Tag: Awareness.

Travel Writing — It Wasn’t the Truth

Perhaps I’ve traveled too far. Perhaps not enough.

Perhaps traveling is not about geography but traversing the soul.

What I believed was the truth bore me down the river

With rocks and rapids until

the falsity turned the river into a stream and then

a dry trickle.

I missed the truth because what I thought was important

–the white spiral-bound book I’d written–

still lay on the shelf

as 75,000 words of blood squeezed

dry of white lies.


Travel Advice: Smell Where You Are

Capturing Rural Boston Aromas

“Nothing awakens reminiscence like an aroma.”

                               ~Victor Hugo

If I whiff a sunscreen that remotely smells like the old “Sea and Ski” suntan lotion from back in the day, I think of Lake Tahoe, California, where we spent every summer when I was growing up. One of the most enjoyable parts of travel across this wide world is the aromas that assault or massage our olfactory nerves, depending.

For instance, when I exit a plane (or an airport), I inhale. Deeply. It’s a first hit. Before your eyes and ears adjust, your nose has the leading edge, as it were, to breathe in the essence of a milieu, enhancing and enlarging what your eyes and ears see and hear. As you move toward a city’s beating heart, you’re sure to gather the odors of its humanity… to smell the country’s living conditions, if that’s fair to say.

Equally, as you approach an uninhabited forest, desert, or mountainside, they each exhale their singular natural beauty. The tang of critters’ scat or the musky, mulchy loam in dark forests might invite tears. I often find the welling up of such feelings so sudden and unexpected that I am ashamed. “Really? Get it together!” I say sternly to my maudlin, sappy self. Yet, the wise salty flow ignores me, happy in its reminiscence and glad we were caught unaware.

It’s another reason to travel. By traveling, one finds oneself. It’s not the same as seeing the National Geographic version on YouTube. It’s not the same as looking at travel photos and brochures, magazines, or those thick guidebooks. Are they helpful? Perhaps. “Tantalizing?” Yes! They are stuffed with the food you’d like to smell and the sights you’d like to see. The well-written, feels-like-you’re-there descriptions of the animals, people, buildings, art, culture, music, and landmarks of all kinds beckon you to visit from the shiny pages. But all you can smell is the ink. The pages are flat. The animals don’t make a peep. The gorgeous food photo is, in the end, as tasteless as the paper it’s printed on. Please don’t try to smell it or lick it. Bleyah!

When you take your next trip, don’t forget to smell where you are. You can “see” where you’ve been with the snapshots you take. You can “hear” the noise of downtown and the silence of the desert with your videos. You can almost recreate the food with recipes and ingredients available everywhere these days, thanks to the internet. But, alas, you cannot recreate the tropical aroma of Hawaii, the humid, human inner city squalor smells in parts of Bangladesh, or India, or, say, downtown Los Angeles. And best of all, you have to stop and make yourself present in the moment to experience a smell. You can use a photograph and videos as memory cheats for scenes and sounds. But you can’t cheat your nose. It won’t let you! At least not yet.

“Memories, imagination, old sentiments, and associations are more readily reached through the sense of smell than through any other channel.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes












Fend Off the Collapse of the Biospheres

This post doesn’t have to do with the Deathlist, My Piano Hands, OR Giving My Self to the Wind. NOPE. It’s about climate change. It just happens that Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite authors, and she gets it.

We must all work together to do this thing… Keep our planet from imploding on itself because of our neglect. But “It’s Not Too Late!” YAY

Okay. That’s it. Be the change. Thanks, Margaret, for supporting our cause.