The joy of spontaneity is in the word itself. An unpredictable surprise at an unknown point in time. In a life of routines, spontaneity is often thrown aside for an easier, predictable life. I prefer to go home and spend time watching reruns of the same shows instead of going outside and doing or trying something different.
Last week however, in a burst of spontaneity, I decided on a last minute trip to Edinburgh, Scotland and Amsterdam. I met with some friends in Edinburgh, spent 2 days touring the city and on the way back I toured Amsterdam alone. What a great way to have spent the weekend and I certainly encourage every person to be spontaneous in their lives. It changes things, one meets new people, tries new things (like hiking a dormant volcano); all in all it fosters change in a generously sheltered life such as mine.
The rest of the city (and country) is very green. A dormant volcano called Arthur's seat lies in the city limits and we hiked up its 800 ft summit to enjoy spectacular view of the city.
There are many streets closely packed together, alleys called "closes" that have very interesting historic stories and were, essentially, tenement apartment dwellings without proper ventilation. Plagues festered and destroyed the lives of thousands in those closes. Walking along the royal mile in the old town feels as if one has stepped back in time. It is stunningly well kept, the closes are in great structural condition, too. One can easily imagine how life must have been in those days, in small cramped rooms beneath towering steeples and grey skies.
Two weeks ago I never would have thought that I would be standing on the summit of Arthur's seat, looking over the city of Edinburgh, with volcanic ridges and moors around me. Absolutely love spontaneity...the idea of not knowing tomorrow has become quite a romantic idea indeed.
Several years ago on a cold day in February, I was lucky enough to spend a single day in Paris, France. While I hated the time constraints we had, in retrospect that single day left memories that have idealized the city for me. Everything I remember about Paris is beautiful because my time there was so short. That philosophy should be applied to life in general- it is short, therefore make it as beautiful as you possibly can.
I can go on and on and repeat what the world has said about Paris, about its beauty, the architecture, the monuments, the people, the river Seine and its idealism even in the cold, dead of winter; however, I will let my pictures reflect it.
That cold day in Paris is one that I will never forget.
With malice toward none, with charity for all...a mural dedicated to Lincoln in Philadelphia
Art, literature, and history are the biggest inspirations in my life. This week, Jack Kerouac's On The Road has helped rekindle my love for an adventure and it has reminded me of the importance of compassion. The monotony of the daily grind takes its toll in the worst possible way. Fatigue leads to indifference and the worst thing of all, complacency. I refuse to settle for that.
So began an impromptu road trip to Philadelphia. In less than three hours from Brooklyn we made it to the city where the colonists declared their independence from Britain, where the universities, churches and museums are rich in their exhibits and history, where open space was planned hundreds of years in advance, and where Rocky (a fictional character) is a celebrated hero.
There were many, many homeless and struggling people. It's hard to see someone struggle and not even offer a smile for support or a handful of change. May poverty be alleviated in all nations, may we strive for a better, more humane society.
I am an incredibly snooty Northeastern New Yorker. I turn up my nose at the idea of having to travel to "cities" outside of NYC or the northeast (unless its Seattle). To me, NYC is the greatest city in the world because of its diversity, culture, history, opportunity, transportation, etc, obviously I could go on forever.
This week, I have been humbled and brought down from my high Northeastern horse. The city of St. Louis has shown me a potential like no other city that I have traveled to and I've come to truly enjoy the time that I have spent here.
There is history in St. Louis that I never knew existed, mounds of civilization had been discovered here and dated back to 1150-1200 A.D. Lewis and Clark started their expedition through here, Dredd Scott was tried here, Mark Twain wrote much about life on the MIssissippi, and engineers developed careers here in trying to alleviate flooding issues.
This city will be up and coming, there are several neighborhoods that are very commercial, lined with restaurants, coffee shops and art galleries. Today, while standing near the Mississippi River, I could feel something spiritual about it, i understand why so many songs and poems and books were written about it. There is something bittersweet about this river and about the city that lives on it. I'm glad to have had the time to experience it and I hope to travel with a much more open mind.
I love to travel. I've had the pleasure to travel to Europe, South America, and Asia. I'll be putting up some pictures as soon as I can. Here, I begin with Dublin, Ireland.
Dublin - June 2009
We had great weather when visiting Dublin, it was sunny, warm, and inviting. I stayed at a hotel in downtown Dublin and for the most part we were able to walk around the city to see it. We were able to rent a car to go out to visit Trim Castle and the mountains. The landscape changed so suddenly in Ireland. From the coast, one was able to see the mountains in the distance. The landscapes were beautiful, the buildings were too. The churches were gothic like and had scary dungeon-like basements. The buildings that lined the river were all rectangular in shape and in an assortment of colors.I like celtic designs and try to incorporate them into henna patterns. The swirly patters in this image below are particularly cool, this passage tomb at Newgrange is dated back to 3,200 B.C. You can find out more about Newgrange here at their website, http://www.newgrange.com/.
I'll be adding pictures and commentary of the things I love. I am an ordinary person in an extraordinary place. There is no special purpose to this blog other than to project what I am thinking of at any given moment.
All the photos are mine (unless stated otherwise). Please do not use without permission. To learn more about me, check out my linked in profile below.