Currently, I’m reading The Vagabond’s Way: 366 Meditations on Wanderlust, Discovery and the Art of Travel by Rolf Potts. I’m reading the meditations slowly; one page a day. It’s been a fun ritual, and the book has made me reflect on writing and walking in Paris.
Last week, I read Rolf's essay — “Walking at Home Puts You into the Mindset of Travel.” The focus of the essay is on solvitur ambulando; a Latin phrase that means “it is solved by walking.”
Rolf said, “… In seeking to experience a familiar environment at a walking pace, you aren’t just slowing down and savoring that place in a new way; you’re opening yourself up to ways of knowing and feeling that you can’t encounter while cooped up at home. Instead of filling your mind with new information, a walk clears it out and opens it up to innovative ways of thinking; instead of focusing your attention on concrete plans, a walk allows you to more vividly dream of wide-open possibilities.”
I love this sentiment because I enjoy walking. It helps me slow down and savor a place. Also, riding my bike has a similar effect. Cycling puts me in a travel mindset, it helps me clear my mind, and see my community from different angles. For example, driving our car didn’t give me the opportunity to truly see our community. Since we sold the car, I’ve cycled through new to me neighborhoods, discovered a bike bridge, and different bike routes. I feel like a tourist at home, and that’s been a sweet experience!
Plus, biking has facilitated fun encounters. For instance, a few days ago, I was cycling home in the evening. About three blocks ahead of me, I saw a well-lit cyclist zoom by at a high rate of speed. I was positive the cyclist was my husband, so I pedaled fast to catch up with him. I was also shouting “Dr. Smith” into the wind. Apparently, my shouting slowed him down. And I was correct, the moving Christmas tree was my husband. For the record, he has 12 lights on his bicycle.
We rode home together, and it was lovely. We talked about our day and how lucky we felt to be biking around town. Selling our car has already facilitated close-to-home travel adventures. We’re looking forward to more serendipitous meet-ups by bike or on foot.
With that, here’s what sparked my creativity and curiosity recently:
1.) I’m still in love with Gâteau: The Surprising Simplicity of French Cakes by Aleksandra Crapanzano. It’s a fun cookbook! Last weekend, I made a “Gâteau au Yaourt à la Farine d'Amande” (an Almond Yogurt Cake). I’ve made a dozen recipes from Gâteau, and this is my favorite creation. The almond flour made the cake moist and savory. It was devoured quickly, and I had to make another cake. Ursula the Cat enjoyed supervising my progress in the kitchen.
2.) I’m loving Tiny World on Apple TV. It’s a series of documentaries about tiny creatures. The filmmakers got some incredible shots!
3.) Isy Suttie interviewed Bonnie Garmus on the Penguin Podcast. Garmus is the author of Lessons in Chemistry; a novel that I loved. On the podcast, Garmus talked about her writing process, cold water swimming, what she learned as a copywriter, and more.
4.) Dakota's latest newsletter inspired me to try Anki! Also, Dakota’s tribute to his neighbor, Lee, was beautiful. I’m glad Dakota mentioned Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande. It is a moving book about aging and death.
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As your former neighbor, I can attest that Logan looks like a Christmas tree as he rides around at night. 🤣 That gateau looked fantastic! I cannot believe how big Ursula has gotten ♥️♥️♥️
YES to two wheels! I gotta get some of those sweet Christmas tree lights for my commuter.
Fun that you're reading The Vagabond's Way. I also got a copy of it...but I couldn't just read one a day! (Teach me your discipline, Sensai Tammy.) I found that I'd get pulled into the next one...then another. Sooo in two months, I read the entire thing, even with the intention to slowly nibble vs devour. OH WELL. :)
So glad you're getting into the world of Anki. Welcommmmme. (Said in deep, booming voice.) Once you get things dialed, I think you'll find it's fantastic. Here's to ramping up your language learning!