Travel makes the world look new, and when the world looks new, our brains work harder.*
Even travel that takes us only a short distance from home.
When I travel with my camera, even just across town or into the woods, I look at everything differently. I focus on small details. I see patterns and contrasts. Mundane items have new appeal. I make connections. I remember.
*Quote from Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. This book was a perfect reminder that creativity is earned and learned. It's a habit. The blogging I used to do was more about unfolding ideas and sharing pieces than a day-to-day account of my life. It was not facebook.
One of Kleon's suggestions is to "give away your secrets." I think that's what I try to do by sharing ideas and pieces. These aren't dirty secrets. They aren't even big secrets. They are small, but still worthwhile.
This fall, beginning to take part in a two-year leadership program, I have already learned a few things about myself:
I've never been afraid to do things on my own, my own way, but not loudly. I usually prefer going unnoticed. But in doing so, I may also limit my chances for new friendships, close connections and shared experiences.
I'm not sure what the solution is, or if there needs to be a solution. Just a few thoughts to save for later.
Sitting on a park bench in Dublin, writing in my journal about the wealth of green in the grass and shrubs and damp trees. "The smells of fall and decay and cold are everywhere I love to come out of variously odd-smelling buildings into the crispness."
Taking a break between museums.
Enjoying a respite between colds.
Probably better rested than in previous days, after buying earplugs to drown out the sounds of Temple Bar glass bottles being sorted at 11 every night and metal kegs rolling down the cobblestone street at 6 every morning.
Contemplating the course of our group's travels at that point, north from London along the eastern edge of England, all over Scotland and most recently on a long, rainy three-bus trip from Belfast to Dublin.
Realizing an appreciation for the art of Jack Yeats.
Still high on the wonders of Iona, and yet to encounter the glory of the Aran Islands.
All the unread emails in your personal inbox are from yourself.
You have so many stacks of paper and documents on your desk at work that you can't focus on a single task with any real determination.
You keep adding items to your to-do lists, without crossing off anything.
You're annoyed that a stomach virus keeps you in bed for a day, preventing you from doing your planned weekend chores.
You really, really miss your hot tub, which is currently waiting for a replacement pump.
I love my hair.
I don't have any debt.*
I'm happy with my body.
I am confident in my intelligence and abilities.
*I could write a whole post about how it seems acceptable to bemoan (or almost brag about) the amount of debt one has, while it seems un-American to live within or below one's means. Aside from my new mortgage and small loans from family (quickly paid back), I have never been in debt. I've never had a huge salary, but when I was young I learned to save money and only buy things I could afford.