Travelog

FOTOFRIDAY: So Far Away, Yet So Halloween

Posted on: Friday, October 27th, 2023
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, Travelog, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

It’s the spooky season…Beware of wayward pirates!

St. Vincent gets flown over by most tourists, but maybe that’s one reason this mountainous Caribbean island has been on my mind lately. As winter begins to slam MN, seems like the myriad snowbirds flock (slam?) to…Florida. Or Mexico. Who even thinks about St. Vinny? Well, I do. Fun fact: There are steel drum jams, but no traffic jams there!

Maybe folks are afraid. Imagine how many people had to die—and then get dug up—to find all these coffins! In truth, they’re leftovers from the filming of “The Curse of the Black Pearl.” And probably long since rotted away, as pic comes from January 2009. But you could see a LOT of sets, scenes, and (of course) coffins, if you had the right…guidebook!

Hey if it’s good enough for Captain Jack Sparrow (and Johnny Depp), it’s good enough for me. Aaaaarrrgghh…

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FOTOFRIDAY: The Wondrous Sculptures of Lake Oswego

Posted on: Friday, October 20th, 2023
Posted in: Travelog, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

They’re everywhere! So keep your eyes (and mind) open. (Shot 10-15-23.)

In a world of increasing wealth disparity, this well-to-do but welcoming suburb flashes a metaphorical COME IN! sign by hosting provocative, FREE art all over the place. The collection numbers nearly 90 now, some loaned and some permanent, and residents have a say in which ones become bought for the muni-owned collection.

The project goes by Gallery Without Walls.

This particular eye-catcher, The Watcher, stands by a Safeway lot and comes from a series by artist Scott Foster.  Don’t let the subtitle disturb your serendipity: “Watching slowly as the world dissolves.” It’s art, after all—there to challenge, create a memory, awaken your camera. Mother Nature’s autumnal colors seem to enjoy the collaboration.

I visit this ‘burb often—partly to see my daughter at her nearby college, and partly because the lake and village provide a calming respite (+ some great restaurants, pubs, and shops). The sculptures are a brilliant bonus.

BreakAways can feel more arduous as one ages. Yet moments like this remind the tired back and weary eyes why it’s great to get outa town. And in Lake Oswego, that coveted A-HA or WOW is just around the corner.

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FOTOFRIDAY: A Cool Day on St. Vincent (Island)

Posted on: Friday, October 6th, 2023
Posted in: Travelog, Work/Life Hacking, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

Yes, it’s October. But no, that’s not a Halloween display. Rather, that pic offers just another gravestone and view from another idyllic island.

15 years ago, my kids got a gift they’ll never forget…or regret. 69 days of island hopping through 5 islands in the Caribbean. They got HOME-SCHOOLED! “Hardest math teacher ever!” they both told me. Often. And (otherwise) had the splash of a lifetime.  My son kept an online blog…A+!

One stopover was St. Vincent, as described and photographed in that there MYBA link. St. Vinny is an oft-overlooked Grenadine isle rich with mountains, authenticity, and perhaps a bit too much crime and pot growing (on those fertile mountain slopes). That keeps it quiet and off the snowbird migration routes.

Scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean were filmed there. Prices stayed delightfully on the low side. And the organic F&V were so plentiful that St. Vincent provides for many islands around them; farmer’s markets are filled with aggressive peddlers who send you home with more edible booty than you can carry. For about $20.

This photo was from a high-point stopover; cemeteries are often small and neighborhoody. This gent certainly has a fine view to decompose in.

  • Every Autumn I fall back…

Fall has arrived in MN. After a long, luxurious summer, we now simmer in darkening daze, fleece everything, and the promise of, oh, 7 months of same or worse before we kick off boots and slip on flip-flops. Unless, of course, one finds a way to plan a warm, faraway getaway!

Would I return to St. Vincent? In a heartbeat, in an island-hopper plane, or even—if I could swing it—hidden in a coffin…if it came to that.

Stay warm. Dream an epic dream. And keep the faith…

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FOTOFRIDAY: The Art of Acquiring Travel Tokens

Posted on: Friday, July 14th, 2023
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, Travelog, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

A beautiful blue eye (rather like mine) arrived from Greece to grace my window.

This lovely gift came from a friend who just did a BreakAway in Greece and scored this gem in an artisan’s small boutique. Many of my walls, spaces, and sauna are adorned with collections of such mementoes from around the world. Retail temptations abound when abroad, so here are a few guidelines I try—try—to apply when scoring souvenirs…

KEEP IT SMALL. So it’s easier to transport—and takes up less space back home.

THINK ABOUT THEMES. Could be glassworks, paintings, or pottery. Go for handmade. My fave: small faces.

WRITE THE DETAILS ON THE BACK. In the case of this pristine eye, maybe not! But usually, a simple “Mazatlan, 4-1-22” will do. You’ll be glad when the collection hits 100!

