Photo by Miriam Miles
These revelations got their start over a balmy night in a very old, enchanting place in the Malaysia. It was a perfect setting to consider other ways to view the world, and given a little time, and an inspiring setting to let your mind go, you never know what will bubble up. You might just discover the secrets of the universe — or at the very least, think about amphibians and aliens.
1. Everyone Should Be Given a TurtleTurtles live in captivity anywhere between 20–60years, depending on the turtle type and care. This very well could mean that your turtle will outlive you. You know what this means, right? You will have to have an extended care plan for your turtle. In other words, what is the cost over its lifetime? Will your turtle need to be hibernated every year, or need other specific care at times? Who will inherit the turtle when you die? In this era of ephemerality, turtles represent commitment. They also force a person to undergo long-term thinking and planning. This is definitely something we all need to be better about. One could argue that children provide a much more complete lesson in this, but just think, by the age of 20 years old, children are often on their own. They don’t need you to feed them everyday — for another 40 years.
Sound like a big commitment? Uh, yes, it is. That’s the point. If everyone thought about their lives more in terms of planning and preparedness, looking forward sometimes, our views towards our own worlds might be altered for the better and perspectives changed.
Unknown Artist, French, 19th Century
Dorian Grey. The man that Oscar Wilde brought to life with his hedonistic machinations in 1890 – or so the general public thought. The man that has lived in legend, fable, and table talk for centuries. The man that embodies sensuality and indulgence to the extreme. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have found him.
Wilde wrote that Dorian’s original portrait was a full-length painting, finally destroyed as the debaucherous man came to his senses and took his own life. This made a fitting ending for the Victorian sensibilities of that time, allowing the writer to retain some semblance of not being too disastrously corrupting to the public. The ultimate playboy had to meet a just end. But – what if he didn’t? What if he is still around? Or, another person came along to pick up his mantel and let go of his soul?
I was happily watching some Jeopardy (American quiz show institution for all the non-Yanks) last night, when one of the rare commercials I allow onto my screen came blasting out. It was for Snicker’s Halloween candy, with a Horseless Headsman. Then, there was the Headless Horseman. I started to yell at the screen, “I’ve seen where you live!” That’s me, the legendary ghost stalker.
Yes, Sirs, Young Sirs, Madams, and Misses, I have been to Sleepy Hollow. Where the wind rustles, the leaves blow, and there is just that little bit of dangerous mystery floatin’ about. Honestly, who knew it was in upstate New York, barely an hour’s train ride from Manhattan? I had a venerable horror legend out my back doorstep, and until recently, didn’t even realize it. Sleepy Hollow is a small little bit of Americana, right next door to another little village of lovliness, Tarrytown. These are the small, out of the way places that materialize as both a delight to explore and might just have some local lore that peaks your interest and quakes your boots.
Cusco, the Sun Festival, and the Inca Trail
Yep, so to keep this one short. . . well, as short as I get for this type of thing. Don’t blame me; I’m wordy. Loquacious even. Descriptive, one could say:
1. Cu-sco! Boom Baby!Go around June/July. It is filled with heritage, surrounded by incredible ruins and has really great shopping for art and alpaca-y things. Hello, it’s a world heritage site!!! Yep, the whole, entire town.
a. Check out the Sacred Valley. You can book tours from your hotel/hostel/AirB&B when there.
b. If you go around this time (or any other), it is bloody freezing (or much colder than the rest of Peru), being very high in the mountains. Plan to buy alpaca gloves, hats, scarves from locals the first day. We had matching ones and looked cool beyond words!
c. If you need a distinctly European food change for a night (we just had to have pasta/pizza when we got back from the Inca Trail), go to La Cantina Vino Italiano.
The place is small, the food is superb and actually run by an Italian.
d. You best be eating some of the street food. It is verrry tasty.
e. If you want to go finer dining one night, visit: Cicciolina. Worth the cost, great atmosphere.
f. We did an Air B&B there, and it was fantastic - Homestay Carlos y Jackie. Remember though, most local houses don’t seem to have a concept of central heating.
g. Buy some decently priced art.
There is always a place that feels like home. It might not be where you grew up, but we all have places that are familiar, that we feel a sense of happiness returning to. These are the type of places where you have your favorite restaurants, your favorite shops, and your favorite views. Good things happened there, sometimes not so good things too, but it is your place.
New Mexico is like that for me. No matter where I happen to be in the world, I think I will always have to return there for a deep breath of fresh, piñon-scented air. I crave the desert and the inspiration it gives me. I crave the chile and the very special New Mexican food. I crave the influence of art, culture, and space from our local Native American and Mexican population.
Most everyone has a place like this. The amazing things about these types of places is that while they stay exactly the same in your memories, they are changing in reality. While these changes might freak us out a little bit (or a lot!), they provide amazing opportunities to also try new things in your familiar space. Nostalgia 2.0 - Same same, but different. Create new memories and enhance your old ones. So go visit YOUR place and try both old and new. Come on, you know you want to.
As you can imagine, there were absolutely incredible animals all over Peru. It was like a biologist’s wet dream. It was a writer’s orgasm. It was a person who likes animals heavenly song. There were a couple of creatures, however, that probably shouldn’t exist – unless you are in like the 5th circle of hell. This doesn’t mean that they weren’t super cool. It just means, hello, evolution – what happened there?
Getting up Early, and The Amazon
I don’t like to get up early. Normally, anything before 7am fills me with a dread that keeps me up half the night worrying. I also usually need breakfast when I get up, followed by a green tea, then a double espresso coffee. Peru was the first holiday I’ve ever had in which we got up before 7am almost every single day. I am still filled with wonder how I even agreed to this trip ideology in the first place.
Why? There was just too damn much to do. At least the breakfasts were really good (amazing cheese, flatbread, ham, porridge, freshly blended fruit juice, special Peruvian coffee syrup you add to hot water), though my green tea was replaced by Coca Tea – which actually tastes a lot like it.
When I think of Peru, a couple of things now come to mind. Well, tons, but I’ll limit it down to the first pops. Ready! Set! Go –
Seeing the top of the canopy of the Amazon, documentary-style, the colors of the sun festival, throwing up in front of 80 people on top of a very high mountain, being alone on a trail with a donkey and a llama, a very pleasurable 17-hour bus ride, exceptional rum on a sand dune, lots of bird poo, a tie for the best food experience of my life, and dogs. Yes, dogs.