Sunday, June 23, 2013

Day 2&3 PHX-->LHR-->JNB Musings from 35,000 ft.

Days 2 & 3 - Musings from 35,000 ft.

As long as we are on the road together, I'd go anywhere with you. 

Written onboard a flight LHR-JNB with the sun rising over the African savannah. I think I can nearly hear the  lions roaring 35K feet below.

I know that it may sound crazy, but in many ways I was just as excited for, if not more excited to spend a whole night and day in Arizona with the man that I love before departing together for Africa. 

The idea itself seems crazy to think that for the next 25 nights, he and I will be curled up side by side in our sleeping bags listening to the predawn bushveld come alive. A small mattress the only thing separating our backs from the ancient African ground wrapped up in his arms, I feel safe, powerful, and unaffraid despite the fact that right outside of our tent there could be a leopard or spitting cobra waiting to say good morning. 

This is how I imagine it to be. Of course this is pure speculation at this point as I am nestled cozily next to my love into a window seat on British Airways flight 057 from London to Johannesburg watching the morning slowly awakening the world below.

Honestly, I'm not quite sure even what day it is as I stated before that time has sort of become obsolete and  this journey is better measured in segments of travel. So this is part 3 of 4, only one more leg to go before we reach our final destination of Windhoek, Namibia. 

Part 1 of 4 was my flight down to Arizona to spend the night with D, soaking up one another's presence as it had been nearly 5 weeks since we last saw one another. In the morning we drank coffee and sorted through our gear, repacking, shuffling items around, and stopping every so often to look up at one another and say "Babe, we're going to Africa today" just to feel those words roll off of our lips in an effort to convince ourselves of the reality of what lies ahead. Without much effort, by 3 o'clock the bags were packed and everything was in place for our departure. Shockingly, we even had a little time remaining to sit on the cool ceramic tile next to our bags and sip on a cool gin and tonic. 

As D and I have the utter misfortune of living 1,500 miles apart from each other, the time that we do have together is limited and precious. So for us, sitting side by side on a 10 hour flight with nothing to do except talk, hold hands, drink free international flight cocktails, and watch movies together felt like a gift from the universe which we squeezed every last minute from. Sleep, who needs sleep?! 

In the afternoon of Day 3, we touched down at London Heathrow International Airport for an 8 hour layover. D had arranged for his mum, dad, and sister to meet is in Coventon Garden in central London for a traditional British meal of fish and chips and a pint of beer in a proper English pub. Having never been to London or anywhere else in Europe really, I was ecstatic to hear the "cha-chink" of the friendly custom's official stamping my passport, granting me access to explore a new country even if only for a few hours.

We hopped on the tube, which you must pronounce as "choob" as not to sound like a tourist, and made our way into Central London past all of rows and rows of quintessential brick flats lined up along the way. I couldn't help but look for a jolly dancing chimney sweep hopping from roof to roof, singing as he skipped across the rooftops covered in soot. After about an hour or so, we popped up out of the tiled station and I found myself standing in what looked like a perfectly accurate London movie set! The tiny wet streets were packed with young, fashionably but sometimes oddly dressed Londoners, dodging black taxi's and red double decker busses as they went whizzing past. There were street performers on every corner showcasing their fondness for metallic paint and sitting in awkward positions for long periods of time, jugglers, and even one man who had an incredible talent for playing a giant orange traffic cone. 

After a lovely meal of fish and chips with D's family we headed over to the pub for a pint of beer. I chose a local IPA and D had a local Bitter. Unfortunately our time was very limited and we only had time for one before we had to hop back on the "choob" and make our way back to Heathrow. I am really looking forward to my return layover in London as I will definitely make the trek back into town and do a short and dirty sight seeing mission. Shameless selfies abound!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Travel Day 1 SEA-->PHX

Kissing my pups goodbye
Making my way to airport #1
The sudden jolt back into my seat, the roaring of the engines, the subtle and anxious sigh of passengers around me. The twittering of thumbs, the deep inhales of nervous passengers, the anticipation of being suspended in flight catapulted  towards your next destination. I love takeoffs. As the engines came to life, my heart rate increases and fighting back the impulse to be calm and normal I thought "being sling shot into the air is remarkable! Do not be complacent!" So I looked out the window, across the laps of my fellow passengers, and watched as the raindrops streamed horizontally across the windows as we gracefully became airborne.

I'm sitting in the aisle seat next to two men in row 14. The man in the middle is large, white, with flush cheeks. Super nice guy. Simple. I asked him if he'd be more comfortable in my aisle seat but he politely delined. I sense my reasoning for asking him to switch seats has something to do with the man in the window seat.