HANG IN GROUPS. A montage of these artworks tells so many stories. Guests will ask.

REARRANGE. Now and then, pull the collection down and start over. You’ll see things anew.

Oh sure, I’ve smuggled home some ginormous pieces in my day. And I love them all. (Consider a spacious suitcase—or even an extra roll-up simple softsider JIC!)

But anymore, my house, like my life, is getting full. So I think small.

Because I know that big memories will forever reside in these tiny treasures.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Forgotten Photos Fire Foggy Memories

Posted on: Friday, June 9th, 2023
Posted in: Travelog, Unplugging, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

Where? Vegas, of course. Why? Vegas, of course. (And…for the memories, thanks…)

A few nights ago, I found myself at home alone with the puter in my lap. A rarity, as I become ever-better at seeking real interaction and unplugging. A flash hit me: I’ve hardly looked at the 1,000s of photos I’ve taken since 1-1-23. And I’ve taken trips to picturesque places. This pic came up, from a fancy eatery in LV—and reminded me why we take the pics. The room, the dinner, the smells, the views, the company…all came back.

Note to self: Take more, better, remind-ful pix! (And don’t forget to look at them, even if it means screens…)

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FOTOFRIDAY: The many colors of Carmel

Posted on: Friday, May 12th, 2023
Posted in: Travelog, Unplugging, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

This young explorer seems delighted to be in magical Carmel. Who wouldn’t be?

I snuck away for a late winter vakay last week. To charming, colorful Carmel-by-the-Sea, on the coast of NoCal. The weather did NOT offer that tropical glaze that we Northerners crave when winter won’t end. But the stunning beauty of the place quieted any complaining. As did the unique boutiques, the friendly folks, and the laid-back vibe.

My tech tools and toys took an overdue unplugged break, too…except of course for some irresistible pictures like this one.

Oh, to be a carefree boy once more, like this lad lost beside the sea. Then again, one often feels forever young when ambling a pristine beach and observing a fearless, curious seeker. A future BreakAway artist? No doubt!

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What Happens in Vegas?

Posted on: Thursday, February 9th, 2023
Posted in: Travelog | Leave a comment

Las Vegas is a love/hate destination. A place I’m excited to visit, and also happy to leave. 

Could there be any city anywhere that’s as entertaining and bizarre? People flock there like wild geese. Ginormous casinos and other-worldly attractions and major-league sports teams keep popping up, bringing yet more reasons to go and more humans to fill the bottomless void. So what happens in Vegas? I’d say…pretty much anything and everything!

But I’ll limit this travelog to a mere ~5 teasers of what I experienced. For now, at least, that’s quite enough.

  • A son may show up!

Since my son plays football for the Las Vegas Raiders, I went to see HIM. And a game. Few feelings can compare to watching my little sportster perform on a stage like that with, oh, 80,000 of my best friends watching. Of course, the shock and awe of the violence hits me head-on, also—and he DID have a concussion this year, but was good-to-go for this game.

All to say, Daddies: Don’t let your babies grow up to be ballers. But if they do, keep cheering, coaching, and covering your eyes when necessary. As this was the last game, we had a blast for a few days after the season’s end. And indeed, we enjoyed both some touristy treats and some laid-back R&R.

  • Surrogate sons may show up

What’s better than having friends you’ve known since childhood? Nothing really, except maybe gathering as a gaggle to root for one of your own on a faraway sports field. I’ve known these ‘boys’ since, well, babyhood in some cases. My thanks to them for letting me join the gang for all the partying and craziness. Yes, boys, I’ve still got it! (Whatever IT is…)

  • You will see ostentatiousness that passeth all understanding

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right? So out of respect for strangers I don’t know, I’ll admit I watched all, but will only tell some. Like…the dozens of beauty queens serving small ringside groups of rich fans nonstop treats (including these bottles of Dom). Like gussied-up groups emerging from larger-than-life limos to gamble their lives away. Like enough omnipresent security to trump the Secret Service.

Bright lights, big city? Blindingly so. Returning to a quiet hotel suite, thankfully, happens too, albeit at some absurdly late hours.

  • You’ll experience attractions that dazzle and bedazzle

Who comes up with this stuff? Seriously, I want that job! Casino-resorts painstakingly modeled after Paris, Italy, and New York New York are just the beginning. Because within these mammoth structures are endless top-notch eateries, exclusive boutiques, blow-your-mind bars, and live entertainment that never sleeps.

Warning: Your eyes…and your brain…may explode. With glittery fountains.

  • Cool stuff will surprise and delight

Stuff off the Strip happens in Vegas, too. And some of that may provide the best sight-seeing of all. The Freemont Street Experience—4 covered blocks of the original LV with a mind-blowing animation + light show on the ceiling—offers unique small(er) bars, limitless live entertainment (indoors and out), and a sense of history that’s an antidote to the sparkly new sprawl that has taken over.

