Read my latest, for the love of transit, as a guest blog over at Post Defiance.
"Like most Americans I drove a lot as a teenager. It wasn’t until I moved to Tacoma without a car while studying at PLU that I fell in love with public transit. Whether I was volunteering in Salishan, shopping at the Tacoma Mall, or just going downtown to have a drink, Pierce Transit was my lifeline. The sea of humanity I met on the bus brought me insight and kept me grounded while the bus itself gave me freedom…"
Well, I followed my own advice and picked up and went. Facing the daunting task of moving across the country to a new job, I carved out the time, found a ticket for a measly 40,000 miles, and a few dozen hours in bulkhead later, I was drinking beer and coconuts on the beaches of Rio.
24 hours earlier I was in the midst of frantic packing and cleaning of my apartment. My best bud in DC said, “you are the only person I know who is crazy enough to move across the country via Rio.” He was referring to the triangle DC-Rio-Seattle ticket I bought. So yes, in a move that would completely befuddle humans 50-100 years ago, and 95% of them today, I actually did move across the US via Rio. While by no means can I argue with the statement of my sanity, or lack thereof, once I was sticking my feet into the hot sand, leaving the snow of DC and the clouds of Seattle behind, I could not have been happier with my slightly, okay immensely, nutty decision.
My move home via the a week long stop on the beaches of Rio was a good reminder that sometimes we just have to plot, plan, commit and then execute in order to still pick and go in the midst of increasingly busy and responsibility filled lives.
My march trip to Rio was my second jaunt there in the last year. One of my best friends from childhood found himself an incredible woman in Brazil. My first time there was for their momentous wedding. The second visit was outside of the wonderful busyness of a big Brazilian matrimony. It was just me, my bud, his wife whom I’ve quickly grown to love like an old friend as well, and this truly astonishing city of Rio de Janiero.
Both trips I barely left the limits of the sprawling city that can take hours to traverse. I never saw a capybara, but I did run into an alligator, two large snakes, and more bare ass cheeks than I could ever count. In the weeks ahead I’ll write about what I learned, saw, and experienced during my two adventures and maybe even impart some useful information for your future World Cup, Olympic, Carnaval, or just sun searching journey to Rio De Janeiro.
Hanging with my friends at a “Bloco” (neighborhood street party) during Rio’s Carnaval.
As we grow older, our natural sense of adventure and spontaneity generally declines. Perhaps for a few, spontaneity is learned and grows slowly over time. But for adventure seekers like myself, I find that with age comes the happiness of adulthood, financial and time obligations, and a greater sense that to pick up go is harder than it used to be.
When I used to ski every weekend in high school, my bag was always sitting packed and ready. Saturday morning all I had to do was pick it up and I was on my way, perhaps wearing some slightly dirty fleece pants somewhere along the way.
Today, planning and preparing for skiing is a chore than takes time and energy days in advance. And I don’t even have kids! More often than not I’ll opt for sleeping in, drinking some really good coffee, and reading a book until 2pm on Saturday. I’ll do all of that with great joy, but weeks or months will pass and I realize I haven’t just picked up and gone somewhere, done something a little crazy, in a very long time (by my standards).
I’m only 29. I can only hope I’ve got a long healthy life ahead of me. There is a world to explore, hikes to be discovered, and beaches to drink on.
Travel puts life into perspective. It gets us outside of comfort zones unlike anything else. It challenges our cultural norms and makes us better global citizens and patriots.
As the decades pass, the life burdens increase, and there is no doubt to pick up and go becomes more difficult. Perhaps that is just all the more reason to make it happen, force the planning, save the money (or miles) and challenge ourselves and family to hop on a plane, climb a mountain, and in doing so, keep challenging ourselves.
Life is funny. An epic mix of ifs and thens. Seemingly random, a turn of events sometimes under our control, often not, lined up into a jumbled mass. A mess which we search, organize, and try to find meaning within.
Like finding our favorite pair of underwear in a pile of rumpled and tangled clothes.
Sometimes we have to tune out the noise. Put twitter aside. Turn off our overactive brains. Listen to the tea kettle boil and just experience life. Happiness…
and in getting the opportunity to be alive.
Remember the days when you could drink one of these and the mother of all hang overs would be cured. There are advantages to getting older and maybe wiser. The body’s response to alcohol the next day is definitely not one of them.
Only in #NYC can I get annoyed by every 15 min weekend commuter rail service. #waitingforthetrain #LIRR
After a long weekend of commemorating my nation’s declared independence by drinking local beer and tequila from Mexico, I decided a patriotic commute was in order.
Taking our country’s newest form of public transit I had a foreign-oil-free, surprisingly cool, and visually stunning ride. And it was one of those days I realized, wow, I live here.