Can you imagine traveling for a living? Or at least writing/shooting pictures for a living while traveling (or vice versa)? It’s something I’ve heard other people succeed at doing but haven’t tried it myself.
A colleague recommended I check out the New York Travel Festival this weekend. It’s an event designed for travel industry professionals and those aspiring to work in the travel sector. The two-day conference includes presentations, workshops, cultural performances, and networking events. I plan to blog about the sessions I attend on my business blog, Modern Vintage Ink, cross-promoting on Medium and LinkedIn. I am in stealth mode putting to use all the skills I’ve learned over the years to help myself launch my own business.
I have been in stealth mode the last few months putting to use all the skills I’ve learned over the years to help myself launch my own business. Folks warned me that it would be exciting and scary, exhilarating and at times, daunting. And although it has been (and continues to be), a challenge unlike anything I’ve done before, I’m enjoying learning more about myself each day, even more so now that I am accountable to myself as client and manager.
These life-changing moments are also liberating, freeing myself from the expectations of others and allowing me to be, well, me.
Flashback March 2016
Day 3 begins at 4:45 am with a pickup from Sok Manea, a tuk-tuk driver referred by TripAdvisor and the web. We travel in the dusk to the Angkor Wat temples. The early morning air is crisp. The climate is duplicitous, I didn’t bring a shawl and should have. It’s cool in the morning, teeming with heat the rest of the day. I purchase a 7-day pass and two checkpoints later I am one of the swarming fireflies descending upon the temple grounds.
Imagine going to a SummerStage concert at Central Park, except you have to arrive in the dead of night to get the best seat. Everyone is moving in the same direction through the temple’s western gopura toward the terrace and moat, all to capture the iconic image of Angkor Wat reflected in the lotus flower pool. Hundreds of people are lining up with their handheld phones, tablets, and cameras positioned to click at the exact moment. One man brought a chair to position an expandable tripod so the image would be tourist free. Very few people were actually present in the moment.
Angkor Wat Reflection – (c) Andrea Preziotti
There are no words that can properly express the feeling of entering Angkor Wat the first time. The temple is everything you can imagine and everything beyond what is imaginable. As you roam through its corridors and galleries, you can only feel the presence of the past, the spirit of its inhabitants, the greatness of this structure in its own time, and feel completely at peace. It helps of course if you are one of the first few to enter, as I was. The fewer people (aka tourists) around the better and more enriching your experience will be.
Wildlife in the complex includes dragonflies, sparrows and other small birds, cats, and monkeys. Gibbons and their offspring scale the temple walls and inhabit the surrounding trees. They are as tame as the squirrels back home but I would approach with care.
Walk through the temple from west to east and you find yourself in a peaceful garden sanctuary. It’s like walking into the pages of a fairy tale book.
Dreams about loss, not of people but of things. And it seems many of those dreams manifested in the last hour before I woke. I’ve been reading a lot about lucid dreaming, where you can move in between sequences without pause; it certainly felt like it. I wouldn’t be able to explain the surreality and blended flow of past vignettes otherwise.
It was like watching a scene from a Woody Allen movie and then interacting with all of its characters. I was having lunch at a restaurant, my dining companion nondescript when someone walked by the plate glass window holding up a book that looked familiar. Something I owned, something I knew. That flash of recognition compelled me to dash out of the restaurant in the direction from which the stranger had come, and into the not so distance past from which I had come. A series of life-like experiences and interactions with objects from my past followed: a box of items left under my desk at a former employer’s office; a ‘crooked’ pantry filled with discarded butter and opened bottles of water in from my childhood home; and the persistent presence of a brown corduroy jacket with cream colored pinstripe interior that I’m not sure I ever owned.
The interactions were accompanied by a wave of emotions. First, anger and annoyance for the company having not tried to get in touch with me before donating my ‘goods’ to the strangers and streets of New York City. Then frustration and confusion that the new owners of my childhood home would let food spoil, in a Fantasian asymmetrical room. In each sequence, there was an undefinable and unrecognizable personality: the administrative assistant that was going to help me resolve the box issue; the young woman with curly brown hair sitting on a couch with a mug of tea; an older woman wearing the jacket, the one that used to be mine.
For the last few years, as February has shifted into March so have things and people shifted in and out of my life. A career, a house, a persona, and yes even that brown corduroy jacket. And for every exit, there has also been a beginning: a dream set in motion, a home created, and even a new addition or two to the unfinished fashion closet.