Last weekend, I was in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico for my good friend's wedding. I am fortunate to have been able to come all this way to see her get married and be a part of her day. But what made me the happiest was to be reunited with my friends I left behind in Florida. We didn't have much time together, but on the day of the wedding, we all spent the day in a beach house, relaxing and slowly preparing for the evening's festivities. As I sat on the sidelines and the bridesmaids donned their bejeweled party dresses a la Latina tradition, I was able to see the scene as it was. I spent most of the time on my film camera, but as a preview, here are some behind the scene shots of the ladies.
I'm spending a few days in this Puerto Rican coastal city—well, town is probably more accurate. It takes about 20 minutes to walk the area end to end. But it's dense with color, fried food, and docked cruise ships once a day. I found the perfect retreat here, a small guesthouse overlooking the sea to the north. My room has a porthole for a window, a constant breeze, and echoes of the waves beneath.
But it's the common area that I love the most. The owner of the building is an artist, or a Renaissance man according to his girlfriend. And although he has his own studio space and apartment upstairs, his supplies and inspiration have seeped into this room.
Last week, I went to Costco for the first time in years. For those of you who have never been inside a Costco or have never even heard of it, it’s a wholesale store set in a warehouse that sells all of life’s essentials. You can get batteries, flowers, khakis, cookies and turkey roll platters. The draw is that each product comes packaged in a size large enough to get you through an apocalypse survival.
As a person currently living in a shoebox in London who’s closet could probably hold only a single pack of Oreos, this store isn’t meant for me. It’s perfect for large families, restaurants, and people with XXL pantries. My favorite thing about this store is that boasts the vast amount of space available in America. And while wandering the towering aisles, I couldn’t resist the photo op.
Whenever I see a plane fly by, I always wish I were on it. I don’t mean that I wish I could fly away from the place at which I’m standing. No, I’m not an escapist. But there is a hunger I feel in my gut–an incurable craving for going somewhere.
It doesn’t even matter where I’m going. It could be a brand new city, one I’ve been to before, or the place I call home. Every time I travel, a new way looking at my surroundings sneaks its way into my luggage.
Living in London means the countryside is infinite; Istanbul knows no such thing as personal space; and Chicago genuinely cares about everyone who steps foot within the city limits. While visiting each of these places, I compare things I see to the place I just came from and to the memories of everywhere I’ve been before that.
I recently spent some time in Chicago. Growing up a few hours away, I’ve visited this metropolis more times than I can count. It’s familiar, it’s homely, it’s mine. But this time around, I felt like a stranger. Since the last time I’ve been in Chicago, I’ve traveled to my fair share of foreign countries. Returning to the place I call ‘second-home’ means I have a whole new lens to look through.
Compared to my little hometown, I always thought Chicago was SO old. But after visiting the 6th century Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, I now know what ‘old’ is. And the evidence of London’s deep history makes its age impossible to ignore. Chicago now falls into a new category of old, one I just made up the other day. It’s a modern day, industrial old (it's a working title). I noticed details of the city I never saw before because this time around, I was redefining the city as I took it in. I was updating the color and realigning the details.
That’s the thing about traveling, I always end up tweaking what I thought I knew to be true. I can’t travel without changing a little bit.
As soon as I jump back from this killer jetlag, you will see what's on my mind as I do a bit of traveling from Chicago to Guatemala!