SUNDAY POST : Favorite Spot – RoadTrip

I will admit that when I first saw the theme my heart sort of sank.  I thought to myself.. how can a person whose favorite thing to do is go to new places and leave all the old behind have a favorite spot?  I really struggled with this one.  I used to love visiting my grandparents home because it was sooooo consistent and friendly.  Always good smells out of the kitchen.  I’ve loved beaches and mountains and valleys and deserts.  But one spot?  Really just one?  Impossible.

THEN.. I began to think of all the places I have been and how I got there.  Usually by car.  My favorite thing to do is travel.  Either air, train, boat or car but I’ve usually traveled by car. THEN.. I began to think of all the fun times I have had in a car.

Road trips with my family have been the one thing that has been consistent in my life.  Maybe it’s because my dad was a truck-driver and going on trips with him as a child was my favorite thing to do, I became a life time road trip fanatic.

Time spent in the car with my kids, my parents, my sisters.  Talking, playing road games, stopping at random lookout points or stopping for a cup of coffee or at a diner for a meal was such an adventure and even now planning these things excites me.  Staying in hotels or campsites and passing through small towns or giant cities or riding the car ferry and having coffee up on deck is exciting.  I can’t think of a more favorite (million spots).

Really, these things have been the cornerstone of my life.  My all-time favorite thing to do.  Falling asleep while someone else is driving and waking up to a new world.  The grand vistas from one end of the U.S. to the other. WOW!  My country is city, country, field and stream.  Mountains and valleys, rivers and gorges.  My country is majestic.  The car on a long road-trip is probably my absolute favorite spot.

“We are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.”
from Carson McCullers

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Another great theme this week Jake! You can go to Jake’s sunday post – and check out other blogs with great images he has posted.

Here’s how the weekly photo Competition works:

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. Show the world based on your interpretation what you have in mind for the theme, and post them on your blog anytime before the following Sunday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. Subscribe to jakesprinter so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS.

Travel Theme: Foliage

Being in Venezuela we don’t really get to see much of a season change so foliage here is pretty consistent.  I have included some of my favorite foliage photos from a variety of locations that also do not see much change in colors or types of foliage.  I hope you enjoy.

So get your best foliage photos out and celebrate leaves. If you’d like to join in, create your own post and call it Travel Theme: Foliage. Put a link to this page in your post so others can find it.

Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes.

Happy leaf peeping!

Closer to 50 than to 40 – I wish I had known Tacky

After reading John’s blog You Really Ought to Shut Up I was reminded of a time very long ago when I just got tired of myself.  I got tired of my voice, of the negative self-talk, of the drama that I would create in my own mind about everything and everyone around me.  I never felt good enough I always felt like I didn’t fit in.  My life really seemed to suck.

In my own defense I was about 15 years old and was probably no more self-absorbed than anyone else in my age group but it really felt like the world was out to get me.

One day I had just had enough and I was tired of feeling the way I did and was confused about why I felt the way I did and so I decided to conduct a little experiment.  I decided to become invisible.  I decided I would pretend that I didn’t exist and try for once in my life to actually see how other people acted and re-acted without me in the picture.  To basically “shut up” that inner voice inside my head that refused to let me believe that I was as ok as everyone else out there.

It started slowly.. I would softly and quietly fade into the background in social situations.  I would not comment on things or express opinions (as much as was possible for someone like me).  I would dress in a non-visible way.. in things that would not catch the eye of anyone.

I stopped talking myself into frenzies or in disrespecting ways.  What began to happen was that in my quietness I began to listen more, observe more, take in more and also I began to realize just a little more about what was really going on in my world.  Things I should have been noticing before, listening to before and acknowledging more before.

First thing I realized was that SOOOOOO many people sort of felt bad about something about themselves or wanted to change something about themselves.  Everyone had insecurities, dysfunctions, obsessions and possibly a multitude of other discrepancies that never shown themselves as blazingly as mine and yet they were O.K.  I wouldn’t have even noticed the problems of others if I hadn’t become invisible enough to see them.

I began to see that when a person made a mistake or embarrassed themselves people would notice more often than not but would get over it in an amazingly short amount of time.  NO ONE focused on the problems of others or the mistakes of others as much as the person themself did.

It dawned on me that NO ONE even remembered the time 5 years before when I tripped down a set of stairs and bit through my lip while at the same time dropping a tray of food I had been carrying which ended up spilling all over this very nice lady and ruining her dress.  NO ONE.  NOT ONE.   No one could recall the time I was giving a presentation in class and through nervousness burped and slightly farted at the same time.  I felt I could never live THAT one down.  The only time anyone even thought about it is when I brought it up.

