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  • Writer's pictureMicah Bochart

The Polymath Project, S3 E10: Tourism 3.0 - Mexico



The time is ripe for rethinking the tourism industry, and for examining the role that movers and shakers can have in guiding that rethink. In this episode of The Polymath Project, host Arman Rousta is joined by Danny Klein–a writer, educator, and entrepreneur–for a discussion of Tourism 3.0 and what the future of world travel might look like.


The video in its entirety can be viewed above, or accessed through the following, unabridged transcript.

ARMAN ROUSTA:

All right. Welcome everybody. Today's June 13th, 2023. Welcome to The Polymath Project. Today starts our first of once a month series on what we're calling Tourism 3.0, reinventing and re-envisioning what tourism can be for this generation and beyond; how we can integrate people the locals living in whatever the destination is into the process; how we can welcome visitors in and give them a real, authentic experience of that city . . . town . . . island . . . wherever it may be. I'm really excited to welcome our first guest to introduce this series and this topic, one of my best friends from childhood, Danny Klein. Danny, what's up buddy?


DANNY KLEIN:

How you doin, Arman? Great to be here.


ARMAN:

Doing great brother. We miss you from New York. We lost Danny from the East Coast to the West. How far back did you move to LA? I forget now.


DANNY:

Moved to LA in 2005, August 15th, 2005. Pivotal. Pivotal moment. Great day. Beautiful moment in my life.


ARMAN:

I remember seeing you.


DANNY:

But I do miss you and all my loved ones.


ARMAN:

Likewise, man, we, we miss you too. But you know, when it's time to take a journey, as we know and talk about frequently, one has to go and see what's waiting for them. I'm so excited about where you're at now, and I want to ask some questions and talk less and let the audience hear from you. So tell us where you are now. I mean, your background's a lot nicer than mine right now. So tell us where you're at.


DANNY:

Well, it's a jungle background. I'm actually at the Bay of Banderas, which is on the south-central, west coast of Mexico, about an hour south of Puerto Vallarta. So I'm at a real beautiful place. It's the base of the jungle, but also where it meets the ocean. And I'm in a small village in the district of Cabo Corrientes, and there are about 250 people in this village. And it's different from Staten Island. And LA!


ARMAN:

Unbelievable, man. Unbelievable. What Mexico? Obviously, there's the California side, and then there's Cancun and all these different towns that people visit from the East Coast. So when did you start going to Mexico, and why did you choose this part of your journey there?


DANNY:

I actually started coming down to Mexico in 2010. I was hired to write a woman's life story. Her name is Elena. She became my best friend and one of my closest, closest friends and mentors. She's lived an amazingly empowering life, and so I've been coming down every summer to see her. I had to kind of have more of a traditional Vallarta vacation, whether it was two weeks or a month. It ended up becoming longer and longer because I loved it so much. And then finally we just started taking trips and I would take these trips with new friends I met: road trips, canoe trips, you name it . . . trips into the mountains, the rivers . . . the beauty of nature here . . . And I came to this very small village, and there are a handful of them. And I felt the magic of it immediately. I felt as though I was in a dream. I felt as though I was in a place that transcended time, and I needed to be here. So that happened, actually, last summer. Although I came here once before, I didn't quite realize it. I was here once before for the day, 10 years ago. So there have been two days that I spent here before I felt that feeling of, like, this is where it's gonna be.


ARMAN:

That's amazing, man. That's amazing. And I really want to come see you there one day. And I know you've extended the invitation, so maybe that'll be part two. Part two of this recording will be when I come down there. So, you're in LA for all these years. And I know your passion and your journey as a writer, as an educator. You've been working for a wonderful organization called Fusion, which we can get into a little bit as well; as a teacher, someone that really works and mentors young people, which is something we share. And I know you've always been involved with youth and trying to help shape them and be there for them. So, what was that decision moment like? Was it more about leaving LA, or more just about the magic of Mexico, or . . . Just what was your rationale? Did this happen during Covid? After Covid? How did that all relate?


