Not Another New Years Resolution: just Mojo being crazy again.

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As I told you previously, I was a perpetual traveler evading forced military conscription in Eritrea. That was my life for the past three years but the situation has been resolved recently. I have a work visa in Saudi Arabia now and I could go back there to take a job that pays well.. but I find a big discontent in doing that because I will have to compromise both my freedom and values.

I’ve been in the Philippines for a little over a month now. I was supposed to fly back to saudi Arabia in late November but the discontent was driving me crazy and I just couldn’t sleep. I went ahead and canceled the flight. I decided to stay in Manila for three months to figure things out.

This blog had started originally as a support for my efforts to make a music album, something I had wanted to do for years now. Now, I finally released my first music project, Land of Broken Dreams, last year. Other than that, I had been wanting to combine my love for travel and music together.. and my concept used to confuse my friends.. (what does traveling the world have to do with you wanting to record an album, or resolving your statelessness?). My college friends assumed it’s best for me to find a way to return to the US and settle there but that’s not what I want anymore. Also, I think my blog visitors found novelty in my story but either couldn’t completely grasp what I was trying to do or how they could be part of it.

And then it hit me..

Why not make a quest to perform music in every country in Asia? I already have it on my life list to visit every country in Asia in the next 5 years.. so why not make a challenge out of it?

I know this is crazy.. but I’m going on a personal quest is to perform my music in every country in Asia before 2020. That’s about 50 countries in 5 years. I will travel to new places, connect with local musicians, practice my songs, and learn local songs, convince venues to let us play, then promote the event and perform in front of 100 people at least (I was a pretty damn good concert promoter in college), meet everyone after the show, and then repeat in the next city or next country. I will have my brother, who’s a film maker, film the journey as a YouTube documentary series.

I will go on this journey to expand my awareness of the world, learn from different musical cultures, and connect with people through music. I think my journey would be interesting because it will help people learn about different cultures and people, enjoy music, beautiful scenery and random travel moments , and feel inspired to go out and see the world or dare to do something different.

I think in this way, I can give people something clear/tangible with a structure, while still being able to travel to the places I want and pursue my passion for music. If anything is still confusing, please, I would love to hear your feedback.

To be honest, I feel intimidated when I look at the work load I have to do: quest planning, songwriting, working on my 2nd album, marketing my first album, building a YouTube channel, and building a blog. I also have to figure out a way to make money to travel with. But I know I got this!

Stay tuned for news on how things develop.. and a pilot episode, in the first country, the Philippines (hopefully sometime by April this year).

First of many blog posts

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I write this while laying down on a thin foldable mattress I can feel the floor through which I got used to. Sleep creeps into my eyes and John Legend blasts through the speakers (‘so high’ is such a good song). I’m in the Philippines. This writing is terrible, I’m aware, but I’m on my iPhone and I’m sleepy.. so.. yeah. I decided a few days ago that I’m going to figure things out in the next 100 days. I’ve been reading Chris Guillebeau again.. almost done with his new book, ‘the happiness of pursuit’. I don’t have a clear plan but I have a rough idea of what I need to figure out. Items on the list: – write a thoughtful plan to become financially independent by my 30th birthday. – film 3 music videos – get my music album heard more (make a 1000 fans) – write 10 songs for different Arabic pop artists – blog daily – vlog dai.. errrr not sure how often – explain/understand what happened to my ‘travel the world’ project.. – live frugally (I have about a 1000 bucks to last me this whole time). – do push-ups everyday, I did 10 today. – go to the gym three times a week – find a way to eat healthy on this island.. it’s really hard to eat low carb for cheap here. Rice is king here. Ok good night.

Drum Roll Please: Album: Land of Broken Dreams by Mojo

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Ok, I’m an asshole for not posting this earlier. I apologize. I mean I released it like ten days ago.. you guys should’ve been the first to hear it but I’ve been bad about blogging.

Here it goes, finally, after 10 years of trial and error, here’s my start:

If you like what you’re hearing, you can download it on bandcamp: mojoiam.bandcamp.com

If you’re feeling extra supportive please go like my tracks on soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/mojoiam/sets/land-of-broken-dreams

I worked really hard on this music for over 10 months. It’s very personal to me and my journey. I’ll write soon about the stories inspiring the music. Please share these links with your friends. It’s the only way to find out if people like it or not. Thank you for all your support!

*Coughs* this got quite dusty..

