Friday, September 10, 2010

Let's Move On People

"We have made progress. There is still work to do." - Carlos Guiterrez

I love the NY Times... I buy into it's place in our world as the paper of record and I especially love the Travel Section. Since I'm all into travel and dreaming of seeing exotic places and yummy restaurants and lovely beaches and all that comes with that. So I pull up today's edition and I'm delighted to see the title, "36 Hours in Charleston, SC". Especially since my travel companions and I are discussing a trip to the fair city of magnolia and moonlight. So I click on the article, excited to share their suggestions with my buddies, and what does it start with?


I am southern born and bred... generations going back to the times of verandas, mint juleps, and slavery. Granted, my ancestors were the white trash on the wrong side of the tracks but we were here, gosh darn it. I have an accent... I tell people I'm fixin' to do something... I like sweet tea and biscuits... I know how to make a pecan pie... I dress for church, showers, teas and football games... I eat fried chicken when I go to my grandmommy's house... I eat peaches, pecans, and peanuts in various forms... I revere Vidalia onions (and I know how to pronounce it correctly)... I ask people "how's your momaenthem"

BUT NOT ONCE, NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER IN MY LIFE have I worried about the Civil War, contested it's outcome, or even thought the South was wise in their stance. I was taught differently and I was also taught not to live in the past. As were my friends... and sisters... and classmates. Very rarely will you run across a relic who participates in the re-enactments of the war battles or who knew their families role in the war. The rest of us? The South which still lives strong? We have MOVED ON...

And guess what? We'd like the rest of the nation to acknowledge that fact... Instead of prefacing every positive article about the south with a reference to that blip on the timeline of our country, how about you just acknowledge the positive and we have good things down here. Talented people and wonderful places worthy of visiting and experiencing... Delicious food, talented sports teams, temperate weather, beautiful beaches, good music, and yes, fabulous restaurants with chefs worthy of national recognition. You can give us that without mentioning the civil war, we'll let you. Without mentioning the Civil War, which by the way, was fought on both sides of the Mason Dixon... And we'll even thank you and tell ya'll to come on back now, ya hear?

How would you like it, if everytime we wrote about NYC, we mentioned the dirt or the gangs of New York ? Or everytime we wrote about Boston, we brought up the Tea Party or the weather or the war of 1812? Would it make sense to you? So much has happened since the Civil War and, like I've already said... We've moved on.

Charleston is one of the most visited cities because it's done a great job of preserving the beautiful and intricate architecture of a different time... it hasn't done this to aggressively preserve a past or a history that it should let go of, at least not any more than Paris or Brussels or Prague or San Francisco or any other of the great cities of our world. Charleston (and several other southern cities... Savannah, New Orleans, St. Augustine to name a few) maintain walkable cities and place importance on preservation rather than destruction and the latest fad. It's not a reach back or an attempt to live in the past but living with the future in mind and living in a sustainable way. So feel free to write about it or any other southern city with grace and confidence knowing we've all acknowledge the history of these cities and we're looking brightly to the future of our cities, our states and our nation as a whole.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Traveling through Words

"The more that you read, the more things you'll know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." - Dr. Seuss

My only goal when I go on vacation is to read as many books as possible as this is my favorite pastime and hobby. I'll read anything just to be reading and relaxing - my father says this is the way I escape from real life. I think that's probably partially ture but I don't think it's the worst option out there. So when I hit upon a great book - one that truly captivates and enthralls me rather than one that's just a way to pass the time, I like to make sure to give it some attention.

So I completely lucked out on my current vacation at SGI as one of my friends is a librian and he brought a bag (A WHOLE BAG!) full of books and I've enjoyed a new selection each day.

Today's choice, Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English by Natasha Solomons is a book so beautifully written with an endearing and touching story from WWII about German refugees who try to assimilate within to the English lifestyle. It's a touching story about the frustration of feeling "outside" of your life and the people who are around you. It's based on Mrs. Solomons' grandparents and their experience of moving to England, she dedicated the book to her grandfather and the recipes included in the novel are from her grandmother's kitchen.

