Digging Deep in the Garden of Poetry

In keeping with our theme of family and children in celebration of the Full House reunion, ATG “digs deep” into poetry, below.

Dog digging in woods pictureT.S. Eliot once wrote in the opening line of his great poem, The Waste Land, that “April is the cruellest month.” How keenly and acutely we felt that cruelty this spring after such a long, hard winter.

On this last day of April, however, we prefer to enter Merry May on a warm, gentle note, “digging into” an assortment of poetry in celebration and recognition of April as the official “National Month of Poetry.”

For an inspired offering, we turn to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ collection of poems, published by her daughter Caroline, that we have come to value as a real “treasure” for their strength, comfort, beauty and nourishment.

“All the changes in the world, for good and evil, were first brought about by words,” Mrs. Kennedy once wrote.

As a lifelong lover of literature, especially poetry, Jackie O became well acquainted with words at a young age, when she would visit her grandfather once a week after dance lessons to memorize poems together – many of which are recorded in her collection.

From patriotic verses and children’s rhymes to those of love and romance, escape and adventure, her selection of “favorite” poems encompass the range of emotions we experience in life, revealing the beauty, wisdom and inspiration that can be found in the world around us.

Caroline Kennedy's The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy OnassisLetting her collection of poetry speak for itself, she no doubt found great solace, comfort and power in the words of these poems while she traveled through her life as a public figure, experiencing both exalting joys and tragic sorrows.

Mrs. Kennedy would go on to pass her love of language and poetry on to her children, who were encouraged to memorize and recite poems at a young age – the importance of which is reflected in these words: “Once you can express yourself, you can tell the world what you want from it or how you would like to change it.”

The several books of poetry that Caroline Kennedy has published over the years (our favorite being The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, 2001) is a testament to the lasting influence that poetry and literature have had on her life.

As Caroline writes in the introduction, it is not enough to just read poetry – we must memorize it:

“Poets distill life’s lessons into the fewest possible words. But those tiny packages of thought contain worlds of images and experiences and feeling. If our circumstances change and things seem to be falling apart, we can recall a poem that reassures us. If we learn poems by heart, we will always have their wisdom to draw on, and we gain understanding that no one can take away.” 

And it is on that note that we share some of our favorite poems (for you to share and memorize!), hoping that they offer the same comfort, strength and understanding they brought to a woman of lasting influence:

Youth, Day, Old Age and Night
by Walt Whitman

*We like this poem for the image of youth it portrays, capturing the power and energy of being young.

Youth, large, lusty, loving – youth full of grace,

force, fascination

Do you know that Old Age may come after you with

equal grace, force, fascination?

Day full-blown and splendid – day of the immense

sun, action, ambition, laughter,

The Night follows close with millions of suns, and 

sleep and restoring darkness.

 

Life
by Emily Dickinson (who wrote nearly 1,800 poems throughout her lifetime)

If I can stop one heart from breaking

Picture of pathway along waterI shall not live in vain;

If I can ease one life the aching,

Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain.  

 

Afternoon on a Hill
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

*Always a favorite!

I will be the gladdest thing

  Under the sun!

I will touch a hundred flowers

  And not pick one.

 

I will look at cliffs and clouds

  With quiet eyes,

Watch the wind bow down the grass,

  And the grass rise.

 

And when lights begin to show

  Up from the town,

I will mark which must be mine,

  And then start down!

 

Ithaca
by Constantine P. Cavafy

*A modern Greek poet (1863-1933) who “drew heavily on the ancient myths and history in his work,” we love the spirit of adventure captured in this poem.

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,

pray that the road is long,

full of adventure, full of knowledge…

 

Pray that the road is long.

That the summer mornings are many, when,

with such pleasure, with such joy

you will enter ports seen for the first time;

stop at Phoenician markets…

visit many Egyptian cities,

to learn and learn from scholars.

 

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.

To arrive there is your ultimate goal.

But do not hurry the voyage at all.

It is better to let it last for many years;

and to anchor at the island when you are old,

rich with all you have gained on the way,

not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches…

 

…And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.

Wise as you have become, with so much experience,

you must already have understood what these Ithacas mean.

Sunset in kauai

Sea-Fever
by John Masefield (once the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, 1878-1967)

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking

And a gray mist on the sea’s face and a gray dawn breaking.

