Cape Elizabeth, Maine

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Snapshots from our road trip stop at Cape Elizabeth.  As much as I love beaches in the summer, I also have a fondness for visiting them in the off seasons.  The unusual quietness, combined with wintry gales and salty air, makes me feel calm and at peace.

Our Trip: Bangkok

I can’t believe it’s been three months since we returned from our backpacking trip.  It scares me how quickly we can adapt to our circumstances and how fast memories recede into the past.

We took a lot of photos on this trip.  A LOT.  Just the other day, we finally got around to downloading them all to the computer.  Going through these thousands of photos was like time travel.  Certain detail shots brought me right back to specific moments.  It’s like listening to an old song, or smelling a familiar perfume.

Here are some photos from Bangkok.  I’ll have more photos from the other locations in the weeks to come.

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Mountains Beyond Mountains

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While on our backpacking trip, we both read the book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.”  It is one of those perspective-changing books that is philosophical and comforting at the same time.  One of my favorite passages from the book is this:

“Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire…then when you’re no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn’t just a means to an end but a unique event in itself. This leaf has jagged edges. This rock looks loose…these are things you should notice anyway. To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top. Here’s where things grow.”

The quote spoke a lot to me, because it captured what I felt was lacking in my life:  Peace of mind that stems from being present and fully engaged in the moment.  I’ve always been a pretty goal-oriented person.  While it’s good to be self-motivated, I’ve come to realize that it’s not healthy to define accomplishment solely as that final check mark.  It’s better to do fewer things but do them well, to allow each process be a fertile ground of learnings, to savor and appreciate every moment and detail, and to enjoy myself.

If you have read any books that have helped shape your view, please let me know!  I am currently reading this fascinating book.

Have a great Monday!

{Photo: Taken of the horizon while riding our longtail boat into Railay, an island in Thailand}

On Journeys

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An excerpt from Travels with Charley, which I finally finished in the midst of wedding planning:

“In the beginning of this record I tried to explore the nature of journeys, how they are things in themselves, each one an individual and no two alike.  I speculated with a kind of wonder on the strength of the individuality of the journeys and stopped on the postulate that people don’t take trips – trips take people.”

This quote comes at an appropriate time, as we’ve decided to backpack in Southeast Asia for three months come January.  It was not a hard decision to make: We both wanted to get out and see the world, before responsibilities tied us down.   We have no kids, no pets (not yet anyway!) and no house, so why not be wanderers in a different part of the world?

For this trip, we decided not to over-plan, to build rooms for surprises and spontaneity.  I wonder what personality this journey would take and how it would affect us as individuals and as a newly married couple.

If anyone has advice for traveling in that part of the world, please do let me know!