My invisibility increased and slowly I began to realize that I was actually a decent person, or at least no worse than anyone else and without all of my personal insecurities and hang-ups people actually seemed to like me.  I was O.K.  I began to be less concerned with how others perceived me and slowly began to realize that my social awkwardness, misunderstanding of gravity and lack of coordination were just a part of who I was.  I had other “mad” skills in many other areas.  Still, this was not an instant recovery, it took years.  Even now I sometimes just have to tell myself:

At some point in my life, either through raising children or teaching, I happened on a children’s book who’s primary character was a penguin named Tacky.

Tacky is an odd bird who marches to the beat of his own drummer. He’s socially awkward, clumsy and eccentric.  He never actually fits in anywhere but he’s oblivious to that fact.   I like Tacky.

Some examples of Tacky’s situations:

Tacky, the penguin, and his friends, perform a play for the little penguins in Mrs. Beakly’s class, but with Tacky in the lead role, things do not go exactly as planned.

tacky_and_the_winter_games.jpg tacky_looked_mighty_tacky.png
Tacky and his fellow penguins on Team Nice Icy Land train hard for the Winter Games, but Tacky’s antics make their chances of winning a medal seem slim.

tacky_goes_to_camp.jpgTacky the penguin and his friends go to Camp Whoopihaha, where they scare each other by telling ghost stories around the campfire, never expecting that one of the frightening stories will come true.

The great thing is.. in every situation.. everything works out and usually Tacky becomes even more loved or at least more tolerated.

I wish I had known of Tacky when I was a bit younger.  Now that I am closer to 50 than to 40, my eccentricities (craziness), clumsiness and social awkwardness seem to be a little more accepted by others or maybe just more accepted by myself.  I personally wish there were more Tacky’s in the world.  Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think there are.

Be yourself, don’t take anyone’s shit, and never let them take you alive.

 Gerard Way 

“Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Albert Einstein

A Last Look Peru

OK.. this is it I promise.  My last pictures of Peru.  I know it seems I was there for a month but I do love to take pictures and share.  I flew into Peru on a Thursday night and back to Venezuela on a Tuesday afternoon.  The country was amazing and consisted of mountains, beaches, deserts and rain forests.  Much of the natural landscape has stayed intact as Peruvians have notably had less of an impact on their natural world than many other countries.  It is a place that often really feels like you are stepping back in time.

According to a tour guide, some of the earliest inhabitants arrived here more than 15,000 years ago and only began to spread out about 5,000 years ago.  The most important Peruvian culture were the Incas who lived in Peru around 600 years ago.  The Incas built Machu Picchu and many other religious grounds before being conquered by the Spanish in 1532.

There are many natural resources including Gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead and iron and they even have reserves of oil and natural gas.  Despite this fact this country remains one of the world’s poorest and the people of Peru often struggle just to find a job and feed their families.  It was an amazing experience and I do hope that I can return at some point to visit other areas around the entire country as 5 short days were just not sufficient to complete such a journey.

I hope you enjoy my final pictures and actually consider visiting this beautiful country as well.

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Cuzco, which has been called the ancient capital of Lima is situated about 11,000 feet above sea level in the Andes mountains.  When you travel here it is recommended that you drink coca tea or chew on coca leaves to alleviate altitude sickness.  I did this and didn’t personally experience any problems with the elevation but several people I know became ill with headaches, stomach upset and fever.

The city was beautiful and was filled with palaces, stone roads and side-walks and gardens and fountains.  There were 2 huge public squares that I saw and the towns people were always walking through them selling everything from pastries and chocolates to clothes and handcrafted toys.

Considering the era that this city was built, it is amazing to see how the stonework and aqueducts were so excellently handcrafted and are for the most part still functioning today.

An interesting Inca belief I learned about was how the Inca’s believed in an afterlife and so for each new emperor a new palace had to be built because the servants of former Incas had to continue to live in their master’s palaces to wait on them in the after-life.    For this, the city is covered with magnificent buildings and masterfully made.  I would call that job security but whatever.

The famous Temple of the Sun sits in the middle of the city and has 6 chapels built around the central courtyard.  The stones that constructed the chapels were covered with sheets of gold which now causes them to nearly glisten in the setting sun.  While I was there I saw at least 2 religious “parades” where hundreds of townspeople followed a raised cart holding Jesus on a cross as well as other banners.

In the past, Cuzco was the seat of government as well as a city so it was constantly filled with all forms of armies, priests, messengers and on and on.  Every month there was a religious celebration that caused the square to become even more crowded.  Today the crowds persist, but are more often than not people such as myself only interested in viewing what remains of the entire area.

A massive fortress that once guarded the city which you had to pass through and pay a toll still exists in structure but not in function. All in all it was a city very beautifully situated in an area rich in history and ripe for exploration.  Like most historical areas I have visited, I feel if you are planning a trip here you should do it soon before regulation and destructive tourism reigns havoc on the beauty it currently contains.