So on Wednesday I saw that the mountains looked really nice, and so did the sky during sunset. Why is that? The gross inversion that envelops the city every year. Let’s admit it. It looks pretty but it’s a killer. Since I couldn’t leave campus after 5PM due to work, I snagged my camera and took pictures of the mountain ranges to the west and to the south. I’m glad I did. I found out that I wasn’t the only one wanting to take pictures- a few other people were doing it, too!
You know the whole nature vs. nurture thing? I wonder about it sometimes. In a post from about two weeks ago, when I talk about swimming, I said I was “born to be a water girl.” Honestly, I love the stuff. It’s still a goal to swim in a lake and a river. But that’s a tangent. Do I love the water so much because I grew up in two states that was surrounded by water on at least three sides? Was it because I was on the swim team for a bit and grew to love that? It was likely caused by my environment, not who I am.
What does this have to do with anything, you ask? Well, I ask because I’m also a traveler. I love to travel, and I get restless if I sit in one place too long without a change of scenery. I can only change my scenery so much without a car. In this situation, my desire to travel was caused by my dad. He took the family places all the times. Canada, Mexico, Japan, the Bahamas, a ton of states. Lots of national parks. And road trips. Those are a blast. I’ve been traveling since I was a few months old. Now that I’m in college, I don’t get to do it often. Poor college kid and all.
There’s something refreshing about hopping in a car and traveling somewhere you’ve never been. The view outside of the car changes. You blast music- or, in my family’s case, Dad picks something to listen to and moves it up to the front of the car so the kids can blast their music with headphones in. You talk and laugh and maybe have a hard time hearing what’s being said at the front, and then there’s a lot of yelling. You have a map to know where you’re going, but maybe something looks interesting so you go there for a bit. Hello, 18-something’s town. Then you lose cell service and if you don’t have a map, you better hope the one driving wants to stop for directions instead of driving aimlessly.
But that’s life, right?
I talked with a friend last night, and we got onto the topic of traveling. I think we both agreed a road trip is a cool thing. I don’t actually remember, because I’m running on 4 1/2 hours of sleep and quite a few things have slipped my mind, despite my attention to details. I just remember I said road trips are cool. I recall saying something about how I wanted to road trip somewhere I had never been, to somewhere radically different from where I’d grown up, and take pictures of everything. Document the journey.
I’ve grown up in suburbia. I can tell you I’ve seen a lot of concrete and a heck of a lot of water and desert. To me, anything with more than a few trees is green. When my family went on a cross country road trip last year, I stared out the windows a good portion of the trip because there were trees everywhere. We joked, “What is this green stuff at the side of the road?” Then we were up north and there were all those fields, I found it interesting. For a bit. Then I became tired of seeing corn. But plants! Green! Not neon lights and metal and concrete!
Of course, my friend laughed when I said certain places were green to me. He grew up in a place where there was green everywhere. The concept of someplace really green is foreign to me. Maybe, one day, when I have a car and money and can road trip, I’ll visit green places like his hometown. I’ll visit places with forests and rivers. I won’t do urban landscape, oh no. I can do natural landscapes. I’ve told one of my closest friends that we should do a road trip. It’s been a topic half of my friends have been going on about during summer. We keep thinking, “You know what? A road trip would be way fun.” We have different destinations in mind, though. One wants to go to San Diego. Another wants to go to another place in California. I want to go northwest- so Washington, Oregon, Idaho. (“Spokane’s a nice place,” is what my close friend said when I mentioned Washington.) I’d also like to go to the East Coast, but that’s more for history interests. Plus, I’ve been to the East Coast a lot. I want to spend a bit more time exploring the West Coast.
This ties in with something else my friend and I had talked about. Dreams. He had a lot of really cool dreams, but “none of them will come true.” That’s better than me, I told him. I didn’t really have dreams. Then it occurred to me that no, I do have a dream. A dream that’ll likely never come true because it’s 1) expensive and 2) kind of an all-or-nothing thing.
That dream is to travel the world and take photographs of all of the gorgeous places that exist on our planet.
I love photography. I’d love to be able to do something with it. But if it doesn’t work out, what do I do? Go back to being a linguistics major with no idea what to do with her life? Admittedly, I can probably get to traveling by being an ESL teacher. People want ESL teachers, right? Plus, if I improve my Japanese and learn Chinese and Korean, I can be a translator in those countries. Companies love multi-lingual people, right?
That’s probably the one dream I’ve had for a while, with slight changes. I just wanted to travel the world when I was little. Now, I want to travel the world, see the amazing sights, take photos of those amazing sights. Walk, bike, ride a train, bus, or taxis. I miss trains. That’s how I got around in Japan. Good memories. Also one of the only vehicles I can fall asleep in. Taste the food. Soak in the culture. Explore. Get lost. Go on adventures.
Today, I went to go take pictures of a family friend’s daughter. She’s an ice skater, and I’ve always loved watching ice skaters because what they do seems incredible. They’re so graceful, too. It’s really, really neat to watch them. She was only practicing, but I wanted to take pictures of her anyway. The mom asked me if there was any particular theme to my assignment, and almost without thinking I said, “I enjoy people in motion.”
We beat UC Berkley, 47-29. Very satisfying game, and the first PAC-12 game we’ve won this season. It was important (at least to me), considering how we’ve lost all the PAC-12 games thus far. It was really cold though, and because we’re smart, a friend and I brought blankets to huddle in during half-time and whenever we sat down. The third friend never brings a blanket, and just took from us. Somehow, we stayed the whole game instead of leaving at the start of the 4th quarter, because Cal scored almost immediately in the 4th quarter and we were worried. But in the end, we won, and that’s what counts.
I’m surprised I made it to free food at the tailgate. Mariko (the one with no blanket) did laundry and we didn’t leave until 6:30 or something. By the time we got there, the burgers were lukewarm, but they were food and I accepted it. Anything to avoid having to pay $6 for a burger in the stadium.
For a class, a group of friends and I hopped on a bus and went to the Harvard Yale neighborhood. We got lost trying to find it (and then as we came out of the Refuge we found out that the spot where we got off was the true entrance of the park). However, it was a beautiful place! Especially since it was all decked out in fall colors and the leaves blanketed the paths.