He is dark, intelligent looking, respectfully dressed, donning worldly jewelry which expresses to me that he has a hunger to experience life. As the rain streams across the window and the engines gain speed, his fingers start to quiver. His thumb begins to thump out a beat on the top of his other hand and his fingers follow rhythmically, playing an imaginary tune set to the tone of the roaring engines. He is not complacent. He loves takeoff as much as I do. The moment the wheels break free from the forces of gravity his lips release a low and beautiful hum. A salutation and appreciation for the incredible experience of flight. He looks out the window with the same hunger for life that I do upon takeoff, eager to recognize the earth from a new perspective. 

As the plane levels off, his fingers regain composure as if suddenly self conscience of their moment of unsolicited freedom and they tighten up around each other, afraid to express openly and freely their true purpose.

I'm not one to interfere on another's personal moment, but I am curious and I hear a voice inside remind me to be present in the moment. So I lean across the man in the middle and inquire as to my suspicion. "Are you a guitar player?" I ask. He's smiles and says in broken English  "Yes, I solute this city. This is good city"

I've seen this subconscious act of channeling energy many times having grown up with a brother who taught himself to play guitar. Ive always been envious of people who feel the pulse of the world, the energy radiating through every atom, and do not regulate their expression of Self. I love how without even knowing it, people's bodies will respond and react to what they know and love, interacting with the world around them without even a consultation of the mind. 

I ask the man where he is from and he tells me his home is near Bombay. He looks out the window again, seeing Mt. Rainier peak out above the clouds and with a genuine smile on his face, like he knows something that he is not telling me, he remarks "those mountains....nothing like them. I have been in the Himalaya and there is nothing like them." I am thrilled to be sitting next to a native of India as it is a place in the map which has always enchanted me.

After chatting for a bit, I excuse myself to go stand in the lavatory line before becoming trapped by the impenitretable wall of the beverage cart. On my way, I am nearly run down the aisle by a frantic flight attendant who desperately needs to make a call on the intercom. She nervously requests a doctor or any other onboard medical personnel to identify themselves. An eerie silence falls across the passengers as two EMT's  and a nurse rush forward to an unconscious passenger seated 3 rows ahead of my vacant seat. The man eventually awakes, surrounded by his medical caregivers and seemed to be fine but it was a nerve wracking couple of minutes to say the least. 

As I sat back into my seat, focused on the team of flight attendants and medical personnel asking the man a series of questions and  inquire if anyone onboard has a glucose meter, I cant help note that he is younger than me when I hear him respond that his date of birth is July 14, 1982. He'll be 31 on the day that I return from Africa.

With everything seemingly under control, the beverage cart began its slow and painful journey down the aisle again and with a glass of the plane's finest red blend in hand, I offered a toast to my fellow travelers in row 14 and said  "may we all have safe and healthy travels!" The guitar player from India looked at me with wisdom in his eyes and said "I've got some heavy duty dates, that will give his blood sugar  (pumping his arm) what it needs! That man, ...He needs to slow down. (Taps his head) You never know.....He need to slow down"

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Think I Will Make My Way Towards Africa

After many months of anticipation and frankly a bit of disbelief that this would actually come to fruition, I am officially on my way to Africa! Namibia to be more precise where I am volunteering as a driver for a photography and biology study abroad course. For the next 25 days I will be traveling with 9 students, 2 other drivers, 1 camp boss/cook, and the love of my life. Unbelievable. I think I'm still in a state of disbelief but it's starting to feel a bit more real as I am sitting on the ferry with my two packs next to me on the first of many legs of this journey. I love to think of my travels in terms of the mode of transportation one takes along the way to arrive at their destination and as far as I can speculate, the next 4 days of travel should look something like this:

Car-->ferry boat-->walking-->train-->airplane-->car-->airplane-->train-->airplane-->airplane-->4x4 right hand manual drive safari vehicle!!

This will all occurs along the following one way route:



Monday, June 17, 2013

Lovely Quote for a Monday

Every struggle that we relax out of, every disowned part we reclaim, every relationship we bring more honesty to, every inch we expand into self-acceptance and genuine compassion, every single breath that we infuse with trust is truly a gift to ourselves, our lineage, and the entire human collective. Want to upgrade the world at the blueprint level of consciousness? Start with, and keep returning to, your personal world.
-Joshua Levin

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dinner with a View

As I mentioned previously, it's nearly summer here in the PNW so that means its time to throw on your sweatshirt, mittens, fleece, and enjoy your dinner outdoors! Here is how my friend Roxy and I dined al fresco tonight at the beach with the western view. Simply delightful ;-)
Rollin' with my homies to the beach
 The Hood Canal
 Two sticks - Mega talent
 Drop it.  Bad dog, Lola

