Today, I was helped out by the always lovely see_me_naked who regaled us momentarily with a post about leaving her family in Ireland to traipse around England.
Every time I read about someone doing that, I think "Man -- I'd love to something like that." And then I think back -- I did that in New Orleans. I did that in Boston. I did that in Quebec City, Montreal, and Toronto on a trip. I did that in Warsaw. I did that in Portland and Seattle.
In one particular case, I had the opportunity to reflect on my travels from a distance. That road trip hasn't happened yet, but I haven't given up on it yet.
There is a magic to being on your own in a big, new city. Most people in a city have jobs and they're doing work of some sort. Not too many people have the time or the inclination to just *look* at it and appreciate it.
Some cities have a real feeling of history around them. Boston was definitely one of those cities. Everywhere you look in Warsaw, there's a plaque saying who the Germans killed when they came through. In part because of that and the Soviet-era tenements and trains, a melancholiness permeated the city.
Some cities have giant skyscrapers and large, impressive bridges. New York and Los Angeles come to mind, but the real magic in both of those cities is away from the buildings. Walk into Central Park or the hills of the San Fernando valley -- they're just minutes away from the concrete and buildings, but you'd never know it once you're there.
For a little while, you can forget that in our society you have to work and work and work just to keep the things around you, let alone gain any ground. And you can marvel at the work which is man.
If you ever really want to know who you are, I could not recommend highly enough just walking around a strange city and trying to find your way for a few hours.