There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label a day in the life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label a day in the life. Show all posts

13 August 2017

Biosphere 2

Last weekend I get home on Friday from a long and exhausting work week. I look to relax, yet notice the house is much warmer than usual. I check the thermostat and seeing the temperature is at 91.

Long story short, my AC unit had to be replaced. My weekend trip had to be cancelled, a hotel was in order for the weekend until the AC could be replaced on Monday, and I was looking for an alternative plan on Sunday.

Enter Biosphere 2.....
Previously, when I heard the word Biosphere, my mind went to the Pauly Shore cringe-worthy movie. Little did I know the science that actually went into the building of this place. You pay a twenty dollar entrance fee that includes a tour, which is worth it to help keep the research that scientists are conducting here going.
The place didn't knock my socks off, but it certainly is interesting and a perfect way to kill a few hours in the Arizona summer when your AC goes out.

Do you know what Biosphere 1 is?

12 August 2017

Bear Creek Falls

A Muslim, a Buddhist, a Hindu and a Christian all call water by different names, but it's all still just water.
These words echo in my head as I start the early morning hike up to Bear Creek Falls in Telluride, Colorado.

No more than ten minutes on the trail before I realize that my bear spray is still on my bed. I laugh uncomfortably to myself, say a pray for safety, and continue on. I have my intuition that will protect me.
For a Saturday morning, the trail is unbelievably empty. I see only a few other hikers as they pass me quickly and are gone from my view. I have this place to myself as I make the 2.5 mile journey to the Falls. I arrive as the sun starts to peak over the mountaintop.

I bathe in the waterfall spray.
No one intrudes my meditation principles up here. I rejuvenate in the clean air and forested beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Clouds start to form on my way back down, changing the landscape in dramatic fashion so that it feels like a new hike on the descent.
I knock out a 5 mile roundtrip hike before most people eat breakfast on a Saturday.

10 August 2017

Palacio de Bellas Artes

A random conversation being had in Spanglish leads to me overhearing about a place called "Palacio de Bellas Artes", located somewhere in the historic district of Mexico City.

My only problem was that everywhere in this massive city (one of the ten largest cities in the entire world) seems to be a historic district.

I take a chance and have my cabbie take me to a district where I think this place may be, and I start wandering the streets....I turn a corner and find the building staring at me in ominous fashion...
The artwork and photography displayed inside once again amazes me. More from Diego Rivera and Freda Kahlo, plus many, many other Mexican artists. There is so much beauty inside that I can barely contain my excitement as I try and take it all in.
Come with me on a trip fantastic through the artwork on display during my time in Palacio de Bella Artes.

You won't be disappointed.

08 August 2017

Central Park Sunday

Sunday morning.

Mother's Day.

I sit on a brick bridge watching ducks tread the waters of Central Park as a man gently plays a saxophone for change.
The parks slowly fills with joggers and couples with the morning paper in hand, looking for a bench to sit and finish their coffee and read. I mention it as this activity is becoming a rarity.

Parents caution their little ones not to venture into the dense foliage as they feel the park is not safe. The homeless I see in the public bathrooms are nothing but nice to me as they wash their faces and ready themselves for the day.
A Buddhist monk stops to give me a peace bracelet. I thank him and offer a small donation in return.
 This simple act of kindness lightens my heart in the best way possible.

04 August 2017

The sculpture gardens of Minneapolis

If you find yourself in the downtown area of Minneapolis with some free time to kill, might I suggest making your way to the Sculpture Gardens. You may just be pleasantly surprised with what you find, and the money that you'll save (it's free).
Minneapolis has a bike rental system like most metropolis's where you can get super cheap transportation. Two dollars later I'm riding through downtown over to the park. The clouds almost seem touchable up here in the North land as they pass over the rising steeples of the Lutheran churches.
I find a bike docking station and make my way to the park. I'm met with a giant colored giraffe and the quintessentially iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry.
The art is quirky, fun and thought provoking all rolled into one artistic burrito. It's the perfect place for families to enjoy the day outside as well as couples in love, the weird and wonderful alike.

