Are You in Love With Where You Are? How to Keep the Travel Magic.

There comes a time when you know if the magic has gone out of a place.

Or when the magic of a new place calls out to you.

The thrill of fearlessly delving into the exploration of a new place produces a kind of “high” in my mind that many of you can probably easily relate to. It’s a kind of thrill that can’t be achieved any other way. The act of truly studying an area that draws you in, exploring it’s hidden places, with caution at first and then confidence, like a lover beholding his love for the first time, revealing avenues of beauty that were heretofore never imagined.

It’s entirely possible to fall in love with a city, or even a building. (If you haven’t yet, it’s likely that the reason is due to the fact that you simply haven’t been to enough places yet.) And as I look back at the last few years, I must admit I was enamored with the city of Madison for a while, perhaps even idealizing it at times, but now that magic has gone away.

Perhaps I know that city too well. Or perhaps I’ve moved on, but I have reached a peace with it, and for that I am grateful.

Do we ever really know why we fall out of love? I mean really know. I’m not so sure.

Perhaps it was merely infatuation with the city, for we know that infatuation can never last. With humans, this “puppy love” phase either proceeds onward to a more thoughtful kind of love, or it falls apart into something that we don’t call romantic love. I can’t help but think that my relationship with cities, however absurd it may sound to you, isn’t so different sometimes.

You see, I have these memories, so many memories, of uncovering small mysteries, things that felt like messages hidden within the city. Memories of visiting the top of the Capitol Building with a good friend and seeing the entire square spread out before us, or the time I discovered a small, hidden pier along the shore of Lake Mendota. Quiet moments snapping together like magnets.

Once when I was cycling south from Tenney Park, I came across a small, laminated note hidden inside a bush telling me that, yes, I was welcome to the berries along the trail but not to make new trails as that would crush the daylilies nearby.

For some inexplicable reason, the feeling of that day flashes back to me now and then. I have innumerable memories of exploring that city, but my unconscious mind seems to mark that memory with a strange level of significance.

A Pretty Lovely Lady

Yet all of these are merely memories, tools I may use for my own journey of expansion and self-knowledge, just as your memories are to you.

Have you ever felt that a place was calling out to you from a great distance?

I have, and do. Yes, it’s true, I have yet to post-process and release 100+ photos of my life-changing East Coast Adventure, and you will see those. Rest assured, they are all in the queue. But these Wisconsin days have gotten to me, and I feel the call to move on. All will come in time… in time.

If you’ve been reading this site diligently, you already know where my eyes are set, don’t you? It rhymes with “Good bye! Eeee!”

RIGHT. I’m going to Hawaii in just a couple months.

I’m not going to say I’ve fallen in love, or that this will be easy. Good friends of mine are here, but I no longer see a long-term future for myself in Wisconsin. Sure, I haven’t even met Hawaii yet, but she definitely seems like a lovely lady, even from a distance. And she calls to me. Even more importantly, my intuition is giving me a green light on going there. (Although it stubbornly refuses to give me any indication as to how long, so I’m going to play it by ear. I’ve committed to 2 weeks, but we both know it’s going to be for longer than that.)

Here’s the thing: it’s not just that there aren’t any guarantees anymore. In truth, there never were. “Security” is always an illusion. We can create a measure of it in our minds, but it never exists anywhere else. It is purely a mental construction, a war waged with ideas.

Perhaps the reason we don’t know why we fall out of love is because we don’t really understand how we fall in love in the first place. So how do you keep the magic? Simple. You follow your intuition, run it through your heart, and then run it by your mind. When all are in agreement, you know you’ve got something.

Consider where you live now. Your space, your location, is the result of the sum total of many decisions you’ve made. It can be changed if you desire. Empty out every thought and breathe the air you’re in.

Are you in love?

Nudged to Bloom: When Following my Intuition led me to Radiant Flowers

At last!

I reveal my Summer Chicago Adventure.

In the coming weeks, we’ll explore the Chicago Museum of Science & Industry (MSI), revisit The Bean, explore the Lincoln Park Zoo, see an incredible view of the entire city from the John Hancock building, visit the Buckingham Fountain at night, and (most importantly) experience the lovely band She & Him live at Millennium Park. But today, we start with two truly photogenic surprises I found on my way to MSI Museum and the powerful metaphor behind that experience.


There’s also something pretty special about this article that is not immediately apparent. This is the first article that I’m writing the majority of with OS X Mountain Lion’s dictation feature. The only downside of this is that I have to double tap the command key every couple sentences to continue speaking, but it’s not actually a big deal because I take a moment to consider what I’m going to say next anyway. 🙂

It’s pretty amazing, really. It’s accuracy is easily over 95% which is impressive considering you don’t have to train it to your voice. Who knows, with this technology perhaps I’ll start publishing even more than roughly 4000 words per month I now write for this site. (Actually, I’d love to know if you can tell any difference in my writing style based on this change. Feel free to let me know in the comments.)

Okay, enough about that. Let’s get on with the story.

Another Action–filled Adventure

It had been fully seven months since I’d been in Chicago. (The last time I had been on the way back from a massive West Coast adventure.) And now, finding myself back, I was reminded at how lovely Chicago is in the summer. My first destination was the Museum of Science & Industry, which I soon learned was basically on the opposite end of the city from where I was staying on the north side. So getting there by public transportation from the north side was going to take about an hour.

Not that I’d have it any other way though. Not only is driving in Chicago frustrating, I’ve been making a conscious effort to reduce the amount of CO2 and carbon monoxide that I put into the air, using a bike or public transit whenever possible. I do this partly to set an example and partly because I know that every little bit counts. And I found Google Maps on my iPod to be especially indispensable in knowing which train and bus to take this time around. (Thanks Google!)

On my way to the L-train station, I was shocked to find some beautiful periwinkle and pink flowers along the sidewalk. Even though I wanted to squeeze in as many hours in the museum as possible, I just had to stop and photograph these gorgeous blooms. (Pictured below.)

And when I reached the downtown loop I was surprised to see an old Chicago landmark being cleaned. The Old Colony Building, a beautiful 17-story building that was the tallest building in Chicago when it was built in 1893, was being power washed just below me when I looked down from one of the L train stations.

We Bloom Gradually

Even though this may sound strange, I’ll say it anyway. The more I travel, the more I get the sense that the universe itself has some kind of safety net under me. (I’ve certainly had my butt saved more than once.) But it goes beyond that. Sometimes I even feel guided to make a certain turn or slow down, sometimes discovering a story where I expected nothing, and the journey itself goes even better than I anticipated.

There’s this idea I’ve been turning over in my mind lately. The idea that nothing is permanent. That when we gain higher perspective, our level of worry goes down dramatically because we realize that everything truly is temporary. All pain, all confusion, but also all that we see. I realize that this idea is thousands of years old, but lately I’ve been finding more and more connections between this idea and the idea of travel. If we believe, if we realize, that life itself is nudging us in the direction to promote our growth and our unfolding, we can follow those intuitional nudges with more confidence, resulting in some incredible experiences.

And my experience at the museum was nothing less.
More on that, and much more, coming up soon.

Truly, we bloom gradually as we mature, but that blooming is more beautiful than a thousand desert roses.


Periwinkle and Pink flowers

Periwinkle and Pink flowers macro

Huge Power Transformers on pole

Irving Park L-Train station

Old-Colony Building being washed