Feeling it

31
Dec
2008

Sure, it is the end of another year, and the 31st of December feels like a milestone to many people. But not for me. I don’t feel connected to the import of this date the way I used to. There is no special thing that will be magically different tomorrow, any more than any day (or moment really) is any more special or different than the one that preceded it or follows it.

That said, I am very happy and thankful for where I am and where I have been. The past 2 plus years have been an invaluable gift. I joke with my family about the bad economy (and immense market losses) having validated my strategy of spending all my money on travel and the present, but in a very real way that is true. Security (financial or otherwise) is an illusion, and at the end of it all, we all end up in the same place. We might as well enjoy the ride and try to get a good view. I am fortunate to have such wonderful family and friends with whom to share this ride, and I wish them all the happiness this life can bestow, on this day or any other.

(I just reread the above and it all sounds pretty sappy, but what the hell. Sometimes I am sappy; deal with it.)

Lingering cold, winter clothes, gym, and work

30
Dec
2008

These are some of the things that are occupying my thoughts these days as I prepare for life in NYC.  I have a lingering cold and cough (caught in my last days in Brazil), and it is quite cold in NYC (and getting colder) and I realize I have no winter coat (or cold weather clothes in general, having traveled mostly in tropical climates the past 2 years), and these thoughts make me think of my health and well being and thus joining a gym (not to mention that for gay men in this city it is the law), and all of the above items cost money of course, and that leads to thoughts of work. Where will it all lead?

“Family”, The Musical

28
Dec
2008

Most of my immediate family has been in town the past couple of days and last night we all went to see Shrek The Musical (which my cousin Josh choreographed). After the show, Josh was a total sweetheart, taking the entire group of eleven of us backstage to meet the cast and show us the stage and costumes. The kids (Max and Zoe) were especially thrilled, and I have to admit it was pretty interesting being behind the scenes, and the cast members we met were exceedingly nice. It has been great catching up with my family here in NYC, and I take it from many of them that they approve of my decision to move here (especially if I should have a guest room or couch available in the future).

Just a subway pass

26
Dec
2008

Sometimes, the little things make one take notice of more significant milestones. As I bought my first monthly MTA pass yesterday, a small, pleasant tingle washed over me, hit with the reality that I am actually moving here. And in every moment, there is that something that is so New York, a feeling so present but untouchable. Yesterday, whether it was walking around, seeing a movie, or going by a small holiday party, there is that feeling that is uniquely a part of this place.

I think I am going to like it here.

Coming home on a Christmas plane

25
Dec
2008

I write this on the airplane. We have about 1 hour until we land. What kind of world will I be going back to? An economy in a very bad recession, perhaps on the verge of a depression. A city that long ago stood as a kind of beacon (of all that is possible) to me, and that I have always been fond of, but one that is not exactly the easiest to choose to live in. And the climate. I have been pretty well divorced from the idea of seasons in the past couple of years, spending the majority of my time in hot and tropical climates. Seasons don’t just represent change, they also represent continuity and roots enough in a place to be in tune with them.

What will this new chapter in my life bring? Time alone will tell the story. And what am I looking for after all this? Have I put away grandiose dreams in my life for the bliss of the here and now? Maybe a bit. I know what brings me measures of peace. I know that being in touch with the present as much as possible is the way to happiness. I have goals and even dreams if you will, but I am not disappointed at all by the twists and turns on the path to them or another place. The doing is important, and maintaining perspective in our lives.

So, setting out some ambitions, regardless of what happens on the way to or away from them, is nevertheless an important exercise. But one that must be open to change and chance. If we can’t take advantage of what is in front of us, even if it doesn’t enter into the “plan”, then we have missed the incredible beauty of life’s randomness.

As I have found such great enjoyment in the blogging of the past 27 months, I will continue to keep it. I love the voice it gives me and platform for working out in my head my reactions to places, people and ideas. I will finish my book about the first part of my travels and attempt to find a publisher. I will attempt to earn a living off my writing in one form or another. These are my short, medium and long term goals.

But I am willing and able to do all manner of other things that call on my past skills in order to make a living and survive. And these things are not at all at odds with each other if I am careful and lucky enough to structure my work life in a certain way. For example, even though I have a lot of experience leading teams in the tech departments of medium sized companies, I will attempt to eschew this kind of environment in favor of freelance work, which has several advantages related to keeping me centered and present. Independent contracts keep me at arms length from companies’ internal politics, since I will not be a part of these power struggles and jockeying within an agency. With luck, I will be able to come in for short term analysis or discreet project work, perform the task at hand, and leave, keeping my emotional investment (and therefore stress) to a minimum. While in many ways I loved my last position as Director of Technology before I began traveling, it was an emotional sink hole in so many ways it should not have been. I will try not to repeat these mistakes. The other great advantage of freelancing will be the ability to schedule my time to suit my other pursuits (writing, travel) more freely than if I was chained to one company.

So let the next chapter begin. I am very excited to see what comes, and what I make of it. But equally excited to continue to share the experience with the people I meet along the way. For it is the human connection to friends (new and old), family, lovers and partners, and even strangers that makes the journey so worthwhile and rewarding. The human connection is at the center of all that makes life worth living. Without that communication, we have no way of understanding our connection to everything that is, and we are left cut off from our being. With it, we glimpse a small part of the mystery of existence, and can feel ourselves part of it.

Boa Viagem

24
Dec
2008

Josh and I are at the airport, awaiting our flight out to NYC.  We spent the last day of our trip in Rio, enoying the beach and the gawking for one more day. The drive back was very easy (Gabe) and returning the car and checking in at the airport was a breeze (Gabe).

I have some mixed feelings about our trip back to NYC. On the one hand, I am excited to be moving to New York, and looking forward to the thrill and challenges that await. Not exactly in opposition to these feelings, I am also a little wistful about ending this part of the amazing journey I have been so fortunate to have been on these past 27 months. This is really the end of a particular chapter in my life and the beginning of another. It was especially nice sharing the last couple of weeks with my cousin Josh, acting as a kind of bridge between these two worlds.

Não divertimento

23
Dec
2008

During the day yesterday, I was coming down with a cold, and by dinner time it was getting pretty bad, so I decided to go to the pharmacy and buy something to help with the symptoms, then go back to the apt for an early night with lots of sleep. I took two of the pills and went to bed.  About an hour later, I was awake, unable to breath very well with a tight feeling in my throat and unable to push much air through my nostrils. I was having some kind of reaction to the medication. At first, I sat awake (but groggy from the meds) trying to breath slowly and deeply, but I felt unable to catch my breath. I called our friend Brazilian friend Eddie who was out and about in the neighborhood, and he kindly came over to wait it out with me, at the ready to go to the hospital if necessary. Josh and Eddie were trying to be helpful with all manner of home remedy suggestions from breathing steam to meditation, but alas nothing made me feel much better. At about 3am, I thanked Eddie and told him to go on home, as it hadn’t gotten worse. I was finally able to breath more normally around 6:30 and slept for three hours. I am feeling somewhat sick and beat, but happy to have avoided a complicated and potentially expensive trip to the emergency room and explanations in Portuguese.  Josh and I aren’t sure if we will stay one more day in Rio (which will involve a hotel switch) or head out down or up the coast for one more place before heading back to São Paulo tomorrow to take our flight back. I am hoping to feel better before boarding the long flight to NYC, but if I have learned anything in the past few years, it is that what is, is.