May I Change My Mind? Part 2 of 2, in which I do!

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live.”

― Hans Christian Andersen

Part 1 of this “Colombia cities” blog offered a few hints as to how I learned to travel calmly in Colombia, where there was much that could have been difficult. With a week’s perspective, the challenges have faded a bit, and the beauty, newness and awe come forward.

I browsed the hundreds of photos that I took during our six weeks in Colombia, and offer the following gallery of favorites; hoping they summarize better than words the many things in which I found true delight during the journey.

Joyful Colors...

Joyful Colors…

Cartagena Mural...

Cartagena Mural…

Beach Beauty in Tayrona

Beach Beauty in Tayrona

Bliss...near Tayrona

Bliss…near Tayrona

Coffee Culture, Hacienda Venecia

Coffee Culture, Hacienda Venecia

Vista in Salento

Vista in Salento

Popayan Silouette

Popayan Silhouette

Guambino Gentlemen, Silvia

Guambino Gentlemen, Silvia

Just Look Up!  Gamboling Statues...

Just Look Up! Gamboling Statues…

Locks...

Locks…

Lusciousness Everywhere

Lusciousness Everywhere

People, colors, food, nature, art…you can find them everywhere; and everywhere different. So much to learn!

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Truly Seeing…

I didn’t think I’d enjoy reading on my Kindle during this trip, but necessity has forced, if not a conversion, then at least acceptance, that this is a good way to carry along the dozens of books I will read during a 3 month journey. Among the many books I’ve got, I didn’t realize that reading Dan Barber’s “The Third Plate,” would be so meaningful. It contributed the following quote:

“See what you’re looking at.”
Dr. William Albrecht
(1888-1974)
Soil Scientist, Univ. of Missouri

It’s the United Nations Year of the Soil, so I’m delighted that the desire to truly see what I’m looking at is echoed by one of the pioneers of organic agriculture…

Here’s some of what we’ve been seeing on our South American sojourn:

Wisps and Clock...

Wisps and Clock…

Faded Beauty

Faded Beauty

Soaked in color...

Soaked in color…


Oasis

Oasis

Reflection, Lake Near the Sea

Reflection, Lake Near the Sea


See what you're looking at...

See what you’re looking at…

A harmony of sand & sea...

A harmony of sand & sea…

Perched at the edge of the sea...

Perched at the edge of the sea…

Next, some big cities and coffee farms!

2015 and On the Road Again…

In 2014, we embarked on a journey to explore the world through the lens of organic agriculture, fair trade, small & local businesses (primarily food, beverage & books!). The ultimate goal is to find a spot that seems right for the next chapter, whether in the U.S. or abroad. And so, we’re about to set off again, this time for South America. Stay tuned…

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.          Jawaharlal Nehru

Indian Umbrellas

Indian Umbrellas

Practical Matters: A Place to Sleep

A well-spent day brings happy sleep.                                                                      Leonardo da Vinci

Ah, sleep!  Photos may be beautiful and my prose about the places we’re visiting I hope keeps you interested and maybe even thinking “I want to go there!”  – but let’s face it, we’re on a long long trip (Day 76!), and have to deal with everyday matters, such as – hmmm, where are we going to sleep tonight?

So, to get practical for a few minutes – we’re not on a limitless budget on this trip, so just how are we organizing a place to snooze when it gets dark?

Here’s the rough outline of our decision-making:

  1. If we have friends or family where we’re going, we ask them first if we can stay for a night or two (or three!)  Thank you, thank you to all of those who have hosted us on this journey! (L/B, E/S, J/S, R/C, L/B (not a mistake, there are 2!), C/C – you know who you are!) And, we look forward to reciprocating when we’ve figured out just where “ourspot” is, and have a place for you to bunk!
  2. If we’re headed through a national or state park, and the weather’s supposed to be fine (I am no longer a foul-weather camper), and we’re going to stay at least two nights (not worth putting the tent up for just one night), then, we’ll camp.
  3. No friends, family or camp?  We’ll probably check airbnb (https://www.airbnb.com), which we have enjoyed using over the past couple of years.  Check it out!
  4. If none of the above, we’ll research using Priceline (www.priceline.com/) or our remaining hotel points, and spend a night in a hotel/motel – of which we’ve seen the gamut on this trip so far.

STATS:  Over the first month of the trip, we spent 15 days with friends, 7 camping, 4 in airbnb homes, and 6 nights in hotels.  Haven’t yet had to sleep in the car nor bought an RV!  And are enjoying being part of what is called the “sharing economy.”  (For more on this, check out Tom Friedman’s recent editorial on this in the Sunday New York Times for July 20, 2014 – “Welcome to the Sharing Economy.”)

Off to Utah tomorrow…I know, I know, no word about our week in California and we’re already moving on.  Next blog, the Golden State!  Or perhaps, the challenges of posting blogs while on the road…

 

 

 

Shades of Pink…

“I am not a great cook, I am not a great artist, but I love art, and I love food, so I am the perfect traveler.”                                                                                      Michael Palin

Peaches

Peaches

Irreverance...

Irreverance…

Strawberries

Strawberries

Travel Equation:  Enjoy food + Love art + writing = My Sweet Life Right Now!

Back in the U.S.A.! Ahhh.

