Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Point of Reference

In the efforts, of not writing a “honeymoon” piece, I held off writing about Cambodia for a little while, until I could struggle a bit. It is just the beginning of a meaningful and inspiring journey, but here are some small thoughts on what I’ve experienced in business so far...

Point of Reference: The intentional use of one thing to indicate something else. A point of reference differs depending on each individual. I have this habit of relating everything that happens in my life to something else that has come before--a constant analysis of my current endeavors with the past. What happens when you don’t have this point of reference anymore, especially in business relations? Scrambling. Running. Reacting. I have been in Cambodia for about a month and a half and have completely lost my point of reference. I have lived abroad other times--and other developing countries at that--but wow Cambodia, you really throw people for a loop. Business here is like an obstacle course. There’s a clear path to the finish? No silly, you have to jump through hoops, fall, get back up, roll in dirt, turn around, then maybe, just maybe you will get the outcome you're aiming for. Is it all exciting? Yes. Thrilling? Perhaps. Easy? No. The best things never are. For instance, today we packed up half of our office to send down to Phnom Penh, as we are moving headquarter locations. Seems easy enough. Kongkea and I packed boxes, made lists, organized for the movers to come. The first half of our goods went really well, they fit almost everything we set aside for them to take. Then, we discussed that the next truck would come a week from today to pick up the rest. Well, no. They don't travel down to Phnom Penh that day. Why? Because it's an “even” day and the truck only travels on “odd” days (the 15th, the 17th, the 19th, etc.). Oh and also, you may not be able to bring your bed frame because the police may think that you are illegally taking wood from the jungles to make household items. Hmmm. Welp, looks like we need a back-up plan. 

The good thing about a point of reference is, as the years go by, it turns into hundreds, thousands, millions even, ‘points of reference.’ One day I’ll relate my future ventures to moments that happened here. The business lesson of hitting a wall, then hitting it again, and then the realization that you can build a contraption to catapult yourself over it. Oh yeah, I’ll keep that one in my back pocket.     

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Intricacy of the Ordinary

The whole purpose of the title "All The Lives We Could Live" is meant to excite the fact that life is in your own hands, for the most part at least. You can be whomever you want to be, in a minute, in an hour, in 30 years from now. That's what my travel experience has given me--the chance to be someone different. Or completely myself. The reason I chose this title was because of my favorite novel by Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin. He strikes a cord with his readers by delving into, as he states, the "intricacy of the ordinary"--how people go in and out of each others lives, weaving moments and personal stories daily. The collision of accidental occurrences, whether it be abroad or right in your own hometown.    
Now that I have been living in Brooklyn for almost two months now, I feel exactly who I should be at this moment. Just as I have been letting my own self evolve, as will my writing and this blog. GUYS, big things have been happening recently. I have started writing/working for Brooklyn Based. It is an amazing, local email newsletter that covers life, events, culture, and services of Brooklyn. And today, yes today, is the day when my first published piece is up on their blog site. This doesn't mean I will neglect this blog (if you could just ignore the last few weeks that have gone by perhaps?). I've merely tweaked my purpose for this blog. I want it to be anything and everything that pertains to all the lives we could live. Yes, my travel experiences will still appear because, as I have learned in each place I have traveled, there are many paths to take. They will be posted, but there will be much more, and hopefully I can shine a light on McCann's concept of 'intricacy of the ordinary'.

Stay tuned, but before I post next, check out my Brooklyn Based article. Cheers!  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dare to Ask of Life

While I am currently working on my next post, "vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore"...I want to keep my readers entertained, therefore I have decided to post my favorite piece of writing. I pay great tribute to James Kavanaugh, for this single work of art has deep significance for myself, as well as my brother...Tell me, are you one of us?

"Some people do not have to search, for they find their niche early in life and rest there seemingly contented and resigned. At times, I envy them but usually I do not understand them. And seldom do they understand me.

I am one of those searchers.

There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we completely content. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand.

We like to walk along the beach; we are drawn to the ocean, taken by its power and unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty.

We like forests, mountains, deserts, hidden rivers, and lovely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as our laughter. We are ambitious only for life itself and for anything beautiful it can provide.

Most of all, we want to love and be loved, to live in a relationship that will not impede our wanderings and prevent our search. We do not want to prove ourselves to others or compete for love.

This passage is for wanderers, dreamers, and lovers who dare to ask of life everything which is good and beautiful."
-James Kavanaugh, San Diego, 1970