I gorged on this book today, unable to put it down at any moment, reading as I moved from the sun to shade, from outside to inside, from downstairs to upstairs. I wanted to know of Mr. Rosenblum's journey ended, what happened to Sadie, if the wooly-pig appeared, if Elizabeth learned to love her German heritage, and now, knowing of Natasha's connection, how the family survived and prevailed into further generations.

It's an easy read and entertaining with great characterizations of English country men, their myths and their history. You feel for Mr. Rosenblum as he struggles and studies the English to assimilate into their country and culture, fighting against prejudice and circumstance of the second World War while his wife, Sadie struggles with her husband's ambitions. The ending is both delightful and heartwarming. It's a definite "must-read".

And I'm delighted to read on the author's website, she's currently working on a screenplay for this wonderful story. Looking forward to seeing the characters being brought to life.

Footprints in the Sand

"And I'll carry you, when you need a friend, You'll find my footprints in the Sand" - Leona Lewis

This post is coming from the top deck of a gorgeous home on the beautiful, idyllic St. George Island off the forgotten coast of Florida, courtesy of my good friend Allison and her mother. For the past couple of days, we've layed in the sun, cooked fresh seafood, admired the wildlife and the sunsets, played games, read alot and have been lazy. I've loved every moment of it.

And we're here for a week! So far, this morning, I've gotten up, put on my swimsuit, lathered up in sunscreen, eaten breakfast and it's only 10am... After this post, I have the tough decision of snoozing in the sun by the pool or walking down to the dock to lounge. Life is rough right now, wink, wink.

For those of you who've never heard of St. George Island, please allow me to fill you in. It's a small, resort free island at the end of the Apalachicola River and National Forest and it's one of the most ecologiacally diverse and significant natural areas in the Southeast.* It boasts 22 miles of gorgeous white sand beaches and there's only a small commercial area with an inn, some restaurants, and some small shops. Centrally located is the historic lighthouse, alerting fisherman of the barrier island, and providing the only building taller than 3 stories. Most of the island's buildings are single family homes which see the same families return year after year to rest and relax in a safe and easy atmosphere.

I'm looking forward to visiting the state park which occupies one third of the island as a nature preserve and collecting the gorgeous seashells from the pristine beaches. Last night's menu was shrimp 'n' grits, the night before we delighted in the captain's platter at AJ's and I know I have some Apalachicola Oysters in my future. Excited for what else the week will bring.

*according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection

**all pictures in this post were take with a Nikon D90 and edited with Lightroom2

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Adding to the List

"Travel Light - prejudice and preconception are unnecessary baggage" - Unknown

I've posted my list before on here and I've found some new places to go. So I'm updating it here. Hopefully the next time I update, it'll be to cross some off as well.

