The other week I took to the streets of downtown Bristol after dark with my camera and trusty tripod. Taking photos at night is a much more technical process than day photography, but I found it to be a great learning experience and I enjoyed it immensely nonetheless.
-Photos taken sometime in late November/ early December, 2020.
Any foreign place that evokes wonder can eventually become familiar and indifferent. On a day like today, mostly grey, storm clouds hover right outside the kitchen window and the once green hillsides appear dark and distant beyond the white mist. If I take a breath and be for but a moment that traveler’s “wanderlust” returns which makes me believe it never truly left. And although I wish I could feel what I felt the first time I saw this place, I know I cannot.
Places echo the past. They hold our memories. Our minds filter novelty with everyday experiences and what was once imbued with awe is now… regular.
To travel is to express that deep residing curiosity, and to have traveled is to be familiar with what was once unknown and otherworldly.
Until I arrive in New England there’s plenty to focus on here. Like, rediscovering appreciation, practicing gratitude, and understanding that many people- most people actually- have never laid eyes on these Islands I have the pleasure to call home.
CHAPTER 2. Books
Picking up an interesting looking book, turning over the cover and reading the first few pages is always the hardest part.
Once I’m hooked though, reading is my preferred form of entertainment and education. With fiction novels theres something fundamentally satisfying about letting the author guide your imagination into a detail-rich world and then creating a bond between you and the characters.
On the other hand, there are certain non-fiction writers who eloquently bridge the gap from ignorance to awareness & understanding in the reader’s mind. They do this in such a way that you have to re-read to fully grasp the significance of the author’s words.
In both cases, how magnificent is it to be utterly absorbed by a body of text?
CHAPTER 3. What it feels like to buy a ticket home
For every adventure I embark on I feel I must bring something back home that either summarises or symbolises my trip. That something doesn’t have to be physical, in most cases it’s not. It’s usually knowledge of some sort, a new perspective that widens my overall awareness.
Buying a ticket home means that upon my arrival I’ll be able to share what it is ive found on my most recent trip. I’ve been on Pico Island the past eight months and despite this fact I worry that I wont have the words to describe everything happening thats changing me.
When my friends and family ask, so what have you been up to these past eight months, how was it, do you have any crazy stories you can tell- how will I respond?
Many of my friends and family haven’t seen me in years. They don’t know the half of it- only what I post on Facebook and Instagram which is minimal. How do I explain what happened, who I am, my goals and objectives. Do I have to at all or will they see it in my face, hear it in my words?
Buying a ticket home means leaving the home we’ve made here.
CHAPTER 4. At the Airport.
I’m sitting at gate 1 waiting for my flight to Ponta Delgada. How am I feeling? Heavy-eyed mostly. I guess you could say I’m calm. Everything went smoothly this morning. I packed what I needed, left the rest, gave my farewells to Mom, Ray, and the pups.
During the flight I questioned whether or not the farewell I gave to mom was good enough. I mean, If mom were to die while I’m in Rhode Island would I be content with what I last said to her?
“I love you.”
Yes, I would be. but I guess it doesn’t feel like enough. I struggle with the idea that the last conversation you share with someone happens without knowing it’ll be the final time. People always say, there was so much more I wanted to say, to ask and to know, but I’ll never get the chance again… they’re gone.
I know I’ll talk to her soon, but do I actually know? I assume I’ll talk to her but what if im not able to, what if something happens between now and then?
I called three or four places and each person I talked to lead me in the right direction.
First, I needed a long-form birth certificate with an original signature from whom issued it. I went to the vital records office in Providence at Federal Hill. Within 30-45 minutes I was in and out with said certificate and directions to the Secretary of State’s office.
I brought my long-form birth certificate and that’s where they certified it with an apostille.
I spent months in the Azores trying to do this same process but to no avail. I’m excited to finally see progress!
I handed all the required documents to the Portuguese consulate and the women running things told me it was now just a matter of time for all the information to be processed.
I don’t have anything physical to show besides a few receipts. Is it too soon to call myself a dual-citizen?
CHAPTER 6. 30 Days without a phone
Without a phone I realise how draining it can be to have both the real world and digital world competing for your attention. How can one be present for the people around them if they’re constantly checking notifications, updates, messages, texts, photos, articles, news, ect?
It is not possible to give your full undivided attention to the person you’re talking with if at the same time your phone beeps and cries for your time and attention.
Without a phone I’m constantly that person whose company is occupied elsewhere, somewhere in the digital space seeking SOS from the boredom that moment to moment experience entails.
Everyone looks like and exhibits qualities of a full blown addict. The only difference is that phone usage is sociably acceptable and encouraged.
CHAPTER 7. I won’t soon forget
One day I’ll wake up and be old.
I can see it now.
CHAPTER 8. On Boredom…
Where else but here and now is the perfect place and time to practice mindful awareness?
If boredom is what fills your day then let it be the object of your meditation. Watch for the unsettling feeling as thoughts and things compete for your attention.
Will you be compelled to look at your phone, or observe that feeling in stillness?
Instead of giving into your impulses, shake their hand and try to understand them. If you’re able to sit with boredom, are you even bored? If you’re able to sit with anger or any emotion for that matter, are you it (emotion)?
What does boredom entail, what does it consist of, and how long will it last as a fleeting state of mind?