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I’m actually coughing right now.. getting over this bronchitis hopefully soon. It’s been a while since I wrote here. I’ve been very busy and life’s been quite interesting. I’m in the UK right now. I just got back from a month long trip around Turkey and Georgia. Did some filming with my brother. My album is almost done. I’m excited. I’m also sick of eating Kit-Kat and McDonald’s for Iftar. I miss having a meal with my family. Happy Ramadan everyone. That cat photo is from Ayasofia, Istanbul. Obama met the cat, they say. 

 

p.s. Kit Kat orange is terrible, don’t try it. I had one with hazelnut in Georgia and it was swell. Hopefully I’ll try the green tea flavour sometime. 

p.s.s my laptop fell while traveling and I had to format it at the apple store. That’s why it’s spelling things with the weird British ‘u’ in the middle of words like ‘flavour’ above.. I’ll try to turn that off. 

I failed.

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500 day ago I announced to the world via facebook that I’m going to finally get it together and release a music album on the day I turn 10,000 days old. That’s yesterday. I did not release any album.

The good news is though: THERE IS AN ALBUM!

Yes, I know. I can’t believe it myself.

Things in my life kept getting complicated so much that somewhere in the past year I said to myself “yeah.. it’s not looking like you’ll get the opportunity to work on an album by February. Let’s just adjust this goal shall we.. We’ll say that by February 5th you’ll embark on a travel journey and make a YouTube show. That’s better aim.”

Well, I don’t know how it happened.. but I ended up in Yemen. I’ve been here for about two months and a half now. I never wrote about it because I was scared. Not mentioning that you’re in Yemen is actually the smart thing to do but oh well. This place is sort of the new home of Al Qaeda. There was a bombing down the street two days ago.. no big deal.

Anyways, I found this recording studio here. The place is like a hole in the wall. It’s pretty humble. It’s also pretty cheap. We made a deal to record an album sometime early December. They knew about my February 5th deadline and they promised to finish on time. The culture here is just really ‘different’ though. Almost everyone here walks around high as a kite. They don’t smoke weed. They chew some leaves called “Qat”. Qat throws scheduling and deadlines out the window. It runs through their blood. It’s been a frustrating two months for me, very frustrating.

After three weeks of delays and never hearing back from the studio’s music producer, I decided to take care of things myself and went out of pocket to hire music producers online. I love this website called elance. It rules. You can find every kind of service on there for good prices. So yeah, I’m paying double for music production. I paid the Yemenis and now I’m recruiting online. It’s part of the experience I guess.

It’s been good so far. The album songs are decided and written. I just gotta wait on producers to give me the tracks and go record them in the studio. After that it would be two weeks of mixing and mastering (hopefully, unless the Yemeni habits kick in). So I guess hopefully by the end of February, maybe? All I know is my parents are fed up with waiting and they want me back in Saudi Arabia as soon as possible. Like I said, you never know what blows up next around here.

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I thought I’d post an update for the three people who actually read this blog. Thank you for sticking with me. You can take a look at the album artwork up top. It’s me in a cartoon form standing before a flag that I’ll explain later.

If you happen to be or know someone who’s good at analyzing rhythms, time signatures, and/or chord progressions please talk to me. I need help with asong or two. If you speak German that would be a plus since this producer doesn’t understand half of what I tell him.

It’s 8 am here. I’m going for breakfast. Later.

Yay! Updates!

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So I have obviously neglected this blog. I have good reasons and I will let you in on everything once it’s safe to do so. I’ll show you some really cool videos too.

A lot has been happening in my life in the past month.. a lot of exciting things! I am so close to accomplishing something I’ve worked towards for ten years now and it’s a scary feeling. I fear messing it up. I don’t want to let go. 

I’m really excited to show you what I’ve been working on though. It will be here soon before we know it.

I hope you’ve had a beautiful year even if it had rough patches in it. My best years had the worst patches. This year has been very good to me. Happy holidays to all of you out there! 

#2 On Sleeping Well At Night

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For the past few months, I woke up to thoughts of my father being disappointed at me.

You know that feeling where you did something really bad and managed to sleep only to wake up with the chemical emotions still running through your body? Yeah.

However, 9 days ago I mustered the courage to email my father. I told him that I want to pursue a career in music and that there is no way I can give that up. Continue reading

#1 Friendship Reduced to Likes and No Comments

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A virtual life can be dangerous.

Ever wondered what it would feel like to have a trip through time where your mind travels and your body stays in the same place?

Well, I’ve had the exact opposite of that experience.

I spent over two years hanging onto a reality that doesn’t exist anymore.

I left the US, yet I continued to book and promote concerts in College Station.

I kept thinking of scenarios and ways I could go back.

I just couldn’t deal with the reality of what had happened, how a 12-hour flight changed my life. Continue reading