The Art of Traveling In My Own Neighborhood

My olive-green stocking cap hugged wet curls. I was showered, fed, and ready for the day. I pulled on my jacket and slipped my camera into my purse. My hands found my pockets as I stepped outside my door to see what I could find. It’s Sunday and I don’t have any other plans, so why not be a traveler in my own neighborhood?

As a new transplant in Portland, OR, I’m determined to connect with this new place I’m living in. The rain had let up and it was the perfect timing for a stroll. I walked with eyes attuned to small details and opened my mind to a state of wonder.

Before my walk, I was thinking of backpacking through Europe and the way things – people, synchronicities, purposes – seemed to find their way to me ease-fully. It was affirming to feel the spirit of adventure still well and alive in me as I set out in my own neighborhood, and to realize that the world provides endless discoveries for those who want to discover, regardless of how far – or how close – you travel.

In a tree just a block away from my front door, I was thrilled to find a bird’s nest and nearby that, an unpaved alley with large puddles, currently doubling as a local bird spa. A few blocks further, I found an adorable Patisserie and was brought back to Belgium when I took a bite of a chocolate macaroon that melted as soon as it touched my tongue. Mmmm, I closed my eyes and savored the rich, smooth texture of one of my favorite European treats. Past the bicycle shop and several bars, I stumbled into a coffee/pie shop, curious to try their espresso, clueless that I was about to make a new friend in a very special way.

As I stood waiting for my latte, leaning against a lacquered wooden bar and breathing in sweet scents of berry baked goods, a wrinkled New York Times next to me caught my eye. Then two large hands picked it up. I glanced up and saw a tiny blue spiral tattooed on his left earlobe. That’s interesting. As his face came into focus, my gaze was met with two green eyes, smiling at me. “Hello,” the stranger said. “Hi,” I said with a shy nod. We started chatting about the crossword puzzle and then about the status of the world. I sat down next to him and sipped my hot drink as we moved from topic to topic, eventually landing on travel.

It turns out he has also traveled through Europe and he commiserated with me over the less-than-comfortable transition from backpacking freely to working and having a steady routine again. Berlin came up, and then Spain, and we laughed at the fact that we had been to many of the same places, equally impacted in a profound way through our experiences there. I learned other things too, like he has an eight-year-old who he describes as the anchor in his life. The same swirl on his left earlobe is also tattooed on his right one. When his fancy drink came, he offered me a sip, and it didn’t feel strange at all to take him up on it.

What was meant to be a quick stop at the coffee shop had turned into a nice conversation, and unknowingly, I had stayed until my cup was empty. Then it was time to go. He opened his arms and hugged me like an old friend. We didn’t exchange numbers, but decided we’d run into each other again. After all, we live in the same neighborhood.

I walked off, smiling, headed to explore the cooperative grocery store up the street. I grabbed a planner that caught my eye in the section where calendars and candles were on display. By chance, I flipped to a page with a very fitting poem on it. Huh! Life never ceases to amaze me…

Here are some of my favorite shots from my wanderings today:

Bird's nest

Bird’s nest

IMG_0017

Bird Spa

Bird Spa

IMG_0034

Free stuff

Free stuff

Keep Your Chin Up

Keep Your Chin Up

Water Tower

Water Tower

Dreamy dresses

Dreamy dresses

Puddle portrait

Puddle portrait

The Poem I found that was very fitting

The Poem I found that was very fitting

Mural

Mural

Movies are all the rage

Movies are all the rage

Random pretty tile

Random pretty tile

Empty lot

Empty lot

For the love of God

For the love of God

Graffiti

Graffiti

It's true

It’s true

Art

Art

Skater dude

Skater dude

Interesting trash sculpture

Interesting trash sculpture

Neat tree

Neat tree

Money box

Money box

A new view

A new view

Reflection

Reflection

Skeleton dancer

Skeleton dancer

Broken

Broken wall

Latin Grocery store

Latin Grocery store

Front view

Front view

Glittery puddle in tree root

Glittery puddle in tree root

Water tower

Water tower

Community Supported Everything

Community Supported Everything

Bunny

Bunny

Moss

Moss

The Know

The Know

Bike Shop

Bike Shop

Corner space

Corner space

Co-op grocery abundance

Co-op grocery abundance

Railing art

Railing art

Texture

Texture

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2 thoughts on “The Art of Traveling In My Own Neighborhood

  1. naomi says:

    Wonderful to hear of and see your day. You have a way of representing Portland that feels new, and I realize it is all state of mind . I have been fearing a recent transition to a new city (which one I won’t know until March), and feel encouraged by your encounter–I don’t know howi will make new friends, but it will happen. The next step is trusting that when it does I will accept them.

    Like

    • adiskin says:

      Yes, trust is the secret ingredient to change. It takes courage to leap, but you are a wonderful person and friends will come. They will be attracted by your sense of adventure and kindness! It’s interesting because when I moved up to Portland, I thought it wouldn’t feel new to me, since I have visited it many times. But that has been proven false. It is new. And really, every corner has something unique about it. Even after a few weeks here, I know I have hardly scratched the surface. SO much of finding joy in life is about state of mind. You are right. And I know you will accept the people into your life who are meant to be there. You got this Naomi! I love your comments; keep ’em coming! xxo

      Like

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