 

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;…

 

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull’s way and whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

Serene landscape

Ulysses
by Alfred Lord Tennyson

*We share this for our love of Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey

Come, my friend

It’s not too late

to seek a newer world…

Though much is taken,

much abides;

…that which we are, we are –

One equal temper of heroic hearts

Made weak by time and fate,

But strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find

and not to yield….

 

Put Something In
by Shel Silverstein (1930-1999)

*Shel Silverstein is one of our favorite children’s poet for his fun, silly, lyrical poems

Draw a crazy picture,

Write a nutty poem,

Sing a mumble-gumble song,

Whistle through your comb.

Do a loony-goony dance

‘Cross the kitchen floor,

Put something silly in the world

That ain’t been there before.

A Light in the Attic Shel Silverstein

Ations
by Shel Silverstein (1930-1999)

If we meet and I say, “Hi,”

That’s a salutation.

If you ask me how I feel,

That’s consideration.

If we stop and talk awhile,

That’s a conversation.

If we understand each other,

That’s communication.

If we argue, scream and fight,

That’s an altercation.

If later we apologize,

That’s reconciliation.

If we help each other home,

That’s cooperation.

And all these ations added up

Make Civilization.

 

Baby Ate a Microchip
by Neal Levin (from Caroline Kennedy’s Poems to Learn by Heart collection)

Caroline Kennedy A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for ChildrenBaby ate a microchip,

Then grabbed a bottle, took a sip.

He swallowed it and made a beep,

And now he’s thinking pretty deep.

 

He’s downloading his ABCs

And calculating 1-2-3s.

He’s memorizing useless facts

While doing Daddy’s income tax.

 

He’s processing, and now he thrives

On feeding his internal drives.

He’s throwing fits, and now he fights

With ruthless bits and toothless bytes.

 

He must be feeling very smug.

But hold on, Baby caught a bug.

Attempting to reboot in haste,

He accidentally got erased!

 

To Be Of Use
by Marge Percy

*An American poet, 1936-present, who developed a love of books when she came down with rheumatic fever in her childhood and could do little else but read. She once said, “It taught me that there’s a different world there, that there were all these horizons that were quite different from what I could see.”

The people I love best

jump into work head first

without dallying in the shallows

and swim off with sure strokes out of sight…

 

Beautiful purple flowersI love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,

who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,

who strain in the mud and muck to move things forward,

who do what has to be done, again and again……

 

The work of the world is common as mud.

Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.

But the thing worth doing well done

has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident,

Greek amphoras for wine or oil,

Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums 

but you know they were made to be used.

The pitcher cries for water to carry

and a person for work that is real.

 

Happy Thought
by Robert Louis Stevenson

The world is so full of a number of things,

I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.

 

Don’t Quit
Unknown

*We end with a poem that offers words of strength, comfort and encouragement in the face of challenges

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

Beautiful glass vase with flowersAnd you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest, if you must – but don’t you quit.

 

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As everyone of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about

When he might have won had he stuck it out;

Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow –

You might succeed with another blow.

 

Often the goal is nearer than 

It seems to a faint and faltering man,

Often the struggler has given up

When he might have captured the victor’s cup,

And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,

How close he was to the golden crown.

 

Success is failure turned inside out –

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt –

And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems afar;

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –

It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

Dirty dog after digging hole in woods

A Family Meal For a Full House

In celebration of the return of Full House in a 13-episode spinoff, Fuller House, scheduled to premiere next year, ATG is sharing some recipes for a delicious, family meal to enjoy together “Around the Table”, along with some fun “Just For Kids” recipes. See also our reflection on children’s poetry.

As a young mother in the beginning stages of learning how to cook, I often turned to The Fannie Farmer Cookbook (1896), which became a trusted source of some of the best, most basic and easy-to-follow recipes I have ever used.

Many of the recipes, including these delicious buttermilk pancakes (and two more below), have become some of our “family favorites”, made time and again at the request of both family and friends alike.

Reflecting on the importance of passing on recipes and cooking skills from generation to generation and “mother to daughter”, Fannie Merritt Farmer (1857-1915) writes in the introduction to her book:

Recipes using pineapples“Today, I am convinced that instinctive feeling for baking is no longer passed on from mother to daughter…[t]here seems to be a lost generation – or two – who weren’t given the experience of learning at mothers’ elbows, and they seem, as a result, so timid when it comes to baking that they take uneasy refuge in packaged dough mixtures or prebaked pie shells…”

She continues:

“Still, I sense there’s an increasing yearning, among young cooks especially, to be more in touch with the wonderful and various grains the earth produced…[m]ost of us want to be able to FULL THE HOUSE with tempting, homey smells of baking; to give children just in from school the real homemade cookie instead of something from a package.”