DANNY:

There was a confluence of things that happened that really created in me the need for an adventure, the need for a change, the need for something different. I was feeling like I really needed something different. I really needed to test myself. I needed to take a leap of faith. I hadn't done that in a while. I hadn't been in a place in my life where I didn't know what the outcome would be. And I wanted to be in a situation like that. I felt like I wanted to do something where I didn't know what would be. That's exactly what I wanted. I didn't wanna set up a situation where, okay, I'm gonna do this and this and this, and then that will happen.

I wanted a situation. I wanted the kind of adventure, the kind of voyage where I still don't know what's gonna happen. I still don’t know how long I'm gonna be here. I never said, you know, I'll be here for a month. I'll be here for two weeks or two days, or whatever it is. I just sat myself down and plopped down and said, “All right, I'm here. What's up?” But there is a moment, and it’s a sad moment and a tragic moment that got me here. Actually, I had a student at Fusion Academy for about five, six years. And I worked with him very, very closely. We worked one-on-one with our students. And I worked with him after he graduated and he passed away. And it was a tragic circumstance.

And I had told him all about this. And as, as one of his mentors, I had told him, we shared shared dreams, you know? We shared what we wanted to do, you know? These different kinds of journeys that we wanted to have. And so when he passed away, I said to myself, I have to live in a way that I tried to mentor him to live. And so I literally could hear his voice. I could hear his voice saying, Danny, you gotta do this. You know, so that was really it. There were a lot of things happening before that, but that really, that was the pivotal voice. It was my friend Helena, and then there were some other challenging things I went through romantically, you know. There was love and stuff that happens with that. But then there was this loss, this very grievous loss, that got me here.


ARMAN:

And here you are, like you said. Here you are, the man without a plan, or kind of, like . . . It’s a plan where you're just trusting the process, trusting your flow. I mean, from a perspective of kids now, because you're an educator and you've spent a lot of time, and also, some of your screenplays, many of them, relate to children, and I guess what we'd call entertainment, but really just fun stories. Right. What's the mentality of the kids in the town you're in, which, as you said, is . . . what, 250 people? So how many kids does that make it roughly? 50 to a hundred kids in the town?


DANNY:

Oh, no, no, there's more than that. There's probably about a hundred kids. There might be 350 people. Because when I think about the kids . . . I volunteer in the school, and I actually did that today. And I just came from that. There's a lot of purity with the kids there. There's no technology . . . I mean, there's very little technology. There's one big television where everyone watched the World Cup and the soccer tournaments and everyone gathered around to watch a big boxing match. Canelo was fighting, which was cool. But the children have a purity about their lives. They go out and they're in nature. They're surrounded by this beauty. And there's no wall, there's no cubicle. Even in the school itself, they don't spend a lot of time in the building. It's really open. And so they don't spend a lot of time in the building.


So the kids really get to know each other. There's not a lot of moving. And so a family has a home here. It's an Indigenous town. And so a family will have a home and they'll have it for hundreds of years. And so the kids grow up together, the families grow up together. And it's the kind of thing where one end of the town to the other is about a 15 minute walk or a 20 minute walk if you kind of go slow. And that's considered far away. If you live on the other side of the river, you live far away, you know? But the point is, the kids are together. So, you know, like, back in Staten Island, how you guys have that crew and how I'm very lucky also to have the crew that I grew up with. And many of us are still in touch, but it's not common over here.


It's a closeness that one can know only by spending this kind of time of, “I knew this person when they were born, I knew this person when they were six, when they were 26, and now 46,” you know, and now some of them are 96, you know . . . The point is, they don't know each other out of context. I'll say it better! They know each other in a way that's contextualized with every aspect of their life. Because most of the people here don't leave too often for extended periods. So your neighbors, your neighbor–they might move to a different spot on the other side of town. But getting to the kids, the purity of the kids . . . the kids play in a much different way. The kids play in a way where there are no parents two minutes away watching. I've been in New York not too long ago, and I've been around little children, a birthday party, two year olds, and the parents are right there. You know, the parents are two feet away. “Hey, Johnny, you don't do that.” You know? And it's that constant hovering, that constant vibe that I'm being watched. Even with a cell phone, you know? “Let's take a picture now!” It's that constant vibe of having to perform and being in the box and on a screen to be presented. You know what I mean? As opposed to over here, the kids are freer. I walked around with the intent of finding kids who have anxiety. I could not find it even looking for it. I've yet to meet a depressed kid from two to fifteen or seventeen. I have not come across that. And of course, with what I was doing at Fusion, which was a school for kids who suffered through a lot of those emotional challenges, this has been a breath of fresh air. And I'm asking myself, what's different? What is different about this way of life? And how is it that this way of life could somehow uplift the way of life from our home? You know? But yeah, the kids chill. And if you want a couple stories, I could tell you.