  1. Visit the world's only pub inside a tree (South Africa)
  2. Eat at Giolitti - one of the oldest, family owned gelateries in Rome (Italy)
  3. "Fly" through the rainforest (Costa Rica)
  4. Stay in an Ice Hotel (Norway)
  5. Stay on a working dude Ranch (USA)
  6. Go on an African Safari (Kenya)
  7. Visit the Outback (Australia)
  8. Hiek Cinque Terre (Italy)
  9. Go Dog Sledding (Sweden)
  10. See the Northern Lights (Sweden)
  11. Ice Skate in Rockefeller Center (USA)
  12. Walk the Great Wall (China)
  13. Eat Sushi (Japan)
  14. Deliver postcards from the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)
  15. Ski the Swiss Alps (Switzerland)
  16. Christmas at the Biltmore (USA)
  17. Camp at the Carvaza Gas Crater (Turkmenistan)
  18. Visit the other Georgia (Georgia)
  19. Drink wine in Bordeaux (France)
  20. Dive off the Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
  21. Watch the Changing of the Guards (England)
  22. See the Running of the Bulls (Spain)
  23. Sail the Strait of Gibraltar (Spain/Morocco)
  24. Ride a Camel (Egypt)
  25. Ride the Orient Express (Eastern Europe)
  26. Celebrate Oktoberfest (Germany)
  27. Celebrate Carnival (Brazil)
  28. See elephants paint (Thailand)
  29. Tour the Sewers (France)
  30. Learn Spanish (Spain)
  31. Walk Abbey Road (England)
  32. Hike Brooks Range (Alaska)
  33. Celebrate Easter at St. Peter's (Italy)
  34. Ride the Moscow to St. Petersburg wide gauge railroad (Russia)
  35. See the Gigantic Carved heads of Easter Island (Polynesia)
  36. Play Blackjack in Monte Carlo (Monoaco)
  37. Float down the Amazon (South America)
  38. Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Dublin (Ireland)
  39. Trek through Karakoram (Eastern Europe)
  40. Snowmobile (Finland)
  41. Sit on the Lawn at Wimbledon (England)
  42. Walkt the fabled Bund in Shanghai (China)
  43. Take cooking classes in Paris (France)
  44. Shop the makret at Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)
  45. Watch the sunset over Machu Picchu (Peru)
  46. Take Surfing Lesson (Australia)
  47. Take the Chunnel from London to Paris or vice versa (England)
  48. Eat street food in Bangkok (Thailand)
  49. Ride the train down the Malaysian penisnsula from Bangleole to Kuala Lumpur (Asia)
  50. Journey along the Silk Road (China)
  51. See the Acropolis of Athens in the moonlight (Greece)
  52. Tour the ruins of the "rose-red city" (Jordan)
  53. Ride the Chihuahua-Pacifico railroad (Mexico)
  54. Swim with the dolphines (New Zealand)
  55. Spend Bastille Day in Paris (France)
  56. See Stonehenge (England)
  57. Attend a Venice Biennale Art Exhibit (Italy)
  58. Fish for wild trout (Scotland)
  59. Shop the yearly sale at Harrod's department store (England)
  60. Sail into the harbor of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
  61. Stand at the Wailing Wall (Jerusalem)
  62. Visit Peace City in Hiroshima (Japan)
  63. Visit the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg (Russia)
  64. See the Royal Jewels (England)
  65. Walk Milford Track (New Zealand)
  66. See the Sydney Opera House (Australia)
  67. Taste vintage Port (Portugal)
  68. See Angel Falls (Venezuala)
  69. Snorkel Bora Bora (Polynesia)
  70. Walk the Hall of Mirrors (France)
  71. Climb the Harbor Bridge (Australia)
  72. Tour the Kremlin (Russia)
  73. See the Viking ruins & runes (Greenland)
  74. Watch the sunset from Capitoline Hill (Italy)
  75. Visit the Valley of the Kings (Egypt)
  76. Ride through the Panama Cannal (Panama)
  77. See the remains of the Berlin Wall (Germany)
  78. See the Rosetta Stone (England)
  79. Stand amoung the Tulips (Holland)
  80. See the fountains of Vill d'Este (Italy)
  81. Ride double-decker buses around London (England)
  82. Hike the Grand Canyon (USA)
  83. Visit Lake Baikal (Russia)
  84. Visit the Turtle Sanctuary (Seychelles-Africa)
  85. See the David (Italy)
  86. Tour Jane Austen's country (England)
  87. See the Flamingos at the Lake Ngorongoro Crater (Tanzania)
  88. Float the Sepik River (Papus New Guinea)
  89. See the hieroglyphoc stairway in Copan (Honduras)
  90. Set foor on the Ho Chi Minh Trail (Vietnam)
  91. Drive on the Autobahn (Germany)
  92. See the Danube (Czech Republic)
  93. See the Great Sphinx (Egypt)
  94. Visit the Blue Mosque (Turkey)
  95. See the Paelolithic art in the Caves of Altamira (Spain)
  96. Eat Limburger cheese in Limburg (Belgium)
  97. Stand on the grounds of the first Olympics (Greece)
  98. Tour the Baja (Mexico)
  99. Take a class at Oxford (England)
  100. Stand at the beaches of Normandy (France)
  101. Drink a Manhattan in Manhattan (USA)
  102. Swim with the Whale Sharks on Isla Holbox (Mexico)
  103. Experience Vaugan Town (Spain)
  104. Protect the Sea Turtles' Nesting Grounds (Greece)
  105. Kayak the Galapagos (South America)
  106. View Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)
  107. Hike the Incan Trail (South America)
  108. Eat my way through the Iowa State Fair (USA)
  109. Pet a Hemingway cat in Key West (USA)
  110. Cross a glacier on foot (USA)
  111. Visit the Spanish Riding School of Vienna (Austria)
  112. Watch the races of the Il Palio Festival (Italy)