Below is a recommended family meal (inspired by our travels through Pineapple Country), along with some recipes “Just For Kids”, that we are “passing on” to you in the hope that you will share, eat and enjoy with your very own family.

Waldorf Salad with Mango Dressing (inspired by the Hanalei Gourmet Cafe, Hanalei, Kauai)

Ingredients for the salad:
1 head of Romaine lettuce, or lettuce of your choice
1 Granny Smith or crisp apple of your choice (we used Pink Lady)
1/2-1 cup caramelized walnuts (see below)*
1/2 cup or more, if desired, gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup or so fresh pineapple

Ingredients for the salad dressing:
1 cup of fresh or frozen thawed mango
1/4 cup orange juice
1-2 tsp. good quality honey
1/8 cup rice vinegar
Generous squeeze of fresh lime juice
Pinch of salt and sprinkle of pepper

Instructions:
Puree the above ingredients in blender and refrigerate. When ready to serve salad arrange salad ingredients in a serving bowl or individual plates and use desired amount of dressing. Toss and serve.

*For caramelized walnuts:
1 cup walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter

Place all in large skillet and on medium heat melt butter and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly combined and the walnuts are evenly coated. Stir gently until the sugar begins to caramelize. When the sauce thickens and turns brown stir one last time to make sure all of the walnuts are thoroughly coated with the carmel sauce. Turn out onto wax paper and quickly separate the walnut pieces before they clump together. Let cool before using.

Waldorf Salad With Mango by Hanalei Gourmet Cafe, Kauai, Hawaii

Barbeque Chicken Pizza

This Barbeque Chicken Pizza is an adapted version of a homemade pizza we used to make for “TGI-Fridays” while watching some of our favorite family-friendly shows, including Full House.

Ingredients:
1 homemade pizza dough (see below) or your favorite store-bought ready made pizza dough
2 bone-in chicken breasts
1 medium onion
1/2 cup or desired amount fresh pineapple
Approximately 2-3 cups barbecue sauce (we used Sweet Baby Rays Original)
Approximately 3 cups fresh mozzarella (it is easier to slice and then chop rather than shred)
Olive Oil
Butter
Salt and Pepper

Ingredients for Homemade Pizza Dough (taken from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
1 package dry yeast
4 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil

Instructions for pizza:
Dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup of very warm water. After about 10 min. or when bubbles appear add flour, 2 tablespoons oil, the salt and 1 cup of very warm water. Mix thoroughly and turn out onto floured surface and knead for about 10 min. or until nice and smooth. Put into oiled bowl to rise covering with plastic wrap and placing in a warm spot. When the dough has doubled in bulk, about 2 hours, remove from bowl and divide in two. Roll 1/2 of dough out on either pizza pan or cookie sheet and do the same with the other half. Place trays near oven and let rest and rise a little more (about 20 min. or so). Use a fork to lightly poke the dough to keep bubbles from appearing.

Instructions for the chicken:
Place the chicken breast in glass baking dish and pour 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on top coating both breast. Sprinkle kosher salt and pepper over chicken. Pour about 1/2 – 3/4 cup of barbecue sauce mixed with a teaspoon of water  over the chicken breasts and place 1 tablespoon of butter on top of each breast. Place approximately 3/4 cup of fresh chopped pineapple in baking dish around chicken and bake in 375 oven covered with aluminum foil for the first hour. Be sure to keep the chicken moist by spooning the liquid in the pan over the chicken at least once during the first hour. Remove aluminum and bake for another hour or less or more depending on the size of the breasts, again spooning liquid over chicken. When the chicken is a deep golden brown, use fork or sharp knife to test for readiness. When done remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes or so. Remove chicken from bones and cut into bite sized pieces, place in bowl and set aside.

Instructions for the onions:
Slice onions in thin slices and sauté in a little butter until still slightly crisp, place in bowl and set aside.

