Beirut

A city of beauty and destruction, humor and sadness, growth and stagnation. Where green and red lights mean maybe, and the only thing needed to cross the street is confidence. I’ll admit it, I was afraid of you at first. Fear dissipates with experience, familiarity, knowing.

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Malta

The truth is, I saw a picture on television once, and decided I would come here. One picture, and I was sold. The first thing that strikes me is the heat, the oppressive, dry heat. The kind of heat that doesn’t make you sweat, but rather makes you feel as if you are caked in dirt, baking slowly. I get on a bus and make my way to Valletta, the city I once saw, an image I’ve held in my mind until now. The island of Malta has seemed remote, exotic, but in all truth it’s in the middle – accessible, a blend of European and the Middle East. A land fought for my many empires, a collaboration of culture, art, and architecture. Continue reading “Malta”

Kingston

Cars speed past me, I stumble on the rocky resemblance of a sidewalk as I navigate my way through Kingston. Keep your bag close I’m told. “Hey Princess”, a guy calls to me, where are you from? He grabs my hand, kisses it, and I walk on. Sweat. Sweat is dripping down my face. I’ve not stop sweating since I arrived nearly a week ago. Jamaica is hot, Kingston is intense, smoldering, crowded; absolutely opposite of the remote Long Bay beach town I came from. I wanted to see Kingston, it’s just that I don’t know what to do with myself in this unwalkable, dusty madness. Continue reading “Kingston”

Running Mount Royal

True story, unedited to make me appear less strange, so no judgement please. I’ve just devoured a vegan orange infused chocolate croissant (after breakfast)¬†and I think it’s a good idea to adventure on Mount Royal. I start to walk up sidewalks, through downtown Montreal, until I get to stairs, a clear path up the mountain. With a burst of energy, I leap up the stairs, two at a time, taking off layers as the evasive sun shines through the clouds. The redish orange scenery is breathtaking as bits of the buildings peak through, reminding me that I’m still in a city. Continue reading “Running Mount Royal”

Jiufen Old Street

Waiting. Waiting for a number. Number 1062, the bus number that will take me across Taiwan to a picture of something I once saw, an idea I’ve followed here. Is this a good idea? The number appears, I drop my money into a box, and squeeze my way into a crowded bus, standing room only. An hour later, I am surrounded by lush, green hills, and the bus pulls drives into a painting. A painting of an old city on a hill, colorful temples, a market like a maze that stretches deep into the village, winding roads that travel up the mountains, weaving through the city, contrasted by a piercing blue sea below. Continue reading “Jiufen Old Street”

Afropunk

Afro: Born of African Spirit and Heritage, see also black (not always), see also rhythm and color, see also other, underdog. Punk: as in rebel, opposing the simple route, looking forward with simplicity, rawness and curiosity, see also other, underdog. Afropunk, as in where I ended up on New Year’s Eve in Johannesburg, South Africa. Clearly, more along the punk lines than the afro, nevertheless, I randomly wandered into this music festival with curiosity. Continue reading “Afropunk”

Shelbourne Falls

My intention was to get a coffee, an accomplice to my escape from a 2 week-old-not-quite home, my retreat into Massachusetts to meditate. Pay attention, or you’ll miss it – Shelbourne Falls snuck up on me and completely captivated me. It has a desolate, quint, yet charming nature that immediately drew me in. I practically jumped out of the car to walk down Main Street, taking in the antique shops offset by magnificent trees standing tall on mountains in the background, historic decor beckoned to me, inviting my imagination to join it, as if walking through another time. Continue reading “Shelbourne Falls”

Gondola

I reach for the outstretched Italian hand that firmly pulls me onto an old, wooden gondola, into another time. I carefully step aboard the wobbly boat and take my ornate, velvet seat amongst the Canadians facing me. I feel them looking at my worn rubber flip-flops, the permanent ink sky on my foot, my elephant t-shirt. Where is she from? How old is she? I smile and they collectively question me. Yes, I’m American – yes, I’m traveling my myself, and I unwind the tale of my journey to curious Canadians as we bob into the wide canal, floating into another world. Continue reading “Gondola”

The Road to Providence

What a strange feeling to have an unfamiliar home. To unpack all your worldly belongings in a space you’ve just seen, and call it home. I’ve had this idea I’ve nurtured for a year, plans I’ve made, a picture I once saw from a thousand miles away, and accepted as my future home. I’ve unpacked all the pieces of me as quickly as I could, as if the faster this unfamiliar space becomes adorned with my belongings, the swifter I’ll adjust and become comfortable. That’s not how this works you know, can’t fool a pro – I’ve done this before. Comfort, along with familiarity comes with time, the former is fleeting, the later lingers, mutates, and can remain in some ways even for a lifetime. Continue reading “The Road to Providence”

Vipassana

Vipassana – to see things as they really are.

I sit on a cushion in a low lit room with my eyes closed. My whole body tingles and I am weightless, completely unaware of the outside world, and even the other 30 something people sitting around me. What am I feeling? Change. Everything changes, constantly. I feel the particles my body is made up of change every second, my thoughts change, my feelings change. Non attachment and equanimity is what I’m seeking. Equanimity with every sensation I feel, not attaching to it, not avoiding it. Continue reading “Vipassana”