“the sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room” Pascal
last spring i wrote a post on my old blog complaining that i had no real trips or vacations planned. ironically, i traveled non-stop last year – although it was mostly for work and i didn’t take a true vacation until just a few weeks ago. now that i’m home and have nothing planned for the rest of this year, i’m feeling the same frustration- an urge to travel and explore but no plans on the calendar. i’m sure i’ll be back up to maine a couple times, i’ll be on a panel in chicago in may, and of course, there’s always a reason to travel to mtn view. but without a big adventure planned, i just get cranky. as a consolation to myself, i’m reposting what i wrote last year. it’s also a reminder that i’m extraordinarily fortunate to have been able to travel as much as i have and enjoy time off each year. while you read this, i’ll be reading frances mayes ‘a year in the world’ and planning my next great escape. suggestions on where to go? leave them in the comments please!
…i got to thinking about the last chapter of ‘the art of travel‘ called ‘on habit’. de botton focuses on this frenchman, xavier de maistre (all of 27 yrs old) who undertook a massive journey – around his bedroom – and appropriately titled the account “journey around my bedroom”. and here’s what i love even more… a few years later, he was so bold as to take another adventure, titled “nocturnal expedition around my bedroom”. he pioneered room travel, which he believed might be more practical for those neither as brave nor wealthy as real world explorers – and for those afraid of storms, robbers and high cliffs.
de botton’s insight: the mind-set we travel with is infinitely more important than any particular destination we might travel to – and if we could apply a traveling mind-set to our own locales, we might find our local neighborhoods just as exciting as the jungles of south america or the bright lights of tokyo. it’s about taking note of the details, rediscovering the little things we take for granted and appreciating what’s around us.
so i did a mini-journey around my cottage. i’m certainly not going to write a book about it, but it helped me appreciate the downtime. here are a few pics of things i took note of:
the towering trees behind the house… with the heavy snow flurries in the late afternoon it made for a dramatic scene. a bit creepy, eh?
the contrast of the vibrant-pink geranium in the warm kitchen against the cold, white snow flurries seen through the window.
the pretty lavender that bloomed early, against the icy, snow-covered yard.
the stone wall peaking out of the snowy, sloped front yard – and the relentless ivy crawling down it.