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Patiently Waiting for Summer

Early June in the Pacific Northwest often means grey skies, cool temps, and damp blades of grass. The entire region buzzes with anticipation, waiting for summer to arrive. I'm reminded of this anticipation as I sit here on my couch this Saturday morning dressed in a beanie, sweatshirt, and wool socks with the doors wide open just waiting for a break in the grey. It will come. I'm certain of that. But until it does, I will simply have to revel in the beauty of summers past. 
 Farley Boy in the garden
 Lola enjoying a late afternoon siesta
PNW summer fields
Nothing more American than enjoying a hot dog at the fair
Seeing a living legend in concert: Willie Nelson!
 The coolest dude I know
 Making bouquets with my gorgeous nieces
Summer bounty
 I will never get bored with this view
 Fishing for salmon with my Dad
 My Dad
Another spectacular day on the water

Monday, June 3, 2013

Surviving Monday Through Fresh Eyes

Sometimes the mere thought of waking up on a Monday morning and going through the motions of routine is daunting, even when you love your job as much as I do. Monday, just another regular old work day. Regular. Boring. blehhh!
So before I even opened my eyes I decided that I would make the day anything but regular. I wondered what it would be like to go through my normal routine with fresh eyes, seeing things for the first time, seeing life where I normally just passed through. Challenge myself to notice and revel in the beauty which surrounds me. Live in the moment and savor the new experiences. Here is how I turned a regular, boring, normal work day into one filled with excitement, adventure, and beauty.
What a lovely day for a boat ride

Every day I look for whales as I commute on the ferry. I look for them and am disappointed that I never see them. Until today, I had never noticed these whales which I walk beneath on a daily basis. I never noticed them because they were not what or where I expected them to be!
I am fascinated by how much I see but don’t notice because it’s not what I’m expecting.
Today, I saw whales!
Decided to bust out of my routine to see what I could see. Walked a new route to experience something new.

It’s a big wide world and there are infinite new experiences to be had. You just have to be open to them! Love this sign in the window along my new walking route to work.

I look at this guy 5 days a week, toiling away as I walk to work. I’ve always wanted a picture of him but never taken the moment.

Same with this manhole cover. I see the beautiful design everyday and wish I had more time to look at it. Today, I stood in the middle of the intersection at Pike and First Ave. for at least 30 seconds studying the details. 30 seconds is a long time to stand in the street.

A random and wonderful experience from years ago! One worth having again soon.

Being a tourist in Seattle isn’t possible without walking though the fish stalls at the Market

The sight of the Market fresh flowers never gets old
With the new enjoyable journey to work complete, I look forward to exploring more at lunch!

Lunch Stop #1: For lunch I decided to try someplace I’ve never eaten at before. I was partially successful with this beef empanada from the tienda!
Lunch Stop #2: Jack’s for some cioppino. I’ve actually eaten here twice before but both times it was with people that I love and the soup is great so what’s the harm in trying it solo? However, like so many things in life, I think it was better experienced with someone else’s company. Still totally delish.

Lunch Stop #3: almost. Thought about stopping in here for a coffee but I KNOW that this place is better experienced with the one I love. I savor the memory but will save the experience to share with him again.


A good reminder that I need to get my road bike up and going soon! Another topic for another adventure on another day!
Tourist in my Own Town Day continues! After work I found myself rushing down to catch the ferry in the same old way I always do. The dilemma: catch the boat or take my time seeing things in a new way and wait for the next one? My love set me straight and said to catch the later boat without a doubt. Solid advice, thanks babe!
Walked a new route along Post Alley and saw these striking sculptures
If not why not? I’ve never ridden the Great Wheel before so today is the day!
And there goes the early boat
Brilliant! The grinding of the gears, the swaying of the cars, the subtle rhythm of the rain, shrouded in mist.
And now I want to ride that trolley!
Solo Ferris wheel riding creeper
Solo Happy Hour? Would. Never. Except for today! Cheers to the nice solo accountant sitting next to me who though my adventure day idea was awesome ;) Without taking my ear buds out and initiating conversation, that moment would have passed.
Something new! The ferry captain told us we’re having mechanical difficulties so we won’t be disembarking anytime soon. Oh well, I guess I’ll sit here and enjoy the view a little and scan the horizon for more whales.
So grateful for a day of new perspectives, experiences, and memories because I chose to look at the world with fresh eyes. How you live your life is largely a choice and chose to enjoy it to its fullest today!