To assemble the pizza:
Mix barbecue sauce with a tiny bit of water to make it easier to spread on dough (we used approx. 1 cup of sauce for each pizza; you can use as much or as little as you desire). Evenly distribute bite-sized chicken pieces on pizza, add onions next, pineapple if desired and then the mozzarella. Bake in 400 degree oven for approximately 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.

Barbecue chicken pizza homemade recipe

And for dessert…

Pineapple Upside Down Cake (taken from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook)

“Pineapple upside-down cake became famous as the result of a 1925 cooking contest conducted by the Dole Company, which developed canned pineapple in 1903.”

Ingredients:
4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) butter, for melting
3/4 cup dark-brown sugar (We didn’t have dark and so used light)
7 pineapple rings or 1 & 1/2 – 2 cups of fresh pineapple cut into 1″ pieces
5 & 1/3 tbsp. (1/3 cup) butter, room temp.
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temp.
1 & 2/3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup milk, room temp.

Instructions:
Melt butter and brown sugar in saucepan, stirring constantly until the sugar melts and is thick and bubbly. Pour sugar mixture into 9-inch bake pan, spread evenly and arrange pineapple pieces on top until covered and set aside.

For the cake batter, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and then add eggs and vanilla and continue to mix until thoroughly combined. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir until the batter is smooth. Spread evenly over the pineapple and bake in 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, or until toothpick test comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes or so and then carefully turn out onto platter fruit side up. Serve with whipped cream and enjoy!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe from Fannie Farmer

“Just For Kids” Recipes

Heavenly Dirt (a “great party attraction” taken from the Three Rivers Cookbook: Volume III)

Ingredients:
2 8-oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 3/12-oz. boxes vanilla instant pudding
3 cups cold milk
16 oz. cool whip topping, softened in refrigerator
2 tsp. vanilla
1 20-oz. pkg. Oreo cookies
8’’ flower pot
Silk flowers
Gummy worms

Instructions:
Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until creamy and set aside. Mix pudding and milk until thick. Combine with cheese mixture, using a wire whisk. Add cool whip topping and vanilla to pudding-cheese mixture. Crush Oreo cookies, including filling. Using an 8’’ flower pot, put a layer of cookie crumbs, then a layer of cream mixture. Continue layering, ending with a layer of crumbs (to look like dirt)! Add silk flowers and decorate with gummy worms.

Hint: Use half recipe of cream and less than a 16 oz. package of Oreos when using a 6’’ flower pot.

Fruit Juice Shapes (taken from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Family Style Cookbook)

Ingredients:
4 cups pure grape juice, pure white grape juice, cranberry juice cocktail, or other clear juice
4 envelopes unflavored gelatin

Instructions:
In a large bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1 cup of the juice and allow to stand for a few minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 3 cups of juice until just boiling and pour it over the juice and gelatin mixture. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved.

Pour into a 9×9-inch pan and chill until firm, about 3 hours or overnight. Dip the pan briefly into hot water to loosen, cut into square or shapes, and serve.

 

There’s No Place Like a Full(er) House

Fuller House premieres Friday, February 26th, 2016 on Netflix! 

In celebration of the Full House “family” reunion, we’re featuring a delicious family meal to enjoy together “Around the Table”, along with some fun recipes “Just for Kids.” See also our reflection on children’s poetry

When word came out last week that some of the characters from Full House may not be participating in its 13-episode spinoff scheduled for next year, I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought: “How rude!”

Having not watched the show in nearly 10 years, the ability to so readily recall one of the many catchphrases made popular by the show’s dynamic set of characters is a testimony to the impact and influence it had on me and countless others, of both older and younger generations.

How clearly I can still hear the helpless plea of Uncle Jesse’s (John Stamos), “Have mercy!”, the idiom used by Joey (David Coulier) after receiving praise for a joke, “Cut it out!” and the sign of approval from Michelle (Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen) that I’ve sometimes been tempted to use in response to a request from my boss: “You got it, dude!” (or, perhaps for a more tedious task, “No way, Jose!”)

Full House Fuller House Reunion

My excitement for the show’s return, however, stems from a longing for TV shows that do more than entertain us with their mindlessness, off-color humor and decadent storylines, most prevalent in reality TV.

One quick look at the mere titles of current and upcoming shows on the ABC network – Full House’s former broadcaster – reveals a startling trend that seems to normalize, even embrace, corruption and immorality: Secrets and Lies. Scandal. Selfie. Revenge. How To Get Away With Murder. Mistresses.

