First sights, smell, taste and touch of the Pacific Ocean after 2009 Cross Country Adventures
Pardon The Paradoxical
Also pardon the month late 2012 review. The new year has seen much new.
The travel adventures of 2012 and the months previous brought more than just life lessons and adventures. It was a more than a time of experiences and friendships. This year brought those kind of moments when you stop dead on the trail, your tracks abruptly veering off the carefully laid route, because previous experiences signaled new opportunities and adventures just off the path.
A year that brought me the highest of highs and the most precarious of lows. Sometimes these came intertwined as they did in my cross border escape from Bulgaria into my long cherished Istanbul, a literal expression of my flight from a country and continent that still held most of my emotional world, challenging travel experiences and beloved travel partner of the previous few years.
The time in Istanbul was amongst my most marvelously bewitching experiences. A mash-up of many firsts, new sensations and a recent bewildering loss. Even when I recall my time there I cannot see past an emotional fog that blocks a clear perception of what I experienced. Fleeting images of the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque are visible perhaps only for the great significance they held for me, knowlagable in their symbolism and cultural significance in the long history of the region. Evenings spent meandering the crowds on Istiklal Avenue and silent traipses along The Bosphorus book ended my chaotic mornings traversing the packed trams and bustling streets in search of typical tourists must sees.
The delineation of the European and Asian continents, a focal point for the clashing of cultures amongst the ages made for a fine end of a European adventure and a travel relationship. Perhaps even a bit foreshadowing of events for the coming year.
In his book The Innocents Abroad Mark Twain sums up his thought on the city of Constantinople in 1867.
“A street in Constantinople is a picture which one ought to see once--not oftener. “
I do not agree with this sentiment, but that was the words from another time. Another Istanbul of one million rather than 15 million inhabitants. Before the urban sprawl of the automobile, democratization of it's government, under a rule of the Ottoman Turks, Twain expressed his thoughts through the American eyes and mind of the time.
For me Istanbul was exactly what it needed to be, a point of inflection, in my travels, my life and future.
Coming To Terms
All love is correct. Sometimes love makes demands of the body, mind and heart that cannot be reconciled with the realities and limits of life and our own selves. Whether real or imagined, self induced or a product of life lived these demands must be realized.
Just as travel taught me lessons on how to make the most of unforeseen changes to travel plans on the the road, overcome the challenges of near constant change and countless new environments, it also pushed my limits of comfort to a previously unknown level. It still had one lesson left to teach - the challenges of love on the road.
These challenges can be daunting, but they are worth the experience. Travel can change you, open you up to new experiences and people, thoughts and ways of life. It can shake you to your core with dread and doubt, dropping you into despair, fear and loss only to inflate you to awe inspiring heights of thankfulness and sense of wonderfication (yes, wonderfication) at the sheer amazing potential of the world.
It is this world which I choose to live in. A world I have steadily marched slowly towards over the years, a healthy sprint sometimes here and there. Other times I jumped into the pool of adventure and life when it was deemed appropriate.
It is this world I choose to live in - where love, life, travel and adventure intertwine in ways where I fill my own soul with what life has to offer. Where I can fill myself to the point that I have to share my experiences with those around me least I feel less whole.
It is this world of love I chose to live in, going back over the past several years. A world of love and relationships that took precedence over personal and professional growth. A world where I learned, for a time the responsibilities and challenges of parenting. A world of various relationships where I learned the trials of partners battling addiction and substance abuse.
This world where love and life is challenged in both the the settled domestic life as well as travel abroad. A world that led me to traipse around Europe funded almost entirely on the dime of my travel partner and move across the entire breadth of the US to be near.
Oh, the things that we due for love. The sacrifices Dayna and I both made for each other, the experiences we had in our travels both abroad and state side, the lives we led will always hold significance for its lessons we both learned and growth we achieved from what we learned of ourselves.
This is something of importance that one must take pause on and note what worked and what did not. One must learn what they wish to have in life, what is most important to them and reflect on their own personal strengths and weaknesses. Travel was the most significant way marker and cherished ingredient in this travel seasoned concoction of a life.
And to that end an indelible experience that will always be remembered. A closed book with many chapters dedicated to inspiring travel tales, personal human struggles and life long memories. Perhaps a short tale and much like my writing, verbose, though with an epilogue of completion where each party in the adventure ended up where they needed to be. A natural ending where life led them to where they belonged at the end of their journey.