I fit in like a lonely princess trying on the perfect glass slipper.
If you are in the area, perhaps you should try the park on for yourself and see what fits you....

27 July 2017

La Casa Azul de Frida Kahlo

This adventure started from the television show "American Pickers", of all places, in which a person had some old furniture that appeared to have belonged to the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

This got my curiosity going, as I was heading to Mexico City in a couple of weeks. I found that her home was now a museum, and one the the top places to see in Mexico City. I wanted to learn more about this artist.
On an early weekday morning my cabdriver drops me off in front of Casa Azul. The vibrant blue walls surrounding the home already have a large line outside, and it is nearly one hour before the place opens. I find that I have plenty of time to relax and reflect as I'll be waiting a few more hours in this line before finally entering Frida's home.
After the madness at the entrance, a calm is found inside amongst the gardens. I start exploring the life of Frida and her husband, Diego Rivera.
The pain of Frida's life from her constant battle with polio and her devastating bus accident as a teenager are on vivid display through her self portraits and artwork.
Her tumultuous relationship with Diego is also on display, as they had married twice, both having multiple affairs, including one in which Diego was sleeping with Frida's sister. The intense love and loss is on full display in Frida and Diego's art.
You also learn about their relationship with Russian author Trotsky, whom was given asylum in Mexico after being banned from Russia. Their relationship with the USA and the world regarding communism, fascism, capitalism and democracy are all eye opening tales that cause one to look at the world from a different angle, a new perspective.

Which I think is one of the greatest gifts that travel and exploration can give.

25 July 2017

The high country around Cortez

Dirty and disheveled, the lone wanderer makes his way along the scenic backroads through the high country of the Navajo Nation on his way to Cortez, Colorado.

Lone crows call out his name like psychotic girlfriends from prior lives. The sun paints haunting images in the sky.
He finds a place called Negro road that is the loneliest place he can recall being in for the longest time. A single tree seems out of place amongst the tall weeds that sway gently in the breeze. He feels like resting his back against the tree trunk and letting his body die.

It wouldn't be a bad place to go.
A semi appears out of nowhere and rumbles him back to reality. He shakes off the dire thought of death and focuses of the peacefulness of this place.

Peace, not death, instead of peace from death.

22 July 2017

Minnehaha Falls

This story started with a single picture, as so many of these tales do, of a waterfall just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

It seemed to be a good start for my northward travels into the woods of Wisconsin. As I park and try to locate the trail, I find a small white house with a picket fence surrounding it. The home of  John H. Stevens, the birthplace of Minneapolis and Hennepin County.
A little further on down I see a foreboding face overshadowing the lush greenery of the park. The mighty Indian's face calls to me.

It is the start of the path to the Falls, one that Longfellow called the "song of Hiawatha".
If you had enough time and energy, you could follow this trail all the way from it's starting point of the mighty Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico, and see the life that has sprung from the mighty river.

I only have time though to get a quick bite to eat at a local restaurant next to the Falls. The Sea Salt Eatery has a wide variety of succulent seafood dishes, which is a pleasant surprise for a place in the park.

I choose the scallop tacos which hit the spot on this humid morning, then make way back onto the road....

20 July 2017

New York City

I was extremely anxious about traveling to New York City by myself, although I wasn't quite sure why. I've been to many places as a solo wanderer, but the intensity and magnificence of this particular city had me on edge.
The last time I was in the big apple was in 2008 with my brother and his wife's family. It was a cathartic time as we were still in the grieving and healing stage of my sister's death only a year before.
As I woke up though and started walking the streets, the beautiful familiarity of this city encompassed me like a warm scarf. I tingled with electricity from the vibrancy of this city, and my anxiety quickly dissipated into the morning air.
I felt the immense power of being here by myself, akin to the stories of lone souls that come here looking to achieve their dreams, in whatever shape and form that may be.

Which I believe is the true power of this great city.

18 July 2017

A Night in the Village

7.18.2017

The night before, Trevor Hall had a show at Red Rocks with Michael Franti and Spearhead to 10,000 joyous fans. To come from that experience to a solo acoustic show with a crowd of maybe 200 people total was quite a shift for a musician.

