South America—Rio de Janeiro

December 15th, 2011 § 0 comments

Nothing about South America is what I expected. It’s a huge continent, and you can’t hop from country to country like you can in Europe; it took four hours just to fly from Brazil to Argentina. There are entry fees and visa’s required, which seems exciting until you actually have to pay them or get one. Because you have to fly everywhere you want to visit, I had to ask (and then pretend to be) a travel agent what would be a doable two-week trip. I had to fight my instincts for months while I planned, otherwise we would have covered all of South America in fourteen days. When the trip was finally narrowed down to Brazil and Argentina, the debate over Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo began. It’s hard to ‘pick’ a city when you don’t really know what it is you’re picking, but I chose Rio on the advice of a good friend. In the end I planned what was probably the most reasonable vacation of my life: one week in Rio, and one week in Buenos Aires.

» Read the rest of this entry «

At Long Last: Montréal

September 12th, 2011 § 1 comment

It’s a city I’ve wanted to visit for a long time now, and one I haven’t ever lived too far away from. When I lived in Chicago I remember spending a decent amount of time wishing I could visit Canada, as it seemed so close. After a false start and a few passport problems, I finally made it past the U.S./Canadian border. It still seems strange to me that while I’ve traveled outside the U.S. a great deal, I’ve never visited our two nearest neighbors: Canada and Mexico. I wish train travel was a bit more romantic than it actually is. I wish the bathrooms worked correctly, and that dining cars served more than pre-packaged snacks, but neither does. It was certainly a beautiful ten-hour ride upstate; the tracks running along the river and through forests and fields. The sun was setting as our train, finally fully inspected, was allowed to continue onwards toward Gare Centrale. Montréal itself is only about an hour from the border, and it was dusk when the silhouette of the city skyline appeared outside my train car window. Reading up on the city before I left, I had already dispelled my preconceived notion that Montréal is a small, quaint city. It’s a large, busy city with more modern buildings than historic ones.

» Read the rest of this entry «

The First Time in a Long Time

October 15th, 2010 § 0 comments

pacific coast highway

Place, where we live, how we live, and why, is an old and favorite topic of interest. Not long after leaving California for Chicago, I realized that while I might never move back to the west coast, it was inescapably the place I am from. These undesired or unavoidable connections, between the place we come from and the places we move to, affect us as much as family ties, even if we talk less about them. For better or worse it is the place we are from, more than the places we move to, that shapes our initial perspective like early parental teachings or our varied experiences of grade school education. Living elsewhere forces (rather than allows) you to recognize that there are people you understand, a landscape with which you feel familiar, and a culture you might not like but are never baffled by, existing with or without you in that place you left. Living in different cities for two or three years at a time reminds me of the first two years you spend in college, fulfilling the “general education” requirements of any degree. Who really knows what classes or subjects they like or dislike until a little bit of everything has been tried? I never moved planning to love or hate anyplace, because I didn’t have much in the way of expectations—that it would be “different” from the place I was leaving was the only given, and the only real constant of travel. I knew each place would be interesting, however, and certain a kind of indifference, such as blatant curiosity, is sometimes a good way to get a neutral perspective. Honestly, what do we know about where we might want to live in our early, mid, or late twenties?

» Read the rest of this entry «

Assorted Thoughts About A Trip West

May 20th, 2010 § 0 comments

Sierra Madre

It was a busy weekend in California, spent driving back and forth between Pasadena and Palm Springs. Five days should be enough time to see everyone and do everything planned, but the visit felt rushed and incomplete as visits always do. It’s hard to land in a place and pick up where you left off, so much has changed and happened since I was last there. It’s the seemingly small task of “catching up” that takes too much time and is so important, and the bigger tasks of seeing and doing that get put off. Arriving, a childhood friend retrieved me at LAX. Last time I saw her I was a bridesmaid in her wedding, this time she brought her two-year-old and the baby girl on the way. As much as I wish I lived near my oldest and best friends, I can’t imagine going home and having them be elsewhere. It is odd enough that my brother is no longer there. I think of certain people as belonging to certain places as strongly as I know those places themselves. It always surprises me that while I have lived most of my adult life away from the people I know best, they still understand me the most. Sharing a past seems to a lay the groundwork of trust that carries us through the unexpected twists and turns of our more adult lives.

» Read the rest of this entry «

Nauman & Love Letters

April 8th, 2010 § 0 comments

Steve-powers_EverythingA friend of mine jokes that our similar interests tend differ when it comes to our preferred tastes, which break down something like the approval matrix in the back of the New York Magazine. Our combined personalities form a like grid of current events, interesting shows, and noteworthy articles of gossip, with my contributions covering the “highbrow” and his the “lowbrow,” and together we seem to cover almost the whole spectrum. Our highbrow/lowbrow tastes were exemplified this past Saturday on our day trip to Philly, an exhausting trip full of good food, bad good food, and sunny weather. Having read much of Bruce Nauman because of his representation of the US at the Venice Biennale last year, I was curious to see his piece reinstalled at the Philly Museum of Art. My friend, on the other hand, wanted to see the much blogged about Love Letters, a public art installation in west Philly by new york based artist Steve Powers. Both artworks were well worth the trip, and both represented the best aspects of the so-called highbrow/lowbrow art scene.

DSCN0741

» Read the rest of this entry «

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Travel category at Escaping Artist.