My theme for the better part of 2012. What are un-expectations. They are just that. It is not a life devoid of expectations, but rather a life of focused progress and growth, while leaving a door open to managing what ever may come your way. A managed way to embrace life perhaps.
One does not merely sit and hope for change. That is the providence of preachers and politicians. The hope of sidelining your own active participation for obedience and conformity.
Coming to terms with the delusional limits we (the royal we) sometimes place on our own abilities has been telling. I often find these are merely self imposed and too often wrong. And naturally rightfully so. Security is, well secure. Have you ever listened to Float by Flogging Molly?
“Ah but don't, no don't sink the boat,
That you Built, you built to keep afloat”
This balance of the possible and the dependable. Dependability can be mended and maintained, tended to like a garden. Possibility merely asks you to give up the former. The balance is hard to maintain and the Devil is in the details of managing the two.
And boy that Devil can be an elusive slippery one!
Un-expectations for 2012 have led me to some interesting experiences. Professional connections, clandestine trysts and completely unexpected life surprises buttressed a rather stoic life. See a managed way of embracing a more spontaneous life. More on these later, or never. I haven't decided yet.
Moving Forward In 2013
An exciting year and I so decree. Moving forward both personally and with Wanderlusting is going to be an exciting challenge. The specifics will have to be saved for another post, but I am optimistic and inspired.
Functionally one rather substantial change must be overcome. I am now firmly planted in the Capital Region of Albany, NY for some time. With this new reality both Wanderlusting and my own personal life must adapt. This means a refocus on travel in the Capital Region and surrounding Northeast of the US. Sounds good to me. I love this area. It's an old haunt that carries memories and ghosts of the past. I know it well enough, plus the Hudson Valley has just been named on the National Geographic's 20 must see places list of 2013.
This means I will seek to develop relationships with local businesses, tourism boards and bloggers in the area. Speaking of bloggers the capital region seems to have a functioning blogosphere, though focusing on business blogging and tech blogs. Not surprising for an area, with a rich history in engineering and industrial innovation and a growing tech presence.
I'll be planning on some blogging conferences and courses on the use of Drupal, such a Drupal in a Day classes in Albany. http://training.acquia.com/course/drupal-day Speaking on the topic of Drupal, I'll be putting the finishing touches on my Drupal Blogger Distribution. Don't worry, distributions (more correctly in Drupal parlance a Distribution Profile) is just a Drupal term for package of useful stuff bundled together to make deploying a website easier.
Atop that list is finally focusing on my photography (also backing up photos so I don't loose them when my computer crashes and backup system fails) and acquiring some decent equipment to capture all those memories. To film in HD is something to relish. Now only to learn the proper equipment for balance of quality and reasonable price.
Incorporating some Drupal live streaming awesomeness would be icing on the cake. Something I've been looking to incorporate for well over a year now, should be much easier in the US than abroad.
On The Personal And Blogging
Development as a more forthcoming person, overcoming my INTP Meyers-Briggs personality has been daunting in terms of relating to those I meet in my travels. To battle the contemplating introvert inside makes flexibility and embracing the unknown genuinely, a continuous learning process. A process akin to Gnarfling the Garthok, on a more earth bound level.
Honesty and truth are important trait for a blogger (if not the most essential trait). For what else do I or any blogger share their experiences in life. Is this therapeutic? Yes too a certain extent, but writing for myself is still a rather daunting process. For those more correctly termed writers, this form of expression is more natural, or at least flows more easily. Writing can be taught, though it seems some are just gifted.
I don't make the mistake of considering every blogger a writer, for they are not. However it is equally true that not every writer can be a blogger. If you think this is incorrect I would just ask that you peer around the blogosphere and come to your own conclusions.
What I am is apparent. What I can be remains to be seen though I don't limit my sights or conversely lay claim to any labels too liberally. For me I am most comfortable with terming myself a Blogger.
To this end of the ends for 2012, 2013 shall be a year of personal growth, new adventures in love, shaping a personal and professional growth inspired in the adventures of travel.
I leave you with one of my most inspiring songs by one of my favorite punk bands for they capture better in song what I lack in the pixelated word.
Next Upcoming posts
The Devil Is In The Details 2013 Resolutions.
Learn what the last year has taught me in an upcoming list of Lessons From Travel 2013.