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GITA Gordon Ivan Townsend
Title GITA My Story

I was conceived in Germany, born in southwest Oklahoma, and less than two weeks later on-the-road to Tennessee. Over the next decade, we moved to central Texas, back to Germany, again to central Texas, to Albuquerque, to El Paso, to eastern Oklahoma, and finally back to central Texas for high school and college. My father was a career Army sergeant so frequent moves were a big part of my early life, and something I continued throughout college and into adulthood. I’ve lived in two foreign countries, relocated 40 times (so far) and my suitcase is always packed.

I consider myself Texan even though I was born on-the-road in another state. To be precise, I was born in a military hospital on federal property, so I’ve always rationalized that the address on my birth certificate was more for reference purposes than residence status. My permanent address, and my heart-of-hearts, always remained in central Texas throughout all of my travels, all of my life.

  GITA Gordon Ivan Townsend

Both parents were Texans with Mom born and raised on a rural farm near Booker, about 8 miles from the top of the panhandle, and Dad born and raised in Austin. Mom’s family moved to Austin when she was 13, and sometime later my parents met in the West Austin Park on 10th Street between Blanco and West Lynn.

I’m a country boy at heart, an Eagle Scout, and a Texas Aggie. Professionally, I’m a Registered Sanitarian (think public health professional), and a Licensed Professional Engineer, both in Texas. In the mid 90s, I was considered an authority on the Rules & Regulations for Public Drinking Water Systems in Texas. Later, I taught pollution-prevention and waste-reduction strategies to industrial, commercial, and manufacturing facilities in Texas, and the border-states of México. I helped them reduce their use of natural resources, and become un-regulated (or less-regulated) by eliminating (or reducing) their use of hazardous materials.

By 1989, at age 30, I felt my life on-track, stable and meaningful. All the pesky questions were answered — you know, questions like the correct direction, meaning and purpose of life, education and career. However, by 1996 (just 7 years later), those questions returned with a vengeance and hell-bent on shattering all notions of honor, accountability, and spirituality. That’s when a friend introduced me to Landmark Education and their extensive assortment of introspective coursework. I quickly completed their Curriculum for Living, and found myself fully immersed in a sea of self-help and personal-growth courses, books and seminars.

In 1997, while working with the State’s cross-border initiative, I enrolled in a 4-week Total Immersion Spanish Program to learn more about the people, culture and language of México. I spent June of that year in Cuernavaca, México, living with a local family, and absorbing all that my senses could process. During my final week, I met a lady, and 14 months later (Sept. 1998) moved there to be with her. I felt driven to understand first-hand how a simple line on the map could segregate and simultaneously impose such dramatically different socio-economic realities. I labeled my endeavor United Cultures, sold my pick-up, sold my house, quit my job, and jumped off my world to follow that dream.

By March 2000, we had created a company in México that manufactured and distributed natural health products, her private label. I managed the day-to-day operation of the company while she designed the products and inspired the customers. In 2003, we were delegates, from México, to the week-long Peace of Mind International Retreat hosted by the Brahma Kumaris at Mt. Abu, India.

In 2009, I took a 47-day spiritual pilgrimage know as El Camino de Santiago where I carried a 30-pound backpack across 550 miles of northern Spain, from a small French village in the Pyrenees to a lighthouse on the Atlantic. The pilgrimage revealed much about my life, but also signaled an end to another chapter. In 2010, I closed out my life in México, sold my interest in the business, and returned home to Texas. My life in México only lasted 12 years, but wow what an adventure it was.

I’ve had a life-long fascination with the cultural and gender based differences in the way humans communicate, date, relate and partner. More recently, I’ve learned to shift my focus from the head to the heart, and found myself less-and-less interested in dominating, controlling or managing relationships. As a result, I’m discovering more-and-more happiness, fun, joy and love in every aspect of my life.

I'm fortunate to have a great relationship with Mom, and she continues to teach me so much about strength, character, and kindness; everyone loves Mom. To balance that, Dad taught me all about perseverance, determination and honor. In his workshop, we fixed or built almost everything we needed, and I learned more about the practical aspects of engineering than I did from 5 years at college. In 1975, we built his ideal automotive workshop, from the ground up, and it was better equipped than most professional shops at the time. I’ve always said, “I learned all about engineering from Dad, and went to college for a few formulas and a diploma.”

All my life, I’ve always been a fan of Texas-style country-cooking. Mom’s specialties were pecan pie, mustang-grape jelly and her unique Tex-Mex creations. Dad’s specialties were slow-smoked Texas BBQ, and his secret-recipes for Sunday supper. I still look for out-of-the-way places with one-of-a-kind flavors. On March 1, 1998, as I consider the possibility of a life in México, I switched from a meat-centered diet to ovo-lacto vegetarian. I was joining a vegetarian family in México, and it felt like the right thing to do. Looking back, it certainly was the right thing then, and continues to be the right thing for me today.

I’m a lover of life's simple pleasures, consider travel an absolute essential, and seek adventure in everything I do. I love live-music, and especially love boot-scootin’ to a live Country band on a large wooden dance-floor. I live an active lifestyle, and my spiritual practice includes an interesting mix of yoga, aerobics, Tai-Chi, and Pilates.

My sense of adventure led me to become a licensed Private Pilot, a driver of 18- wheelers in the East Texas oil-field, and a certified Scuba Diver. My Dive Log includes various sites in Texas, México, the Dominican Republic, the Galapagos Islands, Fiji, Bonaire, and Indonesia. Also, I’ve been skydiving (accelerated free-fall, not tandem) once on July 4, 1996, in Salado, TX, and I’ve been paragliding (tandem) twice, once in Valle de Bravo, México, and once in Manor, TX.

I seek adventure, not because I’m fearless, but because I know fear all too well. The most beautiful and exciting things in my life have always waited just beyond the fear...

Yippie Ki Yay, Buen Camino y Ultreïa,
GITA Gordon Ivan Townsend