What these, and many other shows today, are seemingly lacking is the exhibition of any type of morals or values, thereby blurring the line between what is “right” or “wrong”, “good” or “bad” – precisely what Full House used to define so well.

As cheesy and full of clichés as it could be, Full House not only entertained and made us laugh, but also offered valuable lessons, wisdom and advice for children at some of their most vulnerable stages in life.

Faced with various milestones, situations and challenges we can all relate to – such as fear of failure, insecurities and wanting to belong – each episode left the viewer with a clearly defined message or “takeaway” which, more often than not, came down to one simple principle: always try to do the right thing.

Guided by the examples set forth by their “parents” (technically a father, uncle and close friend) who themselves faced dilemmas and at times erred in judgment, the children not only learned the difference between right and wrong, but received instruction, guidance and a loving, helping hand when they lost their way or faltered.

“Everywhere you look, everywhere you go, there’s a heart…a hand to hold on to”, read the lyrics to the theme song played at the beginning of each episode.

Therein lies the strength of the show: the impartation of values and morals by adults who created a stable, secure home for the children to grow, flourish and learn from the many mistakes and mishaps that inevitably occur throughout life.

“When you’re lost out there, and you’re all alone, a light is waiting to carry you home…everywhere you look”, the song continues.*

Full House Spinoff

Similar to other family-oriented sitcoms of the 90s – including Family Matters, Step-by-Step and Boy Meets WorldFull House, as dated as it is today (shoulder pads, scrunchies, neon windbreaker sweatsuits and all), offered traditional morals, lessons and messages that transcend the passage of time, remaining just as relevant and important today as they were back then.

It entertained and taught us something – not just about ourselves, but about our relationship with others. About how to treat others and care for others with kindness, compassion and respect. It taught us why we shouldn’t lie, cheat or steal – or why we should embrace accomplishments with humility and courage in the face of trials. And, perhaps most importantly, it showed us why family is important.

Maybe it is a bit of nostalgia for the “TGI-Friday” showings that I so looked forward to each week, but I long for a TV show that doesn’t bring me into the debauchery of “real” or invented characters, but instead elevates me to a higher, “fuller” mental state, bringing me that sense of home and family so crucial to the foundation of a healthy, moral society.

Television can and should be entertaining – a method of relaxation and escape. But, when its entertainment consistently flaunts debasing behavior and attitudes, that is when it loses its merit.

“All television is educational television,” Nicholas Johnson once said. “The question is: what is it teaching?”

For a reflection on the man responsible for transforming children’s television into an educational and uplifting experience, see: “‘Springing’ Into Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

This post was also featured on The Huffington Post. Like ATG on Facebook and Twitter.


*Perhaps unsurprisingly, the theme song for Full House was co-written and performed by Jesse Frederick, the same man who helped compose the theme songs to the similar family-centric shows Family Matters and Step-by-Step.

Boston: We Run Together

ATG contributor Laura O’Neil reflects on the Boston Marathon and spirit of resiliency in light of the second anniversary of the bombings, below. 

“There’s still something so unifying about sport in its purest form, when athletes rise above themselves and touch greatness, and in doing so, remind us all that we also have greatness inside of us.”

April 19th, 2015: the day of the 119th Boston Marathon* – the second since the bombings – found Boston in the midst of the defendant’s trial. The morning was cold, dreary, and grey with rain threatening otherwise manageable running weather.

Beacon Street BostonAs I set out on my customary morning run down Beacon Street**, I was greeted by a heavy police force and military vehicles that looked out of place. I couldn’t help but wonder about the day: Which history will repeat itself? Will today be like 117 of the last 118 Marathon Mondays? Will it be a triumphant day full of sweat, tears of joy, and accomplishment? Or a darker day with the world’s attention focused on Boston for all the wrong reasons?

Nevertheless, I headed back to Beacon Street a few hours later, umbrella in hand, just in time to see the wheelchair race and the women’s leaders. Standing there with chills running through my body from both the intermittent rain and inspiration I felt from watching the runners, I was struck with the realization that the enthusiasm for this race can never be deafened – that, despite the memories of watching everything unfold in 2013, despite so much unnecessary tragedy being brought to the lives of so many innocent people, and despite this winter’s less-than-perfect weather, the Boston Marathon stands for something great and that Boston really is very strong.

