I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself.
One of the items on my Things to Do Each Day list is to read a short story or essay. I've found this a valuable addition to my day. On my To Be Read bookshelves and chair side tables I have way too many unread collections of short stories and essays - Best of series, food and travel essays, OHenry and Pushcart volumes. When attempting to read them in one setting as I do a novel or non-fiction book, they overwhelm me. They also never get my full attention when only picked up here and there. Nor can I remember which parts I've already read.
Focusing on one book at a time and one piece of writing from it each day has rendered a most satisfying experience. At present I'm reading the Best American Travel Writing 2014, edited by Paul Theroux. I've vicariously been held prisoner in Somalia, fly fished for dorado in Brazil, and ridden a Greyhound bus across the US. I've reread a lovely essay by David Sedaris about a family gathering on the North Carolina coast and hung out in New York City, Bombay, Paris, Sarajevo and a host of other locations.
Today I enjoyed a piece by Thomas Swick entitled A Moving Experience. It talks about his perspective as a travel writer. Much to ponder in this essay, but one observation he discusses is how lonely the travel writer can be. Yet in the solitude, he becomes more aware.
Apropos as my real-life travel today involves a solitary walk, a list in hand. A couple weeks back I ran across a blog entitled Made With Love. The Sydney based writer, Greenthumb, posts a monthly-themed Scavenger Hunt for photos. The hunt sounded like fun and today was my day to attempt it.
Having just read Swick's essay, certain lines remained in my mind. "... freedom from distraction; when you're by yourself, you're more attuned to your surroundings. Less discussed, but just as important, is the fact that, alone, you're also more sensitive. You not only notice your surroundings more clearly; you respond to them more deeply."
Perhaps that is why I often find perspective when I walk or go someplace alone. Or find myself in tears with my thoughts. Or discover marvels while sauntering that I never would have noticed if I only looked down the road and concentrated on sweat. (Could also be why my Active Minutes on my Fitbit rarely goes seven minutes before a stop.)
At the end of his essay, Swick stated "It was in Lisbon that I discovered the secret of travel writing, which is also the secret of memorable travel: you approximate, as best you can, in the short time allotted you, the life of a local."
Join me. Today, you get to be a local on Impala Isle. I hereby present my February Scavenger Hunt. Twelve photos: Flowers, Love, Number, Something Beautiful, Your Favorite Color, Bird, On the Road, Tap, Price, Heart, A Corner of Your Home, and Whatever You Want
Found while alone. Shared with sensitivity and deep joy.
|From my sweetie. (And not much other than store-bought available in terms of color in February.)|
|Took three walk bys to get this photo of mama and baby. Baby kept sliding into the lake.|
My Favorite Color
|Any shade of blue. Aqua, too.|
On the Road
|Gonna figure out something to do with these one of these days.|
|Tree for sale|
|Nothing to say about that.|
A Corner of Your House
|Gotta spy on the world from somewhere.|
Whatever You Want
Anyone else up for a Scavenger Hunt? Click on that Scavenger Hunt camera in the righthand column to find Made with Love. Most fun.