Monday, May 25, 2015

Armchair Travelers Guide

Some of you don't know this about me but I'm kind
of a geek for personal triumph books.  You know... those
people who get it in their head to do something and
follow it through. Climbing the worlds tallest mountains
in their bare feet at 20 below without a jacket or supplies.
That kind of thing.

The other thing you should know is I'm kind of an armchair
follower.  I spend a few hours following someones adventure
and think that surely I should be able to follow through on 
something of my own.  Maybe a week with no potato chips.
That kind of thing.

I'm easily influenced by these kinds of books.  The first one I
can really remember involved walking across America.  I hatched
a plan in my head that this would be a good father / daughter
bonding project. Backpacks and sleeping bags riding heavy on
our shoulders, we would have heartfelt talks about the 
mysteries of life while exploring the back roads of these
United States. We would sleep under the stars.  Of course it would
be hard if the weather got bad or we met mean people.
I counted on the fact that my father could take them on.

It didn't occur to me that we might have awkward bathroom
issues or encounter nasty animals and snakes.  I liked the 
finishing part where we wrote the book and did put the
documentary together.  And of course there would be some fame.

The fact is....when it comes to adventure I like low doses.
My heart is willing but my bum is stuck to the leather recliner.
I'm more the speed of "The Gnome Project".  Jessica has similar
setbacks in her level of follow through fortitude.  Her solution
was to pick something that she felt she could do every day for
a year.  And so she made gnomes my friends.  Little felted gnomes,
every day...for one year.  
But she went through all of the necessary steps for a project.
The excitement of setting the goal.
The gathering of supplies.
The disbelief of friends and family. 
Deciding on the beginning and ending dates.
Going through the flush of the beginning.
Going through the I hate this phase.
Pushing through to the no way am I quiting stage.
Finding the ultimate meaning of said experience.
The pride of the accomplishment.
The book contract.
I do have some ideas for my own low key adventures.
But in the meantime here are some titles I've enjoyed from
those who DO get out of the leather chair to make
something happen.

"Julie & Julia" is the first book that inspired me to write
a blog.  It took me a few years to figure out what that blog
would be, and I'm still not sure of the direction it is going,
but I'm throwing my small adventures and accomplishments
out there...and that feels pretty good for now.

In case you have been living in a book / movie void....
"Julie & Julia" is a cooking memoir whereby Julie cooks 
her way through Julia Child's celebrated "Mastering the
Art of French Cooking" in one year, and writes about
in her blog.
"Lively...laugh out loud funny.  Julie and Julia glides by on 
prose that alternates between buttery smooth and exceedingly,
but hilariously, salty.  Writing about her life, she's funny as hell,
often obscene, with a largely unquotable vocabulary.  Writing about
food, she's sensual, deliberate, and original."
~Clea Simon, Boston Globe
Another thing you might not know about me is that I
am an HGTV fan.  House Hunters International marathon 
anyone.  That's a marathon I can make it through!  And I  love
to watch the segments on Tiny House Living.
I come by it honestly.  My mom was "The Queen of Space".
If anyone could size up a room and see the potential for using
every nook and cranny it was my mom.  She designed two 
complete studios for me during her designing reign on earth.
Fantastic use of vertical space. Way to go mom....
Recently I read "The Big TIny - A Built-it-Myself Memoir" 
by Dee Williams.  When Dee is diagnosed with a heart
condition at the age of forty-one she is reminded that, "life
is short, (and) time is precious."  She loves her house but 
doesn't love the mortgage and all that goes with it.  So...
she decides to build an eighty-four-square-foot house on her own.
"The Big Tiny is an utterly seductive meditaion on the benefits
of slowing down, scaling back, and appreciating the truly
important things in life." 

 Anyone who knows me knows I loved my trip to Paris
and will gladly visit it again and again if given the chance.
Many of my favorite artists and authors have lived there
at some point in their lives.  I am one among many who have
dreamed of having a bohemian French apartment along the Seine.

This is a description of "We'll Always Have Paris".
"From the cafes of Paris to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa,
Jennifer and Katie take on Europe one city at a time, united by 
their desire to see the world and spend precious time together.
In this heartwarming generational love story, Jennifer reveals
how their adventures helped vanquish her fear of dying...
for the sake of living".
Isn't this what it is all about?  The experiences we have alone or
with friends and family that make us feel alive.  So often we are
here, but not present.  I think that is why I enjoy my armchair travels.
They remind me of what makes us feel alive.  Sometimes we have to 
reach for it...and when we do....something amazing can happen.  We get 
out of the leather chair.  We realize we can change, grow, take on a challenge, 
and most of all..Live the Lives we came here for.  Don't ever let someone 
else tell you what your life story is.  Produce it the star of
every single chapter.  And if you write the book, I'll be sure to read it.
Peace out my faithful readers!

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