For hours, I was glued to the marathon, watching thousands of runners go by. Runners of all ages, races, occupations, physical abilities, cities, states, and countries were crossing in front of me, running for themselves or to honor people they do and do not know, running in defense of or to capture titles and personal records, and of course, running for the city and spirit of Boston.

119th Boston MarathonTake for instance the service men running in uniform, clapping for the wheelchair participant right next to them. Or take the 2014 champion Meb, who grabbed a woman’s hand and crossed the finish line with her, the man with one leg and a crutch, who battled through every mile at a swift pace, Marathon Bombing survivor Rebekah Gregory, who after having her leg amputated only 6 months ago ran the final 3.2 miles, or the countless blind runners buddied with a running guide. Perhaps one of the most impressive finishes is that of Maickel Melamed, a Venezuelan with Muscular Dystrophy, who despite his disease, finished the marathon, his fifth, in just under 20 hours.

Every year, rain or shine, such victories are witnessed by thousands of spectators, who, squished like sardines next to the road barricades, cheer for thousands of people they have likely never met. And if you’ve ever run a race, you know how helpful cheers from the sidelines can be.

What runners may not realize, however, is that this is as cathartic for the spectators as it is for them. Because of stories like Meb’s, Rebekah’s, and Maickel’s, along with all of the others that are seemingly more “ordinary,” those watching and cheering immediately feel closer to greatness.

Even towards the end of the marathon, when the finish line seems further away than ever, runners smile despite obvious pain and shortened strides, finding the energy to say thank you to complete strangers, doling out high fives to get the crowd cheering even louder, and most impressively, cheering on their fellow marathoners. Their mental toughness radiates through every town and through every step, and each moment brings another ounce of inspiration to anyone watching.

There are countless stories like those above of runners reaching greatness on Patriots’ Day in Boston, and a quick scan of images tagged with the “#BostonMarathon” show the impact the race has on this city: one of beauty and pride, courage and triumph, respect and support, resilience and compassion.

It is these stories that remind me why I choose to start each day with a run along part of the marathon route – and why, whenever I need some motivation on those extra cold, wet days, or on days when I’d rather stay in bed, I will think of the strength, determination and will of the Boston Marathon runners I excitedly cheer on each year.

And so, although Beacon Street appears back to “normal” now – void of the medical tents, water stations, and marathon banners – it is surely anything but. The memories and impact of the 2015 Boston Marathon, like all of those before it, are a constant reminder that even amidst roadblocks and hurdles and even if it takes longer than we had hoped, we can all achieve greatness.

Boston Strong 119th Boston Marathon*The Boston Athletic Association’s Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon. It was inspired by the Olympic Marathon and was first run, only by men, in 1897. Women began running unofficially in 1966 and officially in 1972, and in 1975, a wheelchair division was added. The race, with a field of 30,000 runners in 2015, has become so popular that it is as great a challenge to secure a bib as it is to train for, run, and finish it.

**For those unfamiliar with the course, Beacon Street comprises miles 23 and 24 and take the runners via into Brookline, the last of seven towns before the Boston finish. It’s a beautiful straightaway with an ever-so-slight set of rolling hills. After passing brownstones, shops, and restaurants, the hills peak with a view of the famous Citgo sign. It is an indication that the finish line is near and is followed by a rewarding decline that precedes the final 2.2 mile battle.

This post is dedicated to all runners of the Boston Marathon. The strength you bring to this city and its people is immeasurable.


Laura O’Neil is currently the senior accountant at Acceleron Pharma in Cambridge, Massachusetts and previously worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers after graduating from the College of the Holy Cross. She is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant, an avid distance runner, and a lover of baking and algebra. Her true passions include laughing, reflection, understanding human behavior, and making others smile. In a perfect world, she would spend every sunny summer day on the coast of southern Maine with a lobster roll in hand. She previously wrote a piece for ATG on the Luck of the Irish.

The Simple, Soothing Sounds of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s Hawaiian Music

We’re leaving the Aloha State behind and continuing our journey along “Rose’s Ridge” into other “realms”, serving up some fresh, new perspectives at the “table”! Stay tuned for new posts this week, such as this inspiring piece on the 119th Boston Marathon, a reflection on Full House and some delicious recipes for a family meal. More to come!


We’re wrapping up “All Things Hawaiian”! Check out our reflection on our travels in O’ahu, some interesting facts about Hawai’i, what “The Aloha Spirit” really means