2017 in wandering

As repetitive as they has no doubt become, I’ve nonetheless very much enjoyed this week’s reflections on 2017!

From the narcissistic standpoint of my personal life, it was quite a mercurial year–featuring a volatile blend of unexpected medical troubles (remember when I injured my neck and spent weeks lying on the floor, or when my wisdom teeth attempted to destroy me?), drastic life changes (somehow I’ve completed a quarter of my MA by now!), and stunning romance that would have seemed impossible a year ago (hey, 2015-me, it’s very important that you get involved in snail mail and decide to write to a certain Welsh pen pal…)

At the same time, I enjoyed a shocking amount of whirlwind travels in 2017, at home and abroad: the saddest part, perhaps, is that my quasi-hiatus from blogging kept me from sharing many of those photos with you, readers! Consider this post, then, a bit of a preview for some travel-blog catching up that awaits later this month.

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kelp is on the way

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On days such as this, I’m all the more eager to continue my plan of absconding to Atlantis, living beneath the waves in an isolated society of my own design.

A lost oceanic city may not be real (yet!), but there’s always Monterey Bay Aquarium, my personal “happiest place on Earth!” I could have stared into those seemingly endless open-ocean tanks forever, gazing at the soft spiraling arms of kelp until I was lulled into a meditative state to match the New Age music that constantly plays in these watery halls.

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monterey: how far I’ll go

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So–in more ways than one, I’m back! I’ve returned to the East Coast, for one, but I’m also returning to my blog after a difficult few weeks (it felt good to take a break, honestly). I was so excited to share some gorgeous Northern California seascapes that it’s no surprise I’ve popped back into the blogging life sooner rather than later.

Monterey remains one of the most chillingly stunning places I’ve ever visited. Traveling there felt more like going home than getting off the plane in Massachusetts did! Riding down those endless seaside drives with an eye to the cold surf-break, peeking at otters and pinnipeds of all varieties, pulling my hat securely around my ears as I investigated the shells, crabs, and shipwrecked kelp that cover the rocky shores…it’s the wild ocean, the Romantic “sublime,” as I never imagined it before. Somebody call the Hudson River School!

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Field Notes from Beachcombing

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I come from a family of dedicated, competitive beachcombers. We’ve established a daily morning beach ritual during our trips to Kona, and have also encountered sea glass and shells on both U.S. coasts.

There’s not much in the way of wisdom that I can impart to aspiring beachcombers, since it’s a very personal, simple activity: all you need is a shoreline and the willingness to look closely. So take the notes that follow with a grain of salt (or, perhaps, sand) and go out there yourself, if you can! You never know what you might discover!

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Blue Planet Aquarium: My Sharkest Hour

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Though I’m writing this post from the relative comfort of my Massachusetts apartment–after a 30-hour delayed flight ordeal, naturally–I would give anything to return to Blue Planet Aquarium, where I spent one of my final days in England.

When I was stranded in a Newark airport hotel overnight, I comforted myself with thoughts of a soft purple glow and the slow, meandering fin-strokes of sharks. The experience of observing these marine giants seemingly floating above me, suspended in air and light, remains a highlight of my British adventure.

(It’s too bad that I forgot to pack my shark dress, though!)

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Wave over Wave: Gloucester & Rockport, MA

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Back home in Hawai’i, it would be perfectly acceptable to spend the end of November at the beach (provided you lived in the right area: we don’t catch too many waves in landlocked Volcano, HI!). On the Mainland? Not so much!

My love for the seaside conquers all threats of winter chills, though, so I followed up my maritime art adventure at the Peabody Essex Museum with a trip to the ocean that made it all possible. The sun stayed surprisingly resilient for a day in November, making the journey rather pleasant and survivable, if seasonally inappropriate. Who says you can’t spend Thanksgiving on the shore?

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