Skimming Deep

Searching, traveling, talking, reflecting, and exploring. Read along with me as I continue on my journey through life.

Tag: blog

Finding Purpose

I’ve been looking for purpose in things, both on a small and large scale.

One of those things is this blog.  It’s a funny thing, blogging– putting your thoughts out into the world, to both known and unknown individuals (although I guess that could be controlled– setting a password on the blog so it’s not totally public or not sharing the url with friends and family so it’s pretty anonymous.)  I’ve chosen to share the blog with family and friends and leave the blog public, so I’m left in this limbo of the blogosphere where I don’t share my innermost thoughts and musings on things as I might in a journal and I also aim to have the writing be a little more generally accessible.

And I seem to be finding that being in limbo is a challenging place to be.  Am I trying to be a little bit of something for everyone and in the process being nothing for no one?

So to get back on track, I’m working on finding purpose for this blog.  I’ve mused on this before, but I’ve strayed from that original purpose.

For a time, this was a travel blog, which was wonderful.  A documenting of my travels through New Zealand, Bali, and Malaysia.  But now I’m settled again (although itchy to travel, as always!).

It strikes me that I should write about what I love, know about, and care about.

  • Food
  • Social issues
  • Life journeys

So I’ll see how that goes.  Next blog: my attempts at using a sourdough starter!

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Final Day of the Road Trip

We decided to make this the final day of the road trip. One of the ideas had been to drive down from Santa Fe through Albuquerque down to White Sands National Monument, but that would have put an extra several hundred miles and an extra day into our travels. And I was really starting to feel the bone-weariness of being in a car, driving for hundreds of miles each day. So we decided to head to Globe, where my parents live. Just a day's drive.

Itinerary: Santa Fe, NM to Globe, AZ by way of Albuquerque, NM
Miles driven: ~400 miles, which at this point feels like a breeze. “What, just 400 miles? That's just 7-8 hours away by car!
Food eaten: some treats from the farmers' market, breakfast in Albuquerque, and finished with a meal of greens, rice, and kimchee at home. The best way to end a long trip.

Before heading out on our journey, my friend and her husband took us to the Santa Fe Farmers' Market which was beautiful! We ended up spending about an hour there with my mom buying things left and right to take home and cook. I love farmers' markets.

Roasting Hatch peppers-- a common sight in the Southwest

The sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of this farmers' market were breathtaking. I really wanted to buy up everything I saw, too. But I restrained myself. Fresh produce and me are good friends.

Beautiful purple flowers of the artichoke plant

Who knew there were different colored cauliflower?!

Love all the colors of the rainbow you can see in a farmers' market in peak season

So after tearing ourselves away from the farmer's market with considerably less money in my mom's wallet, we drove to Albuquerque, about an hour away, to meet up for breakfast with another old friend from Boston. It was great to see him and also good to hear that he might be moving back to Boston!

Other than those exciting moments, we took the rest of the drive back to Globe, meandering through the mountainous roads and ending up here:

Strangely, it was cool, almost cold, in New Mexico and in Globe, too. Rainy, cloudy, cold. Not like the Southwest I often hear about. And the summer is just finishing up. But no complaints here.

So final tallies:

  • Total miles driven: ~3000 miles plus some extra for driving around when I got lost
  • Total driving companions: two– my friend S from Boston and my mom
  • Total great meals: too many to count. Highlights would have to be Zingerman's Reuben in Ann Arbor, egg sandwich at M. Henry in Chicago, ribs at Pappy's Smokehouse in St. Louis, and that bag of Hot Fries that I consumed somewhere between Chicago and Centennial, CO.
  • Final reflections: I did it! No small feat. And thanks so much to all those along the way who helped make it so enjoyable with the mini-reunions and tips on delicious eats. Thanks, especially, to my amazing car that held up through it all. Honda Accord 2000. Do they still make them as good as they used to?

So now time to rest up, pack, buy the last things I need for my “REAL” trip and figure out really how this blogging thing works for real on my iPad.

Side note: Part of why I started blogging before my trip was because I wanted to get used to this medium of journalling. It's public and requires some consistency if I want to maintain readership. More on that issue for another post. But if you've been reading along, you may notice that my formatting has been kind of wonky. I finally read up on blogging with my iPad and found Blogsy, what a great app to help me blog more easily! Blogsy + Picasa + wireless connection + a wireless keyboard + photo-taking on my iPhone + Instagram (for photo editing) make the winning combination! So enjoy, hopefully with more consistent formatting as I get used to using my iPad and not my laptop for the rest of my journey!

 

A is for “Assignment”

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I’ve come up with an idea for blog direction. I’m going to go through the alphabet and come up with a word for each blog post that begins with a successive letter of the alphabet. I’m going to see what word might inspire me on a given day and not feel compelled to write everyday, but write every few days or so to keep things going.

I must face the facts that I am an assignment/plan-driven person. I can be impulsive on rare occasion, but even impulsivity is followed by planning and careful thought and processing. Knowing that about myself, this could be a fun assignment.

I am a Virgo.
I am a first child.
I am the only girl among my siblings.