ARMAN:

Yeah, I want to get into that. I want to hear it all. And I think for the people that will be listening here, the context is trying to rethink tourism, right? From America, right? In the western media, right? We’ve been hearing for the last 10, 15 years about Mexico as a dangerous place and a place where maybe . . . I mean, of course there's huge tourism operations in cities like Puerto Vallarta and Cancún and Tulum and all that as well. And so, you never know who to trust and listen to. You kind of have to go places and see for yourself. So, yeah. Obviously you have to know your way around and know what you're doing. You can't have random people showing up in a small town. I mean . . . is there tourism there? Would you consider there to be visitors and people that come through to see different sites, or not really in your particular town?


DANNY:

In my particular village, there is little to no tourists. There's a beautiful waterfall. And there are day trippers who come here and they take a two, three hour hike to the waterfall, drink their coconuts, eat their bananas that they picked off the tree.


ARMAN:

And is that off the tree that you're sitting at right now?


DANNY:

Off the tree? That's right down down the path. Different shape than any banana I've ever seen, but yeah, delicious. So no, there's very little tourism. I meet very few westerners. I meet very few people from the United States. I'm the only person living in the village. There are some people, a handful of Westerners, who live in the outskirts, in the hills. But as for tourism in these small towns, the answer is no. And then there are the medium-sized towns outside of Vallarta. One place that comes to mind is called El Tuito, which is like a very old school western ranch town. And you have to be the kind of person that would want to go there. It's like a Quentin Tarantino, straight out of that kind of film. It's like a 1950 . . . like they film many Mexican Western movies there, and there's a lot of hustle and bustle, and it's very serene. I don't think it's dangerous, but you have to be into that to want to go there. So I went there. II liked it. You have to be street smart. And the reality is, you could find trouble in Mexico if you want to find trouble. Do you know what I mean?


ARMAN:

I think you could find trouble anywhere if you want. I could find trouble here in Jersey City too, if I wanted . . . LA . . . I mean, anywhere, right?


DANNY:

Oh, I’ve been infinitely more afraid, infinitely more in danger in LA. It's not even comparable. I'm supposed to take a trip back to LA in the next couple months. I'm scared. Knowing what goes on in Hollywood, I'm not comfortable. I'm so comfortable in this village. When I go, I keep my door open like this. There's no police where I live, in the entirety of the village. So to give you an idea, I have to take a 30 minute speedboat ride to get to any other town, anything where they would have any kind of infrastructure whatsoever. So the way the life in the village is, there's an honor system that's very, very serious because we're all together. When someone walks through on the main path, if that person isn't giving off a friendly vibe, there's gonna be some kind, like . . . If it's really out of the realm of what is culturally expected here or culturally accepted, then there's gonna be some kind of conversation. I've seen that happen. Someone came up on a horse and he was from somewhere else and he was acting kind of all tough.


