Earlier today I wrote long email to a friend. We have a wonderful tradition of writing infrequently and I genuinely cannot recall the last time I saw him. It could very well be nearly a decade.
But it doesn't matter; it's of the charm. I can still remember crashing in the barn he was border-line squatting in that summer, in upstate New York, when I went out east on a bit of a walkabout. I can also remember the times we worked together at the pizza place. In particular the time we made a giant, topping-less pie on a very slow night, baked it to perfection and proceeded to see how many times and how far we could toss the thing back and forth like a chewy, hand-tossed frisbee.
As it turns out: about twice — A faulty catch on my end, if memory serves — and really quite far; most the length of the parking lot. The aerodynamic properties of a pizza-pie should not be underestimated.
Pizza frisbees are not the point of the post however, though I'm starting to wish they were (I also wish I had a visual to accompany this. Dang.). Instead, I'm including an edited snippet of my email to him. He'd asked me about my experience with long-term, solo travel and what I'd learned, and if I'd learned any secrets. And while I touched on those topics, I think it landed on something applicable on a larger scale than simply traveling:
...but for now I'm reasonably content here in Portland.
Summer has arrived early, which pleases me greatly. This year of travel, in which I more or less deliberately avoided winter save a brief sojourn to Iceland, has taught me I'm a much happier person when the sun is shining. I felt most at home away from home when I was along the Mediterranean. Does this mean I should up and move to Greece? No. First of all, having been to Greece and Turkey, I'll tell you that all the best stuff I liked about Greece basically came from Turkey anyway (I asked the person I stayed with in Greece, after she showed me how to make Greek coffee in her kitchen, the difference between Turkish & Greek coffee. "Greek coffee is Turkish coffee. But first we baptize it.").
Secondly, though this might sound like two takes on the same though, the point of life is not to remove all the things that make you unhappy, like winter weather, and swap in the things that bring you joy, like sunny days. I think the secret is continuing the process of finding the those things bring you joy, sifting them from the things that might make you unhappy, but not lingering so long there as to spoil them. Does that make sense? Peace in stillness only comes when it's temporary; a break from some grander pursuit.
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