Travel is food for the soul


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Last year, our friend Jay turned 50 and wanted to celebrate his birthday by coordinating a trip to Europe, specifically Spain & Portugal, and see how many friends he could get to go along.

Tina and I are always up for Europe, so we agreed to go along. Jay’s partner Miles also tagged along, as well as our friend Michelle, who’s done a lot of business in Portugal and Spain, and she’s kind of our designated tour guide.

Tina and I started the trip by spending a week in France on our own. We landed in Paris a week and a half ago, did a quick tour of a few places we’d never explored. Paris, while awesome, is not our favorite thing about France. While it gives us a chance to practice a little French, the life there is usually too fast (slow in American terms) and there are way too many touristy things to get caught up in.

We are used to city life, so it doesn’t really appeal as much to us.

So this trip we planned for four days in an area of Aix en Provence with a home base in Bonnieux, which is a gorgeous town on a hillside.

It was one of my favorite trips to France, mainly because we stayed in one place for a four days. In the past, we’ve been moving moving moving. Two days here. Two days there. It’s just too much airports or trains or rental cars.

I felt recharged and good by the time hit the Marseille airport again and headed to Lisbon. We ended up finding an Uber, because the cab line was crazy long.

I fell in love with Lisbon by the time we exited the airport parking lot. It’s kinda dirty and not as pompous as Paris. It has a kind of third world flair, like the Philippines or somewhere in Asia, but you’re in Europe. Someone probably won’t appreciate my Philippines reference but whatever.

All the people we met the first couple of days were VERY (almost EXTREMELY) nice. And not in a deceptive way. But in a genuine and kind way.

Of all the European experiences I’ve had, Portugal has been one of my favorites, in the sense that, I would tell everyone who hasn’t adventured overseas that Portugal is fucking rad.

We also took a train trip to a little area called Sintra, which was extremely touristy and so exhaustingly busy that you take a train to wait in line for a bus, to wait in line to buy tickets to a palace, to then find out you need tickets to a shuttle.

We landed in Barcelona, Spain yesterday. Our apartment is amazing. Our group is exhausted from traveling. So we kind of did our own thing last night and everyone’s ready to start the day today.

There are negative things that happen while traveling, too. Like Tina opened a sliding glass door too fast and almost took off her middle finger. She had a large gash and a flappy piece of skin because of it. With the exhaustion of travel and the shock, she almost hyperventilated. But we got through it. And now she thinks she will always remember Bonnieux France thanks to the scar she will have because of it. It’s like a tattoo on her middle finger.

One time in NYC, we were talking to a Nepalese man in his little shop that we stumbled into while looking for B&H Photo. We ended up chatting for a long time, and he told us how important it is for him to send his daughter on trips. “Travel is food for the soul,” he said. It’s always been the tattoo that I never got.

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France in a nutshell


Today is actually our last day in Lisbon and we’re headed to Barcelona this afternoon. Here’s a super quick, down-and-dirty video I threw together of our time in France.

Enjoy!

Optimism


 

Created for The Universe in Verse 2018, curated and hosted by Maria Popova.

Context and poem text: brainpickings.org/2018/05/14/jane-hirshfield-optimism-kelli-anderson-animation/

Poem: “Optimism” by Jane Hirshfield, read by the author.
Film concept by Maria Popova and Kelli Anderson.
Papercraft animation by Kelli Anderson.
Music: “Optimist” by Zoë Keating.

More and more I have come to admire resilience.
Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam
returns over and over to the same shape, but the sinuous
tenacity of a tree: finding the light newly blocked on one side,
it turns in another. A blind intelligence, true.
But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers,
mitochondria, figs — all this resinous, unretractable earth.

The happiest guy in the world


 

Meet the happiest guy in the world.

Sort of.

Is he happy?

What kind of person takes a cruise not for a week or a month, but for the rest of his life? Meet Mario Salcedo, who says that nearly 20 years of nonstop cruise ship living have made him “The Happiest Guy in the World” — though the truth of that claim may be in the eye of the beholder. Read the article here: https://nyti.ms/2HRa7BY

From the article:

For nearly two decades, Mario had been living out of his suitcase, traveling extensively for his corporate job as the director of international finance at a multinational corporation. He spent more time in and out of hotel rooms scattered across Latin America than he did at his home in Miami. After working nonstop for nearly 21 years, Mario — burned out — decided it was time to pursue a lifelong goal: to travel around the world, without leaving home. In 1997, he quit his job, packed an even bigger suitcase and quietly disappeared from the lives of his friends and family to pursue a new life on the open water.

Would you be happy?

 

Reunited and it feels so …


 

Over the weekend, I flew out to Portland, OR to visit my best friend, old studio partner, and professional photographer Bill Whitmire who moved out there with his wife Mer to live closer to nature and live in a super cool town.

I documented as much as I could and put together this TraVlog of the experience.

Portland is a great place filled with quirky people and surrounded by lush green, mountains and coastlines. There’s great food and bars.

We went out to eat on Saturday night to one of Bill and Mer’s favorite Mexican joints, but it was Cinco de Mayo and it was crowded as hell. Top it off, the restaurant was like a lot of places in NYC, super small with only a few tables and a bar for eating.

We noticed the staff was bringing trays to a neighboring bar, so we ended up sitting across the way and enjoying the food and having a beer outside the place.

When we ordered our food, Bill said, “If you have to use the bathroom, you should use it here. The bathrooms are really cool.

So I went to the bathroom, which was through a door in the back. Like crossing through the wardrobe into Narnia, I walked into the back of a strip club, where a woman was on stage, topless, in a thong, and waiting on stage for her song to begin. It was awkward, because it was a bit shocking, but also because there must have been technical difficulties and the person running the sound board couldn’t get a song to play.

I watched for a few seconds, laughed to myself, and used the bathroom.

When I got back to Bill and Mer, I told them how cool it was, but I got kicked out, because I started recording the topless dancer with my cell phone.

“Nooooooo!” they both exclaimed.

“Of course I didn’t.”

We all laughed.

Portland is a GREAT town!

Enjoy.