So the new ones added are in green and the ones (only 2, sigh) are in italics.... one day, one day.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What I'm Reading

"The future depends on what we do in the Present." Mahatma Ghandi

Haven't done this in a while so I thought I'd show other bloggers some love... there's a lot of talented and inspiring people out there. And I enjoy reading their stories. It makes me more confident in sharing mine. So here are my latest loves and discoveries:

Camels & Chocolate - A fellow southern belle who has itchy feet and figured out early how to make it a job. I love her stories, her energy and her pictures. Her site will make you want to jump on the next plane and go to some deserted island for days.

He Loves Me Not - Another lady who inspires me and alwasy has me rooting for her. Her raw emotions and honest reveals touch me and I find myself wondering how she's doing the day. Funny how the internet provides those "connections".

50% Chance of Rain - Amazing Photographer, Amazing Pictures. I turn green with envy when I visit his site. I wish I had an ounce of his talent.

Just What I See - This is a new site for me. The site features the iphone street photography of Greg Schmigel. Very cool perspective and I love it. I haven't done much photography with my iphone but that's my next step.

So Caroline Says Another new find. I love this girl's view of the world. She's got a great sense of humor and more going for her than she thinks. Another one I silently root for through out the day.

Almost Fearless A lady who knows how to kick ass and I'd bet does it with whatever she sets her mind too. Great travel stories, Business tips, and Gorgeous Pics. Plus she just had a cutie kid and who doesn't admire a working mama?

So there you have it. Sites I'm visiting and peeps I'm cheering on and others who inspire & motivate me. They've got something to say so visit them and enjoy their stories, learn from them and realize we're all way more alike than different.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Changing Directions

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there" - Lewis Carroll

Sometimes it's hard to know what's right. Sometimes, it's hard to know how one seemingly small decision can drive the direction your life will go in. And then other times, you can know life doesn't feel right, doesn't feel good or motivating but you can see no other options. Or you feel like you have to 'suck it up' for a while before you can make a change.

And that's where I've been for a while now... where I am in my life isn't good and isn't making me happy but I haven't know what to do about it. But I've made the decision to change my job and I've until the end of September to make something... anything... happen. And I'm open to suggestion.

I have several ideas... I can go back to school. I can go back to an earlier passion. Or I can explore some new ideas and/or passions. All would be tough and require a lot of me and be big changes. But I'm so excited to change my life. I've been happier in the last 48 hours than I have been in months just knowing I don't have to do my old job ever again. My neck and shoulders are slowly starting to loosen from the stress I normally carry there and the other aches & pains of my job are also slowly disappearing. And it's so nice to know I won't be feeling those again. It's a good feeling tonight. Very peaceful.

In my mind, I have long walks and yoga classes planned for my week ahead while knowing that's not necessarily what's going to happen. Being able to structure my days again is such a freeing feeling for me and I'm excited to leave for vacation this weekend without being exhausted. For the past couple of years, I've spent the first 24 hours or so of every vacation sleeping off the job. Hopefully, this time, I'll just be spending my time working on my tan.

So things... they are a changing... and it's a good thing. Taking control of my life feels good and moving forward, I won't lose it again.