a modern tugboat

I spend a lot of time researching and playing out various scenarios especially regarding my two favorite things: exploring and work. I used to do this with dating, scheming and dreaming about people I didn’t know and how our lives might intertwine. And with some of these possibilities settled I’ve added a new unsatisfying research topic: real estate.

But I’ve noticed that when it comes to actually making an important decision, there is a strong inner voice that speaks up and says yes or no and will not be moved. I applied to one college. I knew I was getting married the night of my third date with Nick. I wanted to live by the park, so we live by the park. Of course these decisions are based on extensive research, because I like research but the voice made them easy. I wonder where the voice comes from and if I can rely on it more.

According to my reading on habits, 40 percent of what we do in a given day is on autopilot and if we can set those habits up in a healthy way, that leaves our decision making and will power to be used on more important topics. I would like to develop my inner voice listening skills to compliment my healthy habits. I do a lot of bargaining with myself “I should do this, I owe it to them, a good person would” instead of listening to that steady voice that says “Nope.”

Focus: Why do I have two blogs?

My Daily Yoga app, so satisfying to see those green rows of completed tasks. I am definitely a finisher.

I’m thinking about my habits this month and one of my desired daily activities is posting some writing and photos every day. I was a daily blogger when I lived in Beverly and I loved it. Then I got busy with having a partner, moving to New York, taking over the world etc. and was simultaneously thinking about becoming a travel writer. But my hook was I was going to be a travel writer who didn’t go anywhere

I still think this is a great idea. But it gets in the way of my habit because I have to make a decision every time I write something about whether it is a “travel” piece or a “personal” piece. This is counterproductive because I don’t have a different persona on my travel blog, nor do I have any interest in “monetizing” it. And, the closer I come to my goal of staying local and loving my daily life the same way I love backpacking in Europe, the harder it becomes to differentiate the two.

One thing I could do is import all my “travel” writing to date over here and actually develop a different character for that blog so I would know what belongs there. And it could have a different schedule so I wouldn’t get confused day to day.

But what should I do with slowtravelnyc? Events? Videos? Appalachian Trail the easy way?


Forming a good habit

Birthday Pina Colada on Governor’s Island

I’m on my fourth week of daily yoga and although it doesn’t give me the superpowered death defying feeling that riding my bike to work in Chinatown did, I’m very happy with the results and I have no intentions of stopping when the month is up.

Writing, researching and daydreaming have been my habits for a long time and moving toward a more active approach to life has been very fulfilling. Gretchen Rubin has written several enjoyable books on how to be happier and they form a meaningful antidote to competitive, absolutist thinking that can dominate an elite school or high pressure workplace. In a high pressure city.

In addition to my exercise habit, I’ve been bringing my veggie lunch every day to work. Next up, stop complaining. Which means I have to replace complaining with something else. hmmm.


Loose Focus for Monday Morning

view from our Cinnamon Bay campsite

I read four books on my unplugged vacation and have kept up the reading habit since our return. We are still in the process of moving but it feels like the home stretch is upon us. The daffodils and spring bulbs that came up in December are resuming their growth. I anticipate a spring spent in the park taking pictures of plants for this blog.

Goals for this week: sign a lease on a new apartment.

Books Read:

  • The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks  Devoted to his traditional farming community in Yorkshire, Rebanks sneaked away to go to Oxford during the recession and runs a very popular sheep heavy twitter feed.
  • New Girl Law: Drafting a future for Cambodia by Anne Elizabeth Moore A feminist punk who went to Cambodia to teach young women how to make zines after her publishing collective imploded.
  • Inside the Grass Hut by Ben Connelly A zen monk in Minnesota who loves an ancient poem and leads poetry and hiking meditation workshops in Montana.
  • Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin An obsessive writer and mom on the Upper West Side who wants to do everything perfectly and is gradually figuring out that that looks different for every person on the surface but underneath we have pretty simple needs and drivers.

All nonfiction with strong settings and unique narrators with unusual approaches to improving/living their lives.

Have a great week!

Book Review: The Origin of Feces by David Waltner-Toews

Can we admit, freely and openly, that what we eat and how we handle our shit are essential acts of citizenship, as important as how we vote?


I picked this book up on recommendation of Backyard and Beyond, a blog about nature in Brooklyn, which said to read it because “farm to table is not nearly the complete cycle.”

This book is an introduction to systems thinking as well as a lot of interesting information about our how waste is reused or not in our global economy. The author has a light touch, enjoys the puns and potency of language about waste, but the subject is extremely important. I had never truly understood the implications of importing food and water from other countries or regions and the resulting waste impact.  Read it so we can talk about it!

Systems thinking about food is new for me so I am experimenting- I now buy my food as locally as possible and eat low on the food chain. Also choosing organic consistently, for the farm workers if not for my health.