Monthly Archives: October 2009

Spring in Central Park

Congratulations Mom, Sarah Z., Katie C., Shannon, Lisa, Missy, and especially Silke, who nailed it! Almost tricked some of you though, eh? I took that photo of trees in Central Park, in no other than NY, NY! It was that day – the one I wait for ALL winter — when the cold melts under a suddenly warm sun, and New Yorkers are HAPPY, liberated from their cramped apartments and FREE to PLAY. I grabbed my camera and wandered into Central Park to enjoy the euphoria. It’s amazing what a little sunshine and some cherry blossoms and magnolia trees can do for a winter-crusted New York soul…

Mmmm. The first day of spring cracks New Yorkers out of their shells and within minutes, the parks are overrun with smiles and skirts. People flock to every green patch of the city and bring the oddest toys out to celebrate (you’d be amazed how many grown men have hula hoops or some sort of stick throwing game from the ’90s tucked away in their closets, behind Armani suits).

Over this past weekend, I saw the year’s first snowfall during a drive from Boston to New York. Tomorrow it’s supposed to be 77 degrees! I shall embrace the confusion of October and prepare myself  for a long, cold winter.  As it gets crisper out, I would like to remember that first, blissfully perfect day of spring that I look forward to ALL year long.

Here are a few more photos from my spring-in-Central Park-walk…  If you look closely, you can feel me smiling.

Central Park 1

Central Park 1

Cherry Blossom Branch. Central Park, NYC

Cherry Blossom Branch. Central Park, NYC

NE View of Central Park from Belvedere Castle

NE View of Central Park from Belvedere Castle

Forsythia. Central Park, NYC.

Forsythia. Central Park, NYC.

White Blossoms. Central Park, NYC.

White Blossoms. Central Park, NYC.

Yellow Magnolias. Central Park, NYC.

Yellow Magnolias. Central Park, NYC.

Pink Magnolias. Central Park, NYC.

Pink Magnolias. Central Park, NYC.

Sunlight through a Branch. Central Park, NYC.

Sunlight through a Branch. Central Park, NYC.

Purple. Central Park, NYC.

Purple. Central Park, NYC.

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Mystery Trees

First of all, I want to celebrate that Travels with Tavel officially has over 2,ooo HITS!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TUNING IN!! Four months and 2,000 hits… I can live with that. 🙂

I’ve missed several weeks of mystery snapshots, so in honor of the 2,000 hits, allow me to get back in the saddle…

Can you tell me where in the US this shot comes from, and what park it might be?

Trees

Trees

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Butterflies

I saw several beautiful butterflies in Upstate New York this past weekend, where the green of summer is transforming quickly into the red, orange, and yellow of fall.  This inspired me to post several random photos I’ve taken of butterflies from my travels to NY, Costa Rica, and Argentina. Enjoy!

Butterfly Farm. Arenal, Costa Rica

Butterfly Farm. Arenal, Costa Rica

Butterflies. Arenal, Costa Rica

Butterflies. Arenal, Costa Rica

Butterfly with Eye. Arenal, Costa Rica

Butterfly with Eye. Arenal, Costa Rica

Blue Butterfly. Iguazu, Argentina.

Blue Butterfly. Iguazu, Argentina.

Dutchess County Butterfly. Stanfordville, NY

Dutchess County Butterfly. Stanfordville, NY

Dutchess County Butterfly on Flower. Stanfordville, NY

Dutchess County Butterfly on Flower. Stanfordville, NY

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Why We Love Matt

Thank you for your reactions to the “Where the Hell is Matt?” video. Doesn’t it make you want to get out there and visit every place he’s been, and maybe even dance with a bunch of strangers? Why does this video make us happy?

The first few times I watched one of Matt’s videos, I got choked up — a bizarre reaction to a YouTube video of a stranger doing a silly dance for 4.5 minutes, but an honest one.  Granted, I have my sappy moments, but I admit how this video affects me because I know for a fact that it has a similar effect on others. I am just trying to understand why.

I’ve realized that, on a most basic level, this video makes people feel happy because the people in the video are happy. They are dancing — a universal symbol of joy and celebration — and they are dancing in GORGEOUS settings, which reminds us of all the beauty in the world, how much there is to appreciate, and how much remains to be explored. At the same time, it’s about people coming together despite differences. We love coming together! The Olympics, the World Cup, whatever the event there is something we find very inspiring and wonderful about people from all over the world sharing a moment, an experience, a dance.

While wordless, Matt communicates something very simple: we are all the same. When we drop all the political hupla, we are left with a beautiful world, fascinating people, amazing architecture, and a bunch of awful dance moves. Dancing is about being free, being expressive, and letting the walls that hold us in fall down. It makes us vulnerable, and while each person’s moves are unique, dancing is a collective experience that can be shared. Most of what makes us different is on the outside — our environments, histories, languages — but when you take away the backdrop, we’re all just a bunch of goofy dancers who want to understand each other. Sometimes words just get in the way.

The video is like a more modern, less cheesy, less forced version of “We are the World.” And the truth is, I probably just ruined it, because the whole point is that it’s not about a discussion, about digging for meaning or truth. It’s about a guy named Matt who does a silly dance in every beautiful and odd place he visits with anyone who cares to join in, and it is that simplicity that connects us, gets us dancing together, and makes us happy.

Part of traveling is about connecting with people who are different, and dancing with them. The “Where the Hell is Matt?” videos basically sum up why I love it.

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