Yet it was the opening night of Trevor's "A Night in the Village" where he was playing songs he wrote from his experiences in India, and telling the stories behind his lyrics and some of his life changing events that happened while over there.
It was an intimate show that I can not yet fully express, as I'm still wrapping my head around it.

I will say though that my own experiences in Kenya came back like a flood.

But I need to get something out there, so here it is, my memories of unity during a night in the Village with Trevor Hall at the Sheridan Opera House in Telluride, Colorado.

7.20.2017

Trevor tells the story of his first trip to India, and how he travelled far up into the mountains to a sacred and beautiful temple. Just outside the temple was a lone beggar. He had learned in the cities not to give to beggars as it creates a mob that one becomes surrounded by, but out here the man was by himself. Trevor wanted to feel good, do good, and so he went up to the man and offered him a banana that he had.

But that man only held out his hands in the air, but wouldn't take the banana. Trevor didn't understand, he was trying to help, why was this beggar refusing his gift?

The wise men that were with him saw what was happening, and came up to Trevor and whispered in his ear....

"he's blind"

08 July 2017

museo nacional de antropologia

A giant Mexican flag is slowly flapping in the soft breeze as I make my way toward the entrance to Museo Nacional De Antropologia. After a little confusion due to the language barrier about where I needed to store my backpack, I hand my ticket to the lady officer and enter this all encompassing museum covering the history of Mexico.
Hall after hall showcase different time periods and civilizations of the regions of Mexico. It is a fascinating walk, and one that will continually surprise you.
One of my favorite areas was a screen that took an x-ray image of your face as your stood facing the wall, then projected your image for you to try and find among the many faces. Can you locate me?
Artwork, stone statues, ancient craftwork, etc...it all can be found in the beautiful National Anthropology Museum of Mexico City.

Don't miss it.

07 July 2017

the NYC library

It's fairly early in the morning for a Saturday in New York City. I zip up my hoodie, wonder about my choice to only wear shorts as the rain starts to fall. I step out onto the streets, take in the subway smells and the taxi traffic, and make my way to the public library.
The great lions named Patience and Fortitude greet me at the steps of the mighty building. I believe this will be my first time traveling to hang out in a library, but oh what a library it is!
The architecture of the halls feel more like a museum, and the great artwork hanging on the walls add this feeling.

I could go into great detail here about the research I did, the exhibits on display while there, the amazing history of the building itself; from it's construction, the generous donors, and the people of New York itself that helped make this institution what it is today.
But my goal is not to labor in my experience here, it is only to inspire you readers to get out there and explore the wonders of this place for yourself.

04 July 2017

Bluegrass Underground

The bands had finished their warm ups, and it was time to let us in to the stage area to get our seats. It was first come, first serve, and I was nervous about getting a rotten seat as there was quite a few people ahead of me in line. I thought about sitting on the rocks that were stage right, but then thought better of it and made my way down to the front...
One of many luxuries of solo traveling is you only need one seat for concerts. People have a natural tendency to give others space and not crowd perceived personal areas. This works to my advantage as two front row couples have left a single chair open between them, front row and center.

I excitedly grab it and get to know my neighbors before the show begins. The couple to my right drove down from Michigan. It was a birthday gift from the girlfriend.

The older couple on my left are from the South. She immediately questions me, wondering if I'm a "northerner?". We don't talk much after that comment.

Soon the lights go down in the cave, and Bluegrass Underground is about to begin. First up is Haas Kowert Tice
335 feet below the surface of the earth, the fiddles and banjos fly, the familiar plucking of strings and down home lyrics fill the cavern. Next up is Town Mountain, and they figuratively bring the house to it's knees, especially with their classic rendition of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm on fire".
Without a doubt, if you love bluegrass music, seeing it a cave in the South is a must.

02 July 2017

Pirate Tower

Could his long lost love be locked away in a tower, just like in the fairy tales of olde? With just a sprinkle of imagination and a childlike wonder for adventure, he goes on a quest to find out...
A tiny clearing is found in between the maddeningly small streets lined with homes of financial giants. He steps lightly, as he doesn't want to wake the sleeping beasts. Brightly colored flowers open their pistils and stamens, pointing him in the right direction.
He comes to the edge of the ocean, watching sea creatures scurry along the moss covered rocks, clinging tightly as the waves crash down upon them.