Nearby, the Arts District brings a fresh, yet revitalized neighborhood packed with dozens of F&B establishments, thrift stories, galleries, boutiques, and buskers.

Also worth a mention: The uber-creative, hands-on attraction that comprises Area 15 (sampled in a recent post).

About Area 15: We cannot explain; you would not understand. So suffice it to say, when in Vegas…Go there! 

Would we say the same about Vegas…Go there? Hmmmm. I can think of, oh, 555 places I’d recommend first. Still, I know MANY folks who enjoy it, and fly there often. So yes, take that BreakAway and see for yourself.

You’ll have fun. Be wowed. And find yourself pondering did that just happen? for days to come.

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FOTOFRIDAY: The Many Faces of Vegas

Posted on: Friday, January 20th, 2023
Posted in: Travelog, FOTOFRIDAY | One comment

Las Vegas has variety. Enough to make your head spin! (Photo of your MYBA host, Kirk Horsted, as taken by son Jesper Horsted.)

Because my son plays for the Las Vegas Raiders, I finally made it there for a game and some quality time with my boy. Since the game was the season’s last for the team—and they didn’t make the playoffs—I was gifted with family hangout time after the game for a few days. While not my first rodeo in Vegas, I was, naturally, blown away by the place.

You want attractions and entertainment you had no idea existed? Go there. AREA15 (“A Wanderland of Art, Music & Amusement) is where my faces photo happened—and offers just one example of a venue that will both delight and overwhelm.

So…a more thorough (though not tell-all!) travelog with some pics is in order and will post on these pages in coming days. (Working title: What happens in Vegas?) For now, the photo above offers a teaser-metaphor. Because indeed, your head spins when there. Stimuli abounds such that one rarely knows what to look at. A silly grin can happen, sometimes for unidentifiable reasons.

BUT…As travel destinations go, well, it’s an acquired taste. Some people love it—millions have moved there! In fact, the population has grown nearly 7-fold since 1980, now sitting at nearly 3 million!  And who knows how many tourists are there? It felt like another 3 million.

It’s always good to BreakAway and experience new things. And Las Vegas DOES know how to throw a mean party. But after leaving Las Vegas, I also had to agree with Saint Dorothy: There’s no place like home.

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New Carousel Pics Show BreakAway Extremes

Posted on: Thursday, October 27th, 2022
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, SoulTrain, Travelog, Unplugging | Leave a comment

Extremes are hot these days—as in climate change, political divides, and BreakAway photo exhibits. Please take a glance at the lovely new photo pairing in the carousel above. Today we add another pair of opposites that somehow attract.

  • Some like it jam-packed

This photo from just another day at the MN State Fair demonstrates the other-worldly peace and joy that many folks feel from large crowds (other than, perhaps the sheriffs). The Fair routinely attracts 200,000 warm bodies a day. In similar scenes, the Penn State ‘White Out’ football game last Saturday hosted 110,000 fans. In one stadium.

These gatherings are hardly alone, and keep good, crowded company with music festivals, religious events (the haj attracts ~2.5 million pilgrims) and celebrity spectacles (think: Pope, Queen, funerals).

Most people, if asked, would say they don’t love crowded spaces. And yet we not only rush toward them when inspired, we achieve a profound sense of both escape and belonging. One that often costs a lot, requires ample planning, and may take days to recover from. Yet the memories and euphoria far outweigh the hassles.

  • Some like it solo

This charming picture of my daughter, chilling on a Caribbean beach, shows the other BreakAway extreme. Who doesn’t need to unplug, be alone, and seek some P&Q now and then? On this day, the beach was nearly empty, providing an idyllic spot to meditate while surrounded by nature and beauty. Far, far away from home and distraction.

How else do people elude the world’s relentless noise and masses? We could never count the ways, there are so many. But fishing comes to mind, as I often see their mellow and placid selves floating by. Others run, bike, swim, ski. Many unplug to read, write, garden, play music, or just…sit.

“Sit” is another word for meditating. When I see this pic of my daughter, I feel serenity.

As did she. I hope you do too—whether you find it via a BreakAway into swarms of like-minded people. Or choose to slip away into your quiet, happy space. Or both!

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FOTOFRIDAY: Just Another Villa in Italia

Posted on: Friday, October 14th, 2022
Posted in: Travelog, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

Where DID they get all those statues?

When Autumn hits, my mind turns to Europe, as most of my time there seems to have been when summer ends, the tourists have retreated, the countryside is humming with harvest excitement (and treats), and the locals are throwing parties and fests all over—as they’ve done for centuries.

This lovely little villa comes from such a place and memory. Somewhere in Tuscany, surrounded by countless charming towns and vineyards. Such sights blur as you drive around until you feel like you’re hallucinating on some idyllic Disney ride.

I actually think I snapped the shot from a moving car. Probably on the prowl from one winery to another. Doesn’t really matter where…

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