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A City of Contrasts

Chronological order seems to fail me. I am back living in the Big Apple for the second go around. It's exciting and thrilling and completely terrifying. The amount of energy this city thrives on daily could be enough to power the world twice over. The people you meet seem to feel the energy, take it in, let it surround them. In my eyes, this could be a great thing or the makings of a tragedy. I love New York, I really do. It is a city defined by contrasts. As the saying goes, with any true beauty, comes great danger...And therefore, this city will surprise you on the best of days and the worst of days. Walking down the streets, you get a sense of the "community" that is New York. You get a sense of humanity and how everyone works together, weaves together, through hardship, through enjoyment, through pain, through laughter. No matter whether you had the best day of your life or the worst day of your life, you lay your head on your pillow, hearing the sounds of other humans thriving around you. The contrast of New York can be simple things such as Wall Street Bankers complaining to pay the four dollars for a gyro from a street cart, but yet, without fail, there is the certain homeless man they give a five dollar bill to everyday on their walk home. The encounters with certain pretentious hipsters, that damnify you for being not as cool of an "uncool" person as them, yet show you the utter creativity of their mode of art in a way that changes how you think.
The last two days have been a complete contrast for me. Yesterday, I woke up to a wintery mix of brown snow, delayed subways, and handfuls of angry New Yorkers. It was no coincidence that as I was walking down my street, I saw one of the most unnerving sights I have ever seen. I was partaking as one of the first bystanders to an uncontrollable burning building. Flames coming out of the windows, loads of fire trucks blaring down the street, people gaping and snapping disturbingly raw photos of the event. Fortunately, I believe no one was injured and the fire was eventually put out about six hours later, but there is a distinctly hollow feeling you get watching something burn in front of your eyes, when you genuinely can't possibly help the situation. The amazing thing was that there were indeed hundreds of people helping-neighbors helping each other run out of the surrounding buildings, the number of fire fighters working together to put out flames, the bystanders that will go home and blog about it to spread the word, in awareness for others...And in keeping with contrast, today, the very next day, the sun shone. People were out strolling, stopping in cafes, laughing and chatting, and genuinely enjoying the surprising stream of sunshine that appeared mid-winter, oblivious to any burnt building or lives displaced. Therefore, my point about New York is the contrast of constant energy that is present. Is it positive? Is it negative? Does it even matter? It seems to me that all New Yorkers don't mind which type of energy it is, just whether it is there for them to thrive of off...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hyde Away in Golden Gate Park

Even though I may have previously mentioned that my posts would go in chronological order of events in my life, that proves to be untrue. I had to make an exception to write on my short but sweet trip to San Francisco. Although I was indeed making the decision whether to return to NY or move up to SF- and seemingly find myself writing this from a cafe in Brooklyn- SF truly has the makings of one of the best cities in the world. I took a road trip with my big brother, Con, to visit two of our very best friends, Clancy and Becky. On the journey up, we stopped in San Luis Obispo, and relished in the beautiful scenery along the historical 101. The beauty on the way up was just a precursor to the amount of beauty San Francisco holds intact in its "7 by 7" miles. Beautiful architecture, beautiful nature, many and many beautiful women (Clanc & Bek at the forefront), and an all around beautiful adventure. As I was mulling over San Francisco with my great friend, Matt, a previous SF native transplanted to Brooklyn, our conversation turned a bit existentialist. We discussed how SF unabashedly challenges who you are and the way you think. The city presents itself with experiences, events, exhibitions, all based around what a single person or group of individuals is really passionate about. Not to say other people's passions aren't expressed in other great cities, but SF presents these passions to you generously and wholeheartedly. For example, my brother and I visited the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. Just to preface, Con and I are avid museum goers-enthusiasts if you will-and are not always easily persuaded by certain museum space. For our first "exhibit", we walked into the living rain forest, and were instantly enamored. The academy states that they are driven by two burning questions: 1) How did life on Earth develop? 2) How will we sustain life on Earth?  So they not only explore and explain the natural world, but they also actively work to influence the way you protect it. Generously, wholeheartedly, and most importantly, passionately. I don't think it's any coincidence they coined the phrase: I left my heart in San Francisco...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Home Sweet Hollywood

Ah Los Angeles, my sweet, little hometown (ya right huh?)...let me start by saying that I have a long time love affair with LA. I try my hardest to leave it, vying to blame it on the bad qualities of a fame-stricken population, too much smog, and no easy public transportation system. Yet, I inevitably end up back for more. And it proves me wrong each time I return. It must be the beach? No, I can live without one and generally only go during summer months. It must be the great weather? No, it's great but can get boring. It must be the celebrities? That's a big fat NO. Well what is it, you ask?? It's the fact that LA masters the element of surprise in a way that no other city in the world can. Yes, I've lived in cities that have many different subsets and cultures thriving within each one, but LA is different. It is different in the fact, that you can't decide what sub-culture represents what area, and vice versa. For instance, take Villain's Tavern-a wood-crafted, good kind of creepy, moonshine-feeling speakeasy. It is located in Downtown. While it is technically located in the Arts District, which is a phenomenal subset of Downtown LA, it can be a bit dodgy. So my point is that Villain's Tavern is confusing to find, under the 4th street bridge, around the corner, make a right, then another, walk five get my point. But then, out of nowhere, you find it. Walk into this great place, and can't be happier that you drove around for 25 minutes in the general vicinity to find such a gem. Don't you wish life could have that element of surprise everyday? Wake up in the morning, and little do you know there are homemade cinnamon buns that your Grandma stayed up all night to bake, and drove over before you woke up...yeahh that's what it's like. Welcome to the City of Angels my friend...  

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Must Begin With a Single Step

Welcome readers and bloggers alike. A wise man once told me, "If you want to do something, well, do it...And if you want to be something, well, be it." So here I am, starting my own version of one of the most coveted jobs around, travel writer. And yes, I do want to do it, and I do want to be just that. So I am and I will. I will start by going through each of the spots I have known and loved in chronological order, beginning with my hometown, Los Angeles, California and ending, well, never. "Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living." Stay tuned!