Here we are, halfway through October. It’s been a bit over a month since my last post. In that time, we spent more time in Peterborough, New York City, Newport (Vermont), and Holderness. We socialized, we saw friends, saw family, had a good time. It’s starting to get cooler out, and we’re currently far enough north that the leaves have begun dropping in earnest.Continue reading “October in New England”
We’ve been on the road for a few weeks now, and it’s been pretty good, all told. Some highlights behind the cut.Continue reading “You can hear the crickets”
The short version is that Simone and I (and Cecil!) have put most of our belongings in storage, and have begun a grand sojourn around the country, with plans to stop at various destinations for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months at a time. Our first destination is Vermont, and we plan to be there for most of the fall (at least September and October, we’ll see beyond that). (Doesn’t mean the whole time will be Vermont – we’re definitely planning some day trips to other parts of New England, and a weekend in New York City to see a few friends. But it is where we plan to have our base of operations for the fall!)
The how is actually pretty straightforward: my job is very remote friendly, so barring the occasional travel day, I can do my job anywhere with a semi-decent internet connection. And Simone is in a remote-friendly graduate program, so again, nothing to hold us in one spot. So if you have that freedom, why not make use of it? I’m still working through all of this, which is also an interesting experiment, to see how I do keeping up with work while traveling. (And yes, they’re aware that I’m doing this and have my boss’s blessing.) Continuing to get paychecks certainly makes the traveling a lot easier!Continue reading “On the Road Again”
Rabbit Rabbit, y’all.
The usual apologies for not posting more frequently – it was certainly something I thought about, but just wasn’t in the mental headspace to do it. Some days the fields are a harvest, and some days they’re fallow. Both are important, though I feel better when it’s the former.
This week in Portland, there is finally a cold snap and some snow, and related posts about snowpocalypse. However, I’m not there. I’m in Hawaii, on the island of Maui, listening to the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore. I’m okay with this.
How, why, what? Well, the short version is that my brother’s girlfriend ended up getting hooked up with a week in Maui, and the place was big enough that they decided to invite me along. So it’s me, my brother, his girlfriend, and her kids.
While I recognize that it’s, y’know, during a pandemic, and I do feel a bit guilty about being “part of the problem” (so to speak), we’ve been doing our due diligence. Hawaii requires negative COVID tests, documented and certified by trusted testing partners, in order to not be quarantined and checking in daily for 10 days, which we did. One of us is even vaccinated (both doses). And at a certain point of stress and depression (and frankly the pure temptation of free lodging in Hawaii), you decide to take the calculated risk and do the damn thing.
The water has been warm, and ranging between 70 and 80 each day, with a nice ocean breeze. We’ve already seen whales breaching and playing, hung out on the beach, and just generally taken things easy. We have a list of things we want to do while here, but none should be particularly stressful. I was a little nervous about going (because pandemic, and related guilt about traveling during one), but being here has really driven home how much I needed this. I’m not actually unwound yet, but it’s kind of like when some background noise you’ve been trying to tune out finally stops — it’s only when you’re removed from the stress that you realize how much you’ve been storing in your body. I’ll get there (knock wood).
It’s been 18 years since I was last in Hawaii (last time was January, 2003). The last time I was here, I was 21 and engaged. It feels like a lifetime ago. I’m a different person now, for better or worse; it’s interesting how, while my experience is different, the place itself doesn’t feel that different to me. The timelessness of paradise, I suppose.
Something that has struck me (maybe because I’ve been thinking about such things lately) is how many people here are effectively acting like expats despite Hawaii being part of the same country — here as digital nomads, working remotely and riding out the pandemic. Between the cost of everything being notably different than the mainland, and the place really sort of having its own culture (both literally, as in the native Hawaiians, and more figuratively), it’s sort of the “lite” version of living in a different country. That’s just my outsider’s take, though — maybe the people actually living it would feel differently.
It’s been stupidly hot in Portland for the past week, so I opted to flee to the coast on Sunday, ending up wandering through Port Angeles, Washington, and Olympic National Park. It continues to be one of my favorite regions and parks that I’ve visited. I could totally see myself ending up out there, if I’m not careful.
Photos from the trip are in the gallery.
I’ve been in Japan for a few days now, and have managed to not die, starve, or even get lost (I’ve always had a good sense of direction, and while the addressing here is a little different, a quick glance at Maps to see how the streets are laid out has thus far been enough). It’s been fun! A few days in the Shibuya/Harajuku area of Tokyo, then took a Shinkansen down to Kyoto, where I spent today exploring the Fushimi Inari-taisha and surrounding area – not a bad way to spend your birthday. Tomorrow, I head to Nara. While there’s plenty to still see and do in Kyoto, it’ll have to wait for another trip.
I’ll admit, I feel a little torn. While I’ve been enjoying my solo adventure (always have, always will), I can’t help but feel it would’ve been great if I’d been able to line up a travel partner as well. Something to bear in mind for next time, I suppose.
One thing that sort of struck me when I got here: It’s easy to get drawn into the spectacle of a place, pseudo-mythologizing something because of the differences or wonder of the thing, but it’s so much nicer when you get there and are struck by the reality. People live here. The beauty of the mundane.
I’m hopping on a plane to Japan tomorrow morning, for 11 days of wandering around, looking at cool stuff, and hoping I don’t make too much of an ass of myself. I’m not bringing a laptop, but am bringing a camera, so there may be some photos when I get back.
I’m hoping to have some good long thinks while wandering, so you may see some posts (actual posts, not just linking to others)! Or I might end up radio silent until I’m back: time will tell. In either case, I look forward to seeing what y’all are writing/photographing/drawing/creating when I get back!
I’ve been talking about wanting to go to Japan for years — Japan and Greece were my go-to bucket list destinations going as far back as when I was 11. I still haven’t visited either of those countries, 25 years later, and it’s high time I corrected that. Just booked tickets for a trip to Japan for my birthday in April! I’ll be there for 11 days (well, I’ll be gone for 11 days, but 10 days there due to timezones and transit). My plan is to bookend my trip with a few days in Tokyo on either side, then take a train down to Kyoto and Nara in between.
I tend to look for quieter spaces, and I’m fascinated by a lot of the shrines and temples, but I’m also going to try and hit some other stuff (keeping an eye on tickets for the Ghibli Museum for instance). I’ve not done much foreign travel (and basically none to non-English speaking countries), so I’m a little nervous about it, but also excited to finally do this. Do you have any tips for things to check out or stuff I should prepare for in advance?