And I felt like I was in a western. I really did. And then sure enough, sure enough, there was a little conversation with some of the town vets, some of the elders, and they were like, “Yeah, who is that? Who is he visiting?” You know? But I sleep with my door open. I don't have a window because it's wide open, but I sleep with everything open. I've never had any kind of fear. Now in Mexico and other places I've, I've yet to have any kind of fear. But when I go to a place that's more open, and even a place like Puerto Vallarta at night, you have to look around and just make sure you're entering a vicinity that . . . You just kind of have to know what's up. But there are certain things, of course, with the cartels, and no one even likes to bring it up here, but to bring it up . . . What I've recognized is that of course there are certain things we know not to get into, right? If I start selling certain things, and purchasing certain things, and I'm leaving myself open for a problem outside of that, I feel safe. But it seems to me that everybody here knows everybody in some way, shape, or form affiliated with that kind of life. So, it's very prevalent. That is the truth. It's prevalent in that people will have a second cousin. There's very little crossover. And so, for example, there was a moment where there were some cartel people supposedly here. And people let me know. They were like, “Yeah, you know, just just stay away from that area. Let them have their dinner, let them do their thing.” And of course I'm not gonna cause anyone a problem here to begin with. The point is, it seems to really be the kind of case where if you don't initiate, then there should be no problem. That's the area I'm in. And just as a caveat, I have been told that there are certain places I should not hike. I've been told that, but I've never once had a moment. There's just so much beauty and so much to be had. Why would I go there anyway? It's like, “Okay.” You know? There are a lot more people, a lot more Americans, killed on the streets of LA and Chicago every single day than there are in Mexico. I was scared at Fusion. I was going to school every day, and I'm looking out the window concerned about all the violence that happens in schools in the United States. I've never been more chill and felt as safe as I do, especially at night.

I have a funny story.


ARMAN:

Yeah, please.


DANNY:

I know I'm yammering, but here's the story. It was one night, late, about midnight, 1:00 AM, and I'm writing and I felt I needed a pace. So I go outside and it's totally quiet, which is not that common because someone's usually playing a love ballet even at that time. So I'm walking and all of a sudden I hear footsteps loud and I said, “All right, this is where Danny gets kidnapped in Mexico.” And I turn around and it was a horse with three dogs following it, and they were on some kind of adventure. The horses roam free here, the dogs roam free. No one owns a dog. Every dog is everybody's dog. And I came upon a horse/dog party, but


ARMAN:

That's awesome, man. That's awesome. I've been on a couple of these calls with you. It seems like you're on a farm, you know, but they're just in my backyard. The chickens, the horses


DANNY:

We're all together.


ARMAN:

That's great. And I'm sure the kids love it as well. Cause again, you don't have to go to the zoo, pet some animals, or ride a horse. They're just doing it, right? I mean, it's part of their

education, part of their experience.


DANNY:

It's freedom, is what it is. It's the actualization of freedom. You're not reading it in a book. And I'll say this–I never knew that dogs and cats were friends. I grew up with Tom and Jerry. I never knew dogs and cats chill out . . . kittens hanging out with dogs. I never knew they hung out together in every movie, you know, because part of the structure of filmmaking and TV shows for kids is that there've gotta be villains. So this whole vibe that animals kick it together is something new to begin with.


ARMAN:

That's super cool, man. That's super cool. And I find it interesting. I know you said . . . Obviously that's a small town. We don't need to focus on each village, but as you described, there are the small villages, the medium sized villages, and then, of course, the touristic kind of cities, right? And Puerto Vallarta is kind of like the hub where probably most tourists from America, Europe, and Canada would probably go. Or Cabo, right, if they're on the west coast of the U.S. But you did mention the day trippers and things like that. So that's all part of kind of a tourism adventure experience. Right? So that being said, even though I know there's not a lot of infrastructure in your village, maybe tell us about–you told me a bunch of stories–but, like, some of the hikes that you might've taken, and, you know, with locals that are either charging to do that or just doing it probably out of just goodwill, I guess, right?


DANNY:

Here's one of the greatest moments I've had here; one of the most powerful moments. So there's a fruit stand when people get here. You get off the little panga and there's a fruit stand, mangoes, papayas, you name it. And so I'm talking to Vero, who runs it. It's her stand. And I told her I wanted to take a hike. I was like, you know, “I feel like hiking; finding a new place.” Where could I go?


She started talking about how far, how distant. And my sense of direction is not good. And I don't wanna get lost. So I said, I need some help here. You know, if someone helps me, you know . . . help be my tour guide. She says, “Yeah, no problem.” Two minutes later she whistles, two minutes later this kid comes out, he's three years old. His mother says, “Walk with him.” He was the tour guide! And I said, “Are you sure?” Because . . . I don't know, the culture's different, and this was one of my first weeks here. And she said, “Yeah, his brother will come too.” So his seven year old brother comes now on this tour, I gotta tell you.


