Category Archives: new york city

Timing the Trip of a Lifetime

A great deal of thought went into the timing of my upcoming trip to Europe (which starts three weeks from today). Summer and Winter were out. Winter for obvious reasons and Summer because only fools leave Oregon during the summer. This is our best season and shouldn’t be missed!

So, it was really a toss up between Spring and Fall, but if I went with Spring I would have had to wait another six months and I’d already been waiting a few years. If my bout with cancer left any type of lasting impression it was to do it now – no matter what “it” is. You never know what’s right around the corner. So Fall it is for many reasons, let me count them down…

  • I love this season and honestly think the weather is less volatile at that time of year. Knowing that a good part of my itinerary would be visiting landscapes that was a big consideration.
  • I’ve found amazing deals. I was able to book my flight using only 40,000 miles for a round trip ticket to London and out of Madrid. Spring offers some similar options, but not as many in my experience.
  • I’m taking advantage of a trip to New York where I’m speaking at a conference and launching my trip from there. Less time on the plane is always a good idea.

i remember

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I remember listening to the radio and not understanding what they meant when the towers fell. I couldn’t fathom that two of the tallest buildings in the world could disintegrate like that.

I remember the calming presence my friend Anne had upon me.

I remember how empty the roads were when all the people who usually commuted out of NYC weren’t there along side me. I never wanted to be stuck in traffic so badly.

I remember how quiet the skies were for what seemed like forever. Silence never sounded so ominous.

I remember the first time I went to Ground Zero and how I couldn’t move once I entered St. Paul’s Chapel.

I remember how everyone in the country came together.

I remember.

taking the long way

If the last couple of months illustrate anything it’s that I’ve been “taking the long way” around. The reason my site has been silent since late May is that I’ve been traveling nearly non-stop for the past two months. The bad news is that I’ve had no time to document all of my adventures. The good news is that August is looking much more mellow and I’ll be able to catch up and share details about some amazing places with you. In the meantime, I wanted to provide a little preview about what’s to come!

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9/11 and 5/1

Disbelief. Shock. Sadness. Heartbreak. Elation. Pride. I ran through a mosaic of emotions in the days, weeks and months after 9/11. Since hearing of Osama Bin Laden’s death I’ve felt them all over again.

I know I’m not the only one. As I hear from others who lived in and around New York City on that day I hear them echoing my own thoughts. One woman who lost her brother said it best, “I understand it’s a good day for America and the families that lost loved ones. In the beginning I was crying and I didn’t understand why, because you think after ten years that the tears will stop coming, but they don’t.”

I don’t feel the same level of anxiety I felt immediately after 9/11, but I still feel tinges of it every year on the anniversary. Time and distance have muted its effects, or at least that’s what I thought. I honestly never considered how I’d feel when the day came that Osama bin Laden was dead, no longer able to harm anyone else, but it feels like 9/11 all over again. Only this time I’m not surrounded by people who understand what it was like.

I’ve realized over the years that all of our lives changed in America that day, but that the closer you were to New York City or Washington DC the more affected you are. Perhaps that’s a no-brainer, but I still struggle to describe what that day was like. I’m often greeted with blank stares when I describe how thousands of people went into work that morning, me included, and how few of them came home. How full I-95 and the trains were going into Manhattan and how empty they were coming out. How a bustling metropolitan area that was constantly covered in sound erupting from planes overhead to cars on the ground to people walking around, was suddenly silent. And how the first time I made my way to the wreckage of the World Trade Center I stood in St. Paul’s Chapel at Vesey Street and couldn’t move for what seemed like hours.

Here is an excerpt from a previous entry I wrote on an anniversary of 9/11. It does help to remember. And it helps to reach out. I get in touch my friend Anne every year on 9/11 and couldn’t help but reach out yesterday after hearing of Osama bin Laden’s death. I don’t have to explain how important it was that we were together on that day.

Nearly ten years ago I woke up to a stunningly beautiful September morning in Connecticut. It was sunny, clear and crisp and fall was in the air. It was one of those days where you realize how gorgeous it’s going to be and you can hardly wait for the day to begin. Summer was trying to hang on, and I was looking forward to the day since Anne and I would have the office to ourselves. Our colleagues were on the road in Washington, DC and Pennsylvania, and I’d be spending the day getting ready to join them in the capitol the next day. Just a couple hours later the whole day changed, and the whole world changed with it.

Living in densely populated Fairfield County I was surrounded by people who worked in the city. My typical evening commute was characterized by driving bumper to bumper on I-95 or being crammed like a sardine on the outbound New Haven commuter train. But that afternoon, the afternoon of September 11th, the interstate was empty. The trains weren’t running. The emptiness combined with complete silence stemming from no flights overhead was eerie and surreal.

My heart continued to break with each passing moment as the reality of the events sunk in. As Anne and I listened to coverage on the radio (phones and the nascent internet were unreliable at best) and helped our colleagues find a way to get back home we just couldn’t visualize the destruction the terrorists had left in their wake. I really didn’t understand what the reporters meant when they said the towers had collapsed. Only that night as I sat in my living room in tears watching coverage of the day’s events, did I start to realize the hole that had been carved out of our country.

I hope all those who were lost on that day can now rest in peace. I hope all those who lost loved ones can find additional closure. And I hope that all of us remember to be compassionate towards those who were affected that day – September 11, 2001.

May 1st

On this day in history…

2011 | Osama Bin Laden is killed by American Special Forces.

2003 | George W. Bush infamously announces “Mission Accomplished” declaring major operations in Iraq are over.

1945 | Hitler’s suicide is announced to the world.

1931 | The Empire State Building is dedicated.

fun stories happen

There is so much wonder in this story that I had to share it. You know how much I love photography and traveling. Well this man’s story about a roll of film that propelled him on an amazing adventure marries both beautifully.

I’ve been following this story since December when it could have just as easily been me who found the roll of film in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park after that crippling holiday snow storm. I was just down the street housesitting for friends and also venturing out into the snow to photograph the frozen and buried city. Thankfully Todd Bieber found the film canister when he was cross-country skiing through the park and decided to pick it up.

I love so much about this story, but my favorite part is why Todd picked up the film instead of skiing right by it, as he said he would normally do. To be honest, most of us would. But Todd remembered something a friend told him, “fun stories happen when you make choices you wouldn’t normally make.” Now those are words to live by! I hope just knowing about this story will encourage all of us to make a few choices we wouldn’t normally make and add a few more adventures to our lives.

Here is the story on NPR about his adventure…

Lost Roll of Film Returns to Mystery Photographer

Here is the video Todd produced about the last phase of his journey to reunite the film with the photographer…

spring is right around the corner

It seems everyone is a little winter weary these days, and that spring can’t come soon enough. Following a week of maddening weather forecasts and a weekend of record breaking low temperatures I found this photo from my travels to NYC in December perfectly apropos.