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Still Unraveling...

There I was, standing below the giant rainbow flag on Normal Street, at the San Diego Pride Festival, one speck in a sea of colorful revelers celebrating diversity and inclusion, when out of nowhere it happened.  I spotted the next group in line to march their way down University Avenue during the hours-long annual parade.  It wasn't a float with boom-boom-booming dance music, three-quarters-naked buff men, or a surprising corporate entry (Wal-Mart?!) that got to me.  That would have been too obvious.  Instead, it was the sight of the San Diego Police Department awaiting their turn to march--probably two dozen men and women in blue smiling, laughing, waving small rainbow flags--that sent a happy shiver down my spine and cued the waterworks from my eyes.

My first Pride in San Diego after moving here a month ago was not expected to be much of an emotional experience, at least not by me.  After all, having been out and about for 18 years now, I was not new to this scene.  It was not m…

Sitting Still

I've been reflecting back a lot lately, more so than usual.  Maybe it is the Mercury retrograde, or that I just have too much time on my hands, but I can't help but want to take closer note of where I have been.  Life as it has transpired during these past several months, even years, feels more like a random collection of moments than a linear journey with some clearly established, finite goal at the finish line.  Amazingly, this feels like progress. 

I don't look at things the same way anymore.  I can see how the pieces all fit together, how they make up the me that I know and love, and yet the individual episodes don't quite flow together into one coherent series.  Instead, it's incredibly choppy, beset with fits and starts, stockpiled with joys and sorrows, rife with depression and elation.  It's sort of like one minute I am traveling the world, exalting in each snapshot of newness I encounter, and the next minute I would prefer to sit quietly in my home an…

Walking the Path

I have been on the road for a month as of today and it is time to break the silence. A few highlights:

I walked 220 miles in 2 weeks. I did so without much prior knowledge of the Camino de Santiago, the historic trail that runs across northern Spain. I thought I had the right shoes for such a trek, but the opposite soon became apparent. I got blisters. Lots and lots of painful blisters, mainly on my left foot. It was not always fun, and very often it was tiring, but it never failed to be interesting or thought-provoking, and I can say with certainty that I am glad to have had such an experience and would not have had it any other way.

I slept in rooms with as many as 12 other people, even resting for a night in a dark, ominous cave that became known as "The Death Chamber". I ate bread. Lots and lots of delicious European bread, sometimes crusty, occasionally dense, and always shoved down my throat at record pace. I fell in love with bocadillos, the Spanish sandwiche…

Aloha and Beyond

Leaving places has become a bit of a standard for me throughout my adulthood.  Part of the fun (if it can be called that) of growing older is noticing the patterns of behavior that wind through the colorful threads of story that make up life as we know it.  For me, moving places and then leaving at a certain point is one of them.  Doing so on a whim, or with trust, or with whatever you choose to call it, is another.  Wringing all the juice out of each spot along the way and then setting sail for another land, another port of call, a new spot on the map: been there, done that.  It's a thing for me I suppose, and I would say I am as comfortable doing it as anyone else I know.  Dare I also say, I may have even gotten pretty good at it.

As I prepare to leave Hawaii in the morning, I can see how this pattern, this restless thread, has run through my life since before I can remember.  I have always had the wanderlust.  I never used to know what it was called.  Now I know.  I have been c…

Portlandia

Portland is my kind of city. To start, it isn't just bike-friendly. Oh no--it has something approaching bike worship going on. The residents of this cozy little part of the Northwestern US take great pride in motoring around sans motor, with bike lanes in every direction and a surplus of signage (a la Amsterdam) directing you here and there on your two wheels. There is even a cycle path alongside a major freeway: Why should gas-guzzlers be the only ones able to escape the city life and head to the mountains on a whim?

But truly, escaping is not something top of mind for Portland's inhabitants. There is a palpable sense of enjoyment permeating the air, a Portlandia joie de vivre if you will, that is easy to acknowledge and even easier to get swept up in. Life here is quirky and simple and exactly what Portlanders want. You know this not because everyone is rushing in with glowing testimonials, but because they actually don't have to say a word. The smiles, the eye c…

Another Year of Practice

I have not officially gone on record with any New Year's resolutions this year.  That itself is something of a first--I typically love to start fresh, wipe the slate clean and plot a new course no matter what area of my life I feel needs some sprucing up--but I just cannot come up with anything in particular for 2014.  Focusing on one little aspect of daily existence doesn't seem enough.  Instead, I have been been examining what it is that I am committed to in my life.  What do I spend my time doing every day?  Are those commitments making me happy?  Am I making time for things that lift me up or am I frowningly trudging through too many lost minutes, days, and months?  In taking on this little science project, I have been trying to be as honest with myself as I possibly can.  That is no easy task.  I imagine nobody wants to admit that they don't particularly care about what they are doing for a living, or that they seem to be repeating past lessons over and over again tha…

Throwback Thursday, European-Style

Snaking my way across Spain on a leisurely, half-empty passenger train bound for Madrid, I am shocked just how quickly the hours can pass without one single thought of boredom entering my mind. I pass a good portion of the time staring out the large square window to my right, taking note of the endless expanses of green and brown land, dotted with nothing more than farms here and there and the occasional small city or town popping up rather infrequently. The sky is blazing blue, clear and stunning. I'm feeling it. I like Spain. And having spent three days exploring (and slowly falling in love with) Barcelona, I can say with confidence that five total days in this country will likely serve as nothing more than a sneak preview of a longer visit that will happen at some point in the future.

As for Madrid, for so long now the capital of Spain has served as an important benchmark in my discussions about Europe, a giant "X" marking the spot of the last stop on this epic…