ARMAN:

So, so, so there's a seven year old and a three-year old. You're mid to late forties, and they don't know you all that well, right? And they say, “Okay, here's my three year-old and seven year old boys. They're gonna take you.”


DANNY:

Yeah! And the kids were barefoot, and we're hiking on rocks, gravel, sand leaves. They're like Indiana Jones. They're climbing. It was amazing. And they knew everything about the nature of the town, what we were surrounded by, and how it impacted, you know, like, “Oh, that's where we picked these fruits. That's where we get the mangoes.” And they were singing. It was so beautiful. They knew everything and it was really deep knowledge. And they wanted me to know too. And they were so sweet.


ARMAN:

And how long was that experience? Was it like an hour hike, a two hour hike?


DANNY:

It was solidly an hour in each direction. And then when we got there, we had coconuts to drink. It was so great. There was this little area where we had some coconuts and yeah, it was just, it was just amazing. It was so powerful because for these kids to have that freedom and for these kids to be so empowered, and they really wanted me to know. So they would pick up leaves and they would say, “Danny, hey, do you know what this is?” And my Spanish isn't too good yet, but they would say all these things and tell me all these beautiful things about the world that they're living in. They wanted to share. They were so proud. They were so proud of their land, so proud of it. It was so beautiful.


ARMAN:

That's amazing, man. That's amazing. And what about health? I think you got there after Covid, but I mean, what did you hear, just being in Mexico? I know you traveled a bunch of other times to Mexico, as you said, to the more main cities like Puerto Vallarta. What was the impression you got, or the feedback you got, or your observation of how people dealt with Covid?


DANNY:

Well, this was an ideal place to deal with anything like that just because of the distance you have from people. I mean, if I want, I could stay in my casita and not see anybody if I chose to . . . Well, I'm in the middle of the village, so that would be hard. But a lot of the people who live here, you know, you don't have to see anybody or interact with anyone if you don't choose to, you know? Yeah. You know, there's no doctors here; that's another thing. There is a woman who has a very deep understanding of the human body. And she did an analysis on my body, and I could not believe what she was telling me. She was telling me things that traditional doctors never picked up on, ever. It's like the way I was standing, she could tell that because of the way my fingers were spread, that there was some kind of breathing issue that I was having, or at least that's what she was surmising. But the point being, there's an Indigenous woman who comes through and, you know, kind of checks people out, but there's no traditional doctor here. Now, of course, that was cause for concern at certain times, you know? Sure. Because of what we're used to. But here's what I would say. I have every opportunity here to live a very healthy life and a very clean life. I mean, every opportunity! There's sun, there's grounding, hiking. I swim in the ocean every day for at least an hour. And so there's the food, you know: it's Mexican food, so you could overeat if you want, but you know, there's the best tropical fruits and vegetables and organic gardens. So you could really take control of your health here in a way that I have found is very difficult in other places. So to answer your question about health, I would say we're so used to, “Oh, this doctor said this. Now I'm going to spend the next two months getting 16 different opinions.” And it's like, yeah, healthcare could be great in the United States. Absolutely. I've had the benefit of some really great doctors at times in my life when I needed it, but how expensive is it? Like, who could really afford that? You know, who's affording that stuff, you know? And that's a whole other conversation. But yeah, I say this: people here don't know they're sick. If they are, they're probably not, but if they are, they don't know it. Yeah. So they're, they're living in bliss. You know?


ARMAN:

Yeah. And you mentioned there's some elders there living into their eighties, nineties, so I know it's a small sample set, but you're seeing, you know, some healthy active people, beyond their sixties, seventies, still having active lifestyles.


DANNY:

There are people here that I've seen in their nineties. I was at birthday parties here for a 93-year-old, a 97-year-old. They're as strong as any other 90-something-year-old I've ever seen. They're interacting in a sharp way, mental acuity, sharp. And they're so happy. People here have a lot of joy.


