Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Emperor's New Clothes

It's 2012. It's been a month and it's only just sinking in. So I made us new clothes to celebrate the year's birthday. And mine.

It's just another artifical marker I know. Just another excuse to have four sleepless nights in a row and contemplate beginnings. But I suppose we all need the possibility of fresh starts. And reminders that there will always be music. And love. And newness.

This is the tenth year of this blog. I've been rambling for a decade now. It's really quite pleasing though. It's not that I believe this life is worth chronicling, just that the practice of chronicling is important. If I don't record, I will forget how to remember.

I’ve managed a respectable 49 posts for 2011; that’s an average of 4 posts a month, a post a week. Given that January is already out of the way, I have a lot of catching up to do for 2012. There is a lot to be written. I've been away over December and January traveling to four cities and peeking into many lives. L.A, New York, Princeton, and San Juan in a month. And it's been exhausting and immensely fulfilling. I've realized how much lighter it makes me to travel. I do like home. And its stability. But it also weighs me down. And makes me rather curmudgeonly. I have to get away. I realize this is a luxury that I have increasingly become used to but I also think there are bigger lessons hidden in this restlessness. So in no particular order, here are some learnings I have corralled:

(a) The more I travel the
better I pack. The less I pack, the
more I travel. But here is the other problem. I also like having nice clothes when I travel. So
then I have to come up with better ways of packing while continuing to travel as much as I do.

(b) It helps to be up early when traveling. You see more and you experience new places in their every mood. Also, since coming back home, I've been up at six every morning. For those who know me, this signals nothing short of the apocalypse.

(c) Talk to people. Even when they tell you things like "Who are you hoping to attract if you wear clothes like that? " (This from a charming British dotard who apparently didn't like that my t-shirt said "Let's go spacetrucking")

(d) Stay at a place where you can cook. Eating out all the time is debilitating. Cooking for yourself and/or feeding others helps maintain a tiny sense of home, a home that travels. Even if people steal your food. It just means that you cook well.

(e) Give up on sleep. Especially if like us you end up in a hostel with many snoring teenagers of various persuasions and nationalities. Think of it as early training for parenthood. Or persuasion for contraception.

(f) Brave the weather. If going somewhere sunny, do not fear a tan. Even if, like me, you already have copious amounts of melanin. Go darker. Sock it to the fair and lovelies of the world. If escaping to chilly terrain, do not glue yourself to the fireplace. Layer up. Wear bright colors. Look ridiculous in bunny coats. Get out.

(g)Find some music. Go dancing.

(h)Read a book. Always. I cannot say this enough. Read a book. The book will take on the textures of the place. Your memories will double up. And your companions will thank you for shutting up for at least some part of the day.

(i) Flirt.

(j) Lastly, make friends. Remember to leave open the possibility of going back.

That's ten for travel. I only have three more to set the tone for 2012 blogging.

(1) Write.
(2) Edit.
(3) Insert pretty pictures.

And finally, finally, finally, my one resolution for what promises to be an exciting, difficult, demanding,and
hopeful year.

Lightness. The kind that hinges the day while letting it swing. The kind that sees and knows and deals and lives and sings and shouts and sleeps and wakes up. Serious, wizened, light as gossamer lightness.

Happy New Year lovely folks.