All of these things have contributed to my type-A personality, I would say.

This trip is a test of that part of me. I don’t really have an itinerary. I have a general idea of where I might want to go. I have a first destination and two plane tickets. But beyond that, much is open ended. And so far I’ve been OK with that. What I’ve found that works to not get my type-A self so worked up is saying things like:

  • What’s the worst that could happen? If I don’t like a place, I can just move on. And If I really don’t like being abroad, I can get a plane ticket back “home.”
  • I want the flexibility to stay longer where I like and move along faster from places I don’t like. This is my chance to be really free and not bound to any deadlines. I must want to make the most of that.
  • I want to see what will happen if I’m not overly planned. What can I learn from that experience?

It’s kind of funny that I want to be more spontaneous in a way, but I’m doing that with intention and focus. I guess I can never get away from that part of myself.

And so I continue to write with some direction.

Some assignments for me over the next few weeks:

  • Meet up with friends over dinner or walks and get to say “see ya later’s”
  • Get all my supplies prepared- equipment, clothes, travel guides and documents
  • Pack and store all my things
  • Explore parts of the Boston area that I want to before I go– Tanglewood, the MFA and Isabella Stewart Gardner museums, Crane or Singing beach, other places…
  • Enjoy the summer and breathe

It’s all doable. And I’m not going to lose my mind or my hair or my sanity doing it.

Reconnecting and Finding Meaning

Since I ended my streak, I haven’t been blogging regularly. Having photos everyday to share made it more interesting to blog and actually gave me a reason to blog. Now I’ve lost some reason to blog. I know that once I start traveling, I’ll definitely be blogging. But now, I’ve lost some direction.

I also haven’t been taking photos as much since the streak ended.

So I’m trying to start a new streak: deep breathing at the end of each day right before I go to bed. I often get home and realize that I haven’t really breathed all day. I mean, I’ve done the involuntary breathing, of course, since I’m still alive. But I haven’t done any real breathing where I feel the expulsion of bad air and energy and intake of fresh, rejuvenating energy. So I’d like to do at least 10 deep breaths before I turn off the light and go to bed.

I started this last night and it felt good. But then I went through today with its craziness and lost the effects. I’ll see what happens by the end of this streak. I’m aiming for a deadline of August 31st– my last day of work.

Reconnection is about plugging back into something that you became unplugged, separated from. How do I reconnect to the blog? How do I reconnect to meaning in my life? I’m hoping that my travels will allow me to do that. But what if it doesn’t? I guess the worst that could happen is that at least I get some time off of working and get to have a change of scenery. At least there’s a benefit to that.

Some of the bloggers that I follow have been raving about a recent event called the World Domination Summit which is organized by Chris Guillebeau, writer, blogger, traveler, etc. I’ve been jealous to hear about the amazing event and wish I could have gone there! I’m looking for more people to commiserate with who are in a similar mindset of wanting to do and be more. And wanting to use creativity, mission, passion, and innovation to get there.

It’s interesting how I’m looking outside of my networks, relationships, connections, friends to find something. Why can’t I find what I’m looking for among what I have? What’s missing? Will I end up coming back from my travels and want to come back to the comfort and known of those who are here?

The main point here, though, is I want to determine the goals of my blog. I read this post from a
“Freshly Pressed” WordPress blog. The blogger talked about needing a purpose for his blog and how he needed to write about something he was really passionate about. It was a good reminder that I don’t want to be aimlessly blogging just to fill cyberspace with more useless drivel.

So here are some thoughts about what I’m passionate about that I could blog about:

  • amazing people in my life– youth I’ve mentored, people who have mentored me, friends, family
  • recipes, restaurants, food reviews– I love to eat!
  • meaningful quotes I’ve come across
  • a line from anything I’m reading– a book, blog, newspaper article

I need to set a writing schedule, too. Once a week? More than that?
Hmmm. Where to go next…

End of Streak = Success!

So yesterday ended the streak I was working on since right after Memorial Day, and I made it! I was trying to do something on a streak, everyday. That was taking a picture everyday and posting it on my blog. And though I didn’t quite post everyday, I did take a photo everyday, and it was fun!

So now that it’s over, I want to work on posting consistently to my blog, maybe not everyday and maybe not always photo-related posts, but something often enough where I can be reflecting, sharing, and processing thoughts.

A few things I’ve learned from this streak:

  • iPhones have amazing resolution and picture quality! It makes me want to take more pictures on a daily basis because I know I can take good pics with good quality to post and share.
  • Blogging everyday is possible for me. I really wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it, but I did it and enjoyed it in the process.
  • I have a decent eye for photos. The “likes” I got on my posts were one confirmation of that, but I also just really liked the photos I posted.
  • It’s nice to get comments and affirmations from readers, even I don’t know. What’s that about? I’m not totally sure and am thinking that one through a little more.
  • Photos provide a good prompt for musings and reflections. Each day I posted something, I ended up being able to write about something even remotely related.

So this is the beginning of a new phase of my blog. Let’s see where I go next!
And by the way, thanks to Sarah Peck who inspired me with this streaker challenge!!

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