ARMAN:

That's amazing, man. That's amazing. And like I said, I do want to come out there, bring my son. I think it would be a great education for him, for me, you know. I'm here in this busy city with the hustle and bustle, and we all know that an important part of travel and tourism is the getaway, right? The island life, the tropical life and weather and just scenery. Like what you're in now that you're living every day. How long have you been out there now? Eight months?


DANNY:

Eight months. October 5th is the day I touched ground.


ARMAN:

Man. Wow. God bless you, man. And you seem, like you said, so healthy, happy, vibrant. So, I want to know, do you have a plan in terms of timing or is it just open right now?


DANNY:

No plan. I think, in my humble opinion, the foundation to my day-to-day happiness recently and in the past eight months has been the removal of planning. That has been foundational to my health and happiness. And I'm recognizing now what has happened. I don't want to be “planless.” In other words, I have things I want to do. I have things I want to achieve, and I have things I want to contribute to humanity. And so what happened was, I'm finding, I wake up every day real early. I'm up at 7:03 every day, which is my birthday. That's why I wake up at 7:03. I'm usually up way before that, but I'm up and I'm in the ocean. I'm in the ocean for an hour and even longer . . . real good swims.

I'm eating healthy, I'm riding every morning. I'm riding every evening. So those habits and those things that we tend to plan have become a part of my day just naturally, because they're who I am. And I wanted to be in that space where I could say, “You know what? Danny's gonna be plan-free for a while, and let's see what comes of it. It's a blank canvas. Let's see what paint gets thrown upon the canvas.” You know what I mean? I didn't want to have numbers on that canvas for when I got here. And so I'm still pretty open. Because I've had moments where I'm like, “Danny, what? You don't have a plan.” And then I just get more in touch with my inner light, and whatever that means to each of us. I just know things are right. Like I just know this is the most elevated Danny I could be right now, you know?


ARMAN:

Well, it feels like you're living in harmony with some type of plan. Call it a divine plan, or some higher purpose plan.


DANNY:

And that is the plan. So yeah, if there was a plan, it was to be, you know, empty canvas, plan free. So yeah, the duality of it. That is a plan.


ARMAN:

That's wonderful. And so I know that, again, as an educator and a writer, living in a remote place that, as you said, doesn't have all the traditional trappings and infrastructure, we might consider it a bit rustic and, and kind of pretty far off the beaten path. Right? And like you said, it could take a certain personality type to do that, but would you advise it to your friends in New York and LA? “Hey, you know, come out?” I mean, maybe they're not gonna come for eight months or be “planless”, but you know, people can't do that necessarily. Or can they? Like, would you recommend as, let's say, a tourism travel trip? Like, “Hey, come out for a week or two weeks and just have the experience.” And what do you think people would get out of that? Besides what they get out of normal trips going to other islands, which are also nice.


DANNY:

Well, this is not an island, actually. It seems like an island, but it's not. But here's what I'll say. By the way, we haven't talked about Puerto Vallarta, which is an amazing tourist spot for all the traditional reasons, but it really is amazing. And one of the reasons Puerto Vallarta is so amazing is that it offers the kind of love boat mentality; you know, honeymoon, romantic getaway, or families. But at the same time, it has an authenticity that's very close. So when you're in Puerto Vallarta, you're never that far from meshing with the authentic light there. So, traditional Puerto Vallarta vacations are sensational. And at the beginning, that's kind of what I was experiencing to a degree.


Now, here's what I would say: this is not for everybody, but everybody could benefit from this. And so how could one not benefit from interacting in a much freer place in nature, you know? How could one not benefit? You're seeing creatures that, you know . . . I saw an iguana the other day that was pretty big. You're interacting with people that you've probably never met; that one probably hasn't interacted with. So everything is new, you know. Even the language here is different from traditional Spanish. It's a little bit different when you see how the kids kind of craft their own journeys. And when you see a group of kids on a canoe and just playing, I mean, to me it's very joyous. Or a group of kids playing with kites with no shoes on their feet. They don't have the economic . . . You know, I put “poverty” in quotes, but, you know, it's the joy when you're in front of that kind of purity, especially someone from LA, someone from New York, I think that that's, that could only be beneficial. That could only be uplifting. You know?