Some lose the battle and are swept back out into the Pacific. He crawls along the rocky precipice with stealth precision. In the breeze he hears the faint call for help from an angelic voice.

"I'm up here...."
The Tower looms before him, yet their are no stairs to climb, nor a door to enter. The voice calling to him is maddening, like the never ending waves crashing all around.

"How will I reach my long lost love?"
A tiny opening is found, large enough that only his hand can fit through. He bravely reaches inside. The softest caress brushes his callused and aged fingers, letting him know she is inside, waiting eternally for him....

to find the key.

01 July 2017

Ziplining in Pura Vida

We were all huddled underneath a tree as the winds were howling around us and the rain was coming from seemingly every direction. I was watching the zip line wire swing crazily back and forth in the storm.

"Are we really going to zip line in this weather?"

"Si. Pura Vida muchacho!"

Hey, if they feel it's safe, then what is to stop me?
The sound of the cable as you glide over the Costa Rican jungle invigorates me with a rush of adrenaline. I see previously hidden waterfalls come into view. Back and forth we go, crisscrossing the massive gorge as we make our way down the ten point zip line course.
I end up mud spattered and starving after the zip line adventure, and gorge myself on locally grown beans and other Central American dishes.

The rain slowly dissipates and the sun warms my skin in the Costa Rican afternoon.

30 June 2017

Paul Simon

Driving through the wild Wyoming Mountains with a young hippie girl as "50 ways to leave your lover" plays on the tape that she made for me. I can't believe that she loves me.

I slam the door. "Go ahead and kill yourself" goes through my head. The radio plays "Sounds of Silence".

We get done making love in the warm afternoon sunlight. "Cecilia" plays softly in the background.
The flood gate of memories is opened as Paul Simon is playing in Bend, Oregon.

23 June 2017

Chapultepec Park

I'd been in Mexico City about one hour, readying myself to start exploring this new destination. I like to start out slowly so that I can familiarize myself with the lay of the streets and my new surroundings.

Chapultepec park is across the street from my hotel, and seems to be the perfect place to get acclimated.
Being one of the largest parks in the western hemisphere, I have no goal of trying to see it all, I only want to get familiar with the people and culture of Mexico City. Cobblestone paths take me past statues of heroes and great political figures that helped shaped Mexico's history and future.
The park has Aztec history, castles, monuments and museums, merry-go rounds and giant fallen trees to climb upon. Beautiful flower gardens and lakes for couples to take a ride on in a boat.

Families are enjoying the day everywhere you look.
It is the perfect place to start exploring a new city.

21 June 2017

Horseback riding & secret Costa Rican waterfalls

I wake up to the smell of falling rain. It's my first full day up in the mountains of Guanacaste province in Costa Rica. I'm hoping to go horseback riding as well as get in some hiking, yet the weather is not looking like its going to cooperate.

A small truck appears out of the rain and the driver asks me if I'm ready. If they are willing to venture out in this weather, so am I....

As we get to the stables, the wind picks up and the rain is coming at us in sideways fashion. It's not cold though, and the fast moving storm clouds create an unreal atmosphere. I climb up on my trusty steed, and ready myself to get muddy.
The green hills around us spark the imagination of jungle creatures. We climb the rolling hills until we eventually summit. My fellow riders leave me at this point to do some ziplining but our guide and myself carry on.

We are going to find secret waterfalls.
Families of monkeys follow us from high up in the trees above. The rain has turned the trail into a slick waterslide, and I brace myself as our horses slip and slide down the trail. Eventually we tie the horses up to a hitching post and continue on foot.

A butterfly with the most stunning azure blue color on its wings follows me along the trail, eventually resting on my pant leg.

My guide tells me this is a good luck sign.
We come to two different waterfalls, both amazing in their own right. The best part is that it is only the two of us here. The quiet jungle sounds and falling water are the perfect morning symphony for my ears.
Our morning ends just as the rain starts to let up. We make our way back to the top of the mountain, and rest for a spell before our next adventure begins.