Glimpse of Mt. Rainier

Glimpse of Mt. Rainier

Ahhh, Washington!  The state, that is.  Now this is a place we could live.  We’ve been here many times, and seem to keep coming back.  That should tell us something.  But…we haven’t experienced the full range of seasons, and that’s a project we plan to undertake in the coming year or so:  identify those special places that we feel we might call “home” for a while, and then settle in each one of them for a trial run.  Not everyone is lucky enough to have that flexibility and we’re grateful that we do.  We blew through Washington this time, staying with friends in Seattle who are long time East Coast transplants, and excellent, practical guides to their city.  What did we find or reconfirm this time around?  Good coffee?  Check!  Great farm markets?  Check!  Water sports? Check!  Museums? Check!  And the list goes on, and on, and on.  Will Seattle or somewhere close by prove to be “our spot?”  Time (lots of it there, in the rain, and the wind, and the gray, and the sunshine…) will tell.

Seattle Farm Market Offering

Seattle Farm Market Offering

Street Art

Street Art

We followed up on a serendipitous meeting we’d had while in the Grand Tetons, where we met artist Ian McMahon, who had just installed “Cascade” at the Suyama Space (http://www.suyamaspace.org/installations/ian-mcmahon-cascade) in downtown Seattle.  We visited the installation of two fragile, beautiful plaster curtains, which were illuminated by the sun coming through ceiling height windows…curtains that draped like fabric yet were solid and lovely, perplexing, intriguing.

 

Cascade: Plaster Curtains Installation

Cascade: Plaster Curtains Installation

Art exploration was a theme on this visit to Seattle, where we encountered formal works like Ian’s, and found others – like the popsicle street sculpture and the fragile shattered window, below.

Shattered:  Street Window

Shattered: Street Window

We left Seattle determined to get back to the Lewis & Clark Trail, which we’d last seen in South Dakota, many weeks ago.  We headed south from Seattle, planning to rejoin the expedition’s path near the mouth of the Columbia River, at a place William Clark called “Dismal Nitch,” pretty much summing up how they felt as they finally approached their goal of the Pacific Ocean in late 1805.  No fresh food, rotting clothing, miserable weather, and a race to see if they could reach the coast before the final trading ship of the season had come and gone.  They didn’t.  A storm kept them confined to the north shore of the great Columbia, and they missed the ship, though as we know, the Corp of Discovery eventually did reach the magnificent shore of the Pacific Ocean.  Dismal Nitch was still kind of dismal in 2014 – we were there on a windy, misty, gray day, and we spent just a few minutes looking at the river and signage about the Expedition, then zipped across the river to Oregon and the Corp of Discovery’s Fort Clatsop – their winter home.  We were now in Oregon, where I (at least) have high hopes of making our own fortuitous discoveries!

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”   Martin Buber

Meditation…

Quote

Let what we love be what we do.                                                                                           There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.                         RUMI

Salt Spring Island Distant Storm

Salt Spring Island Distant Storm

 

Into the West…

Welcome, Wyoming!

Welcome, Wyoming!

Much of the drive across Wyoming was flat flat flat, with the glorious presence of vast cloud banks.  I’m reading “Open Road” by Phil Patton, and he says “At 65 miles an hour, experts say, the driver sees five times as much sky as at 45.  Roads are drunk with the principles of perspective.”  So far, so true!  We’re not home-hunting in Wyoming, but headed west for the Grand Tetons and more camping, so we we’re testing the 65 mph views (or better, as speed limits here hover around 75 mph and so the perspectives must be that much better!).

About the Clouds...

About the Clouds…

Though we’re on a local food/farm to table/craft-brewing oriented journey, we’re learning that “local” doesn’t necessarily equate to “good,” though it more than often does mean quirky or quaint, and usually “nice.”  The Broken Wheel Truckstop and Restaurant was a refueling station, with a basic truckers’ breakfast (we passed up on the steak and eggs) and kind waitresses who kept pouring the coffee.

Breakfast Spot

Breakfast Spot

On the other hand, sometimes local means both kind people with a mission and really really good coffee.  Being “West” also means they get to have some real fun with their branding.  I liked the cowboy-themed packaging of the Brown Sugar Coffee Roastery in Riverton, Wyoming (http://brownsugarcoffeeroastery.com/)  and their coffees are FairTrade USA certified too!  NOTE:  if you’re curious about why I care about Fair Trade, check out :  http://fairtradeusa.org/  for more about what Fair Trade means to the small growers and farmers around the world.  Also, my earlier blog about our visit to the Fair Trade/organic farmers in India might be of interest!

Howdy, Pardner!

Howdy, Pardner!

Primed by Brown Sugar’s coffee, and hours and hours of driving later, we gained our first view of our home (tent) for the next two nights in Grand Teton National Park.  And found there was a little more snow than we’d planned on!

The Grand Tetons

The Grand Tetons

A Little Snow...

A Little Snow…

Here’s where words, at least mine, can’t measure up.  Our hike around Jenny Lake…

And the Hikes!

And the Hikes!

And then, we were off to Boise, Idaho and a wonderful weekend of wedding celebration activities!  Was it the wedding and reuniting with friends, the farmers’ market and wonderful museum that gave us pause, and had us house-hunting?  More on this, next time…