The internet is a marvelous thing sometimes. I went back and read some of your archives, mostly the ones on UK. Meeks was the MAN! I would have liked for him to have returned for this year, but he made the best choice for himself. I assume you saw Rajon signed a $55 mil 5 year contract with the Celtics. I wonder if that makes him richer than Papa John now? LOL Keep blogging.
    Keep smiling and stay safe.
    Linda

  8. I’m always curious as to how people find this place. I get linked here and there for some of my crazier posts. I’m surprised sometimes at the places that links pop up. Sometimes in China and Vietnam or Italy and Spain. It’s pretty cool to see my writing translated into other languages.

    Yeah, Old Jerry makes me wanna go off every now and again. I don’t get his deal. Everything has a negative spin. I’d much rather have more of a homer writing with a more positive slant in Lexington.

    I saw the Rondo thing. And then he went at Chris Paul. Kinda makes ya wonder.

    I’ve got a few friends back in Lexington who make sure that I’m up to date on everything.

    You should have seen me back in the 90s. I was in Egypt for the 98 Championship. Watched every game that year early in the AM and had to get up and go to work the next morning. Loved it.

    Take care…Dave

  9. The internet is amazing, you learn things and ‘meet’ people you never would have met. During W2K, when you could still d/l music legally, I was talking to ‘friends’ when it was midnight in their country. To me it is amazing how many people in other countries speak English and Americans only speak English. I have friends in about 15 countries. I was working at that ‘other’ school in Louisville when we won the ’98 championship. I wore blue and white in some manner every day during the NC2A tourney. It was heaven! Rubbed it in their red and black faces! I’m glad you have people keeping you up to date on UK. Gotta tell you, I saw Maravich play against UK. Could not keep my eyes off of Maravich, the boy was remarkable, poetry in motion. Just read a biography about him. Very good read, really gave you some insight as to why he didn’t do as well in the pro’s as you have thought he would.
    Linda

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  11. Hi, I’m interested to have a chat – do you have an email I can contact you on directly please? I wondered if you’d be interested in meeting for a chat about Afghanistan, next time you’re down in Thailand? Been there a couple of times and working on a project that might need your help!

    Dan, Bangkok.

  12. I would love to visit you, meet Unny, and discuss the world as we know it, when you get that cafe. I’m glad to know you Dave. Kindred spirits are rare and worth the trouble of finding. Take care my friend.

  13. your bio was a good read.
    It was great getting the chance to work with you.
    maybe we will get the chance again one day

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  19. This post was dull. Everyday living proceeds. Appears to be fairly energetic right here

    This post was a spam that cracked me up. So I decided to approve it so others could laugh as well…Dave

  20. I get your drift on where you were going there. I often think of my past and use it as a means to analyze where I am and where I want to get to. Where I struggel is balancing it all out. How do you guys balance things out?

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  35. Sgt Kaeiln…served with you in CinC Guard back in the 1990’s. I helped run the Arms Room. A random image search brought me to a picture on your site. Been along time.

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