I can see no reason as to why we should succumb to boredom with such an opportunity to be present.
CHAPTER 9. March 29, 2020
I dreamt of Colombia last night. I woke up and went for a long run.
Cars lined the streets on both sides bumper to bumper. A few people were out but I couldn’t see much in front of me as the grey mist shrouded downtown. Sunday morning church bells broke the silence, birds chirping, shoes shuffling. An old-fashioned-pipe-smoking man waves me good morning.
“Good morning”, I said. Yes indeed it is a good morning.
I’m sitting inside now drinking black silk and writing under a dim light.
In trying to find time to sit in silence. I feel unearthed, unable to grasp ground with my roots. Wherever I go life is happening, wherever I go I find myself looking back at where I’ve been.
I suppose this is my silence- pen to paper- and I shouldn’t look further for solace.
CHAPTER 10. Nana’s Grocery list
Wet dog food
CHAPTER 11. Belonging
I feel like I don’t belong to any one place.
Here I am in Rhode Island thinking back to my roots. They extend from little ol’ Rehoboth to Pico Island.
All that happened is somehow with me, a recollection of events I recall in my playlists of songs. I remember a powerful sun who’s warmth I carried both in my smile and in my chest, beating to a mid- summer thunderstorm.
I would sit outside on the entrance steps watching our dog Bo sit cross-legged waiting for mom’s arrival like an honourable companion.
I think back to late September after my South-American summer. Six months passed in shadows and then there I was again walking the same shorelines I came to know so well.
Now I’m here, but so much of myself is scattered elsewhere.
CHAPTER 11. Tacks on a Map
I’m not sure what I think or believe until I either say it aloud, or write it in ink.
If nothing else, this journal is a psychological expedition into the unknown parts of my mind.
CHAPTER 12. Quarantined…
-you know you’re regressing as a person when you start eating pop-tarts in bed.
I did not expect my Spring to be spent cooped up inside waiting for Summer’s arrival and a deadly virus’s departure.
My days are spent thinking about what I should do and then doing something else entirely. Why write when I can play, why read when I can watch?
All this social media optimism pisses me off. As much as I respect and appreciate an optimistic perspective amidst a shitty situation, why can’t anyone be a realist for a second?
Yes, with new-found time we can focus on passion projects and things we usually don’t have time for, but people are dying by the thousands everyday.
And to be honest,(maybe this is pessimism) as imperfect, habit engrained, stubborn creatures we’re likely to become depressed and anxiety-ridden rather than creatively productive.
Speak for yourself, you might say.
I see you, though. For fuck-sake we are not these optimally functioning, highly productive, creative saints. We gorge ourselves with food and media. We obsess over pop-culture trends and political headlines. We want so desperately approval and confirmation from our peers that we pretend, or over-emphasise our productive behaviour.
Despite my clear frustrations, I do throw my hands up to those taking advantage of their time.
I just feel like the idea that the majority of people suddenly turned a new leaf and left their self-destructive habits behind is bogus.
CHAPTER 13. No-Man Mentality
Saying “no” to bad decisions gives you more time and energy for good decisions.
When you make a bad decision it’s usually because one of two things: lack of impulse control or bad habit. Or maybe you find it much more difficult to say no than to say yes.
Think of it in terms of opportunity cost.
Usually a bad decision has immediate and temporary benefits whereas a good decision has delayed and lasting benefits.
Thinking in terms of opportunity cost is a great way to measure your choices and therefore the value of the decisions you make.
Chapter 14. Buzzards Bay, MA
Water glistens like summer eyes. Blossoming spring, birds chirp the theme and the sound of woodwork beyond the pond centres me
CHAPTER 15. To North Dakota, I go
I have nowhere to be, no particular place to go. This is the traveler’s freedom and burden alike.
I feel content right where I am and wherever I go.
North Dakota- I didn’t think I’d be going there anytime in my forseeable future and now I’m set to stay for the summer.
I arrived in Minot, North Dakota last night after a full day of waiting in airports. Right now I’m with my brother Kegan and his wife Mariah who I haven’t seen in almost two years! I didn’t realize how much I missed them. I didn’t realize how fast these last 24 months went by. I never thought I’d go to North Dakota in my life, you know what I mean? It wasn’t exactly in my travel itinerary. Here I am though with family living life and creating moments, memories that I won’t soon forget. Oh, how could I? I do feel like I’m the middle of nowhere but I’m with my bro and that alone makes happy to be here.
One of my main goals of 2020 was to become a Portuguese citizen. Now that I am, I want to take you step by step through the process of obtaining your citizenship. This article is directed towards children of Portuguese parent(s). If you have a different situation, go to the Portuguese consulate’s website that’s nearest […]
I remember Rhode Island winters being unbearable with its mounds of snow, frozen windshield wipers, black-ice roads and dry-cracked lips, but since I arrived winter feels like nothing more than a chilly spring.
I put a windbreaker over a sweatshirt and keep my gloves in the left pocket just in case. Once I start moving the winter cold isn’t all that bad. Mornings and nights are the worst of course, but it’s nothing a hot cup of tea or coffee can’t remedy.
My favourite part is watching the wind take my breath after I exhale into the evening air. I know it’s such an ordinary thing, but I haven’t seen It in a while and it’s that sort of ordinariness that jogs back forgotten memories.