Are the natural settings difficult? Yes, it's hot. There's no AC. There are fans and there's the ocean breezes. So I'm not in a cubicle, you know? Yeah. You know, people here just got internet, and I'm happy that this is functioning right now. The internet too is miraculous, obviously, that we could even be having this conversation. Yeah.


So here's a quick funny story. My friend–my dear, dear friend Jennifer–came out here, and we're eating dinner, and we look up and there's a claw, and it's kind of creeping in from the rooftop. There was like a little space between the roof, you know, and the wall. And there was a claw, and I saw the claw, and she did not. And I look up and I see the claw, and I didn't wanna interrupt what was a really nice dinner. I didn't wanna interrupt it. And then I look up and the claw moved like that. And so Jennifer saw it move and she kind of freaked. She's a business woman from LA. I mean, we had that moment. When you're around a setting that's so naturalistically beautiful, you know, I think it's always good to stretch ourselves. So if one feels like they could do five days in this setting, I would say, do two weeks. You know, do a week, do 10 days. Yeah. But someone like you who has a kid, and for any, this is what I would say.

For any school in the United States, any elementary school, any high school, a trip to a place like this should be mandatory. It should be part of the education. We are spending two weeks together. We've got chaperones, we're going to these villages, whatever it is. I know there are groups like that, of course. But I think it's not about us helping these people. It's about the uplift that I have felt. So I think this should be an intrinsic part of anyone's education as a human being. And for someone who has a kid who's anywhere between, you know, birth and 28, it's a great trip.


ARMAN:

Yeah, man. Well maybe that's part of the purpose of you being out there, that you'll figure later. And we've talked about this kind of being a bridge between two completely different cultures. You know, it's one thing to visit a place for a week, and it's another thing to immerse yourself and move into an experience. So I really respect what you're doing there. I know you went out there, as you said, to have freedom and just see what happens. And your creative spark and spirit, which has always been there, has felt very vivid and vigorous in terms of how you've been working and writing. So it's great to see your creative spirit continue to shine, and you're continuing to do teaching through remote connections, doing virtual consultations with kids that are your clients. That's wonderful. You're able to work out there.


DANNY:

You know, there are elements of technology that are miraculous. I wouldn't say I'm an anti-technologist because I coach students, former students from Fusion. We're talking right now. I talk to many friends and loved ones this way. I would say, though, strongly, that the purity of the life around me has illuminated my existence in such a way that I do feel now in my life a closer draw. Obviously I'm here, you know, I definitely feel more of a magnetic pull to this kind of living. And sure, you know, technology is part of my life, of course. But I think the relationships are healthier. I think that people here get a chance to really know someone.

I think that there's a certain harshness and coldness to the life I was living in LA. I have beautiful friends in LA that I love. I still do love LA. But there's a certain coldness to the big city. There really is. And I never understood that until I was in a place like this. I can never totally understand that theme of, like, “little town, big city.” I never quite understood it until this experience. But, yeah. Everyone knows my name here. Everyone knows me. And they knew me in LA too. But everyone knows me here. Everyone I go, anywhere in the village, they know Danny from LA . . . “Donnie de Los Angeles” . . .


ARMAN:

Danny de Los de Los Angeles. That's Danny Boy? Danny Boy, they call you?


DANNY:

Yeah, “Danny Boy”. You know, it's an amazing feeling to be somewhere where no one ever knew you. So I don't know anyone. I remember the first moment I got here . . . I was about to leave Casita to go get some food. And I said to myself, “All right, you're gonna meet right now with someone you don't know and they don't know you, so you could tell them anything you want.” But the curiosity hasn't been about superficiality. People know from my vibe what I'm about. They haven't asked me, like, “Oh, so who have you worked for in the past?” It's a completely different . . . like . . . we feel each other's vibes; that's what it's been. Even the children. I'm very close with the kids.


ARMAN:

That's beautiful. I hope to get out there at some point. And thank you for sharing some of this light and vibrancy with us. Appreciate it. I know other people will as well. And good luck, brother. Keep doing what you are doing. I hope to see you soon.


DANNY:

Love you Arman, and thank you so much.


ARMAN::

Love you too, bro.


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