Eight Things I Learned From Travel

Originally posted on Life After Liquidity:

Travel Cover

As I write this post I am sitting in the Caltrain, passing through various suburbs of the San Francisco Bay peninsula on my way to the city. It’s comforting to be surrounded by so many familiar sites once again.

My wife and I have had quite a journey: 17 countries, dozens of cities, and countless airports/train stations/bus stations. We’ve witnessed both staggeringly beautiful phenomena (Northern Lights in the Yukon Territories) and horrifying moments (a mob beating up some dude in the streets of Istanbul) along the way. Fortunately, my wife and I came out the other end of our trip completely safe and with a lifetime of memories.

I’ve delayed writing this post as long as I could; it’s been taking me a while to process what I’ve learned from this trip. The short answer is: a lot.

I may not be able to cover all the lessons I’ve learned…

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Suicide and the Narrative of Choice

Originally posted on bottomfacedotcom:

Whilst reading about the tragic death of the great Robin Williams I repeatedly stumbled upon the narrative of choice. Places like Psychcentral spoke about suicide being an “insidious choice”, but a “choice” nonetheless, so much so that they repeated the word to drive the message home. Meanwhile, whilst perusing social media I repeatedly came across variations of “people who commit suicide are selfish”, “how can anyone do that to their family?”. These sorts of comments make me twitchy. We’ve all heard them before.

In my own case they were personalised and weaponised, “How could YOU do that to your children? Do YOU not care about them?” I did, that was the problem. For some time I had felt like a millstone around the necks of my family. I loved them, but hated myself and could only see the ways I made their lives worse. After 2 failed suicide attempts in…

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The Power of Two: A Photo Essay

Originally posted on Steve McCurry's Blog:

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work.
If one falls down, his friend can help him up.
- Ecclesiastes 4

INDIA-11482Jodhpur, India

DSC_6015, Turkish Tourism, Turkey, 2013. Couple walking on the street.Istanbul, Turkey

CHINA-10223Shanghai, China

One’s not half of two;
two are halves of one.
- e.e. cummings

AFGHN-12678Afghanistan

FRANCE-10056, Lourdes, France, 1988Lourdes, France

Grow old along with me
The best is yet to be, the last of life,
for which the first was made.
Our times are in his hand who saith,
A whole I planned, youth shows but half;
Trust God: See all, not be afraid!
- Robert Browning

MACEDONIA-10004Macedonia

SPAIN-10051 (1)Spain

TIBET-10983Tibet

The couple is time recaptured,
the return to the time before time.

- Octavio Paz, Nobel Laureate in Literature

ITALY-10485Italy

CAMBODIA-10304Cambodia

CHINA-10231 (1)Hong Kong, China

FIJI-10013Fiji

AFGHN-13988Kabul, Afghanistan

YEMEN-10061, Yemen, 1997Yemen

TIBET-10100NF3Tibet

Brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet.
– Vietnamese Proverb

YEMEN-10065NFYemen

Words are easy, like the wind;
Faithful friends…

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10 Ways to Know You’re a Writer

Originally posted on Stories are the Wildest Things:

You’ve wondered, right?

You’ve asked yourself this question many times and you’re reading this post to find out, “Am I a writer?”

Like a hypochondriac checking out WebMD for signs and symptoms, you scour articles and blog posts for the telltale signs and symptoms that you’ve got what it takes to declare yourself a writer.

I do, too. That’s why I came up with this list of 10 Ways to Know You’re a Writer.

After reading the list, click on the links to the other great blog posts and articles that relate to each of these ideas.

Please leave me a comment about which symptoms you come down with most often, or add some new ones of your own

You Know You’re a Writer if…

10. You take really long showers because you’re working on a writing problem or your fictional characters are having conversations in your head and…

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Lake Tana: Battle of the Hippos and Papyrus Boats

Originally posted on Thirdeyemom:

In the Amhara region of northwestern Ethiopia lies Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia and the source of the Blue Nile. Flowing over 1,500 kilometers, snaking through Sudan, the Blue Nile joins the White Nile and is one of the world’s longest riverways. Lake Tana is a mystical place where time and history run deep. Nothing on that lake is more sacred than its flotilla of papyrus boats gliding across its waters like the wind.

Lake Tana Ethiopia

I had read about the papyrus boat fisherman in Selamta the in-flight magazine of Ethiopian Airlines. The article “Papyrus and Lake Tana” captivated my imagination of this mystical land and inspired me to get out of bed at the crack of dawn despite my jet lag and fatigue.

I rose at dawn to the muezzin call to prayer reflecting off the shores of Lake Tana. Although it was almost pitch black, I jumped out of bed in…

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The Intersection of Beauty and Sorrow

Originally posted on Margot Page:

(The following essay is an excerpt from an unpublished book.)

The small aircraft, just a silvery glint in the blue Vermont sky, rapidly grew larger as it approached the county airfield in Bennington to make its descent. The stiff breeze swung it slightly from side to side before the wheels touched the tarmac, once, twice; then on the third contact, it settled solidly on solid ground and slowed dramatically. At the end of the runway, the Piper Saratoga turned to carefully taxi back to the cluster of people waiting near the hangar.

As it rolled to a stop, the propellers died and there was a flurry of activity in the cockpit. Through the cockpit windows, mirrored sunglasses flashed. As the co-pilot unbuckled the seatbelt and moved swiftly to the back of the plane, the pilot threw open his door and jumped out to secure the plane’s tires. After a minute…

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Photos and Videos from This Weekend’s Hawaiian Cultural Festival

Originally posted on Pacific Island National Parks:

Visitors watch hula dancing this morning at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. (NPS)

Visitors watch hula dancing this morning at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. (NPS)

This weekend is the Hawaiian Cultural Festival and 53rd Anniversary Celebration at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. To see more photos and videos, be sure to visit the park’s official Facebook Page!

Visitors learning how to weave floral leis. (NPS)

Visitors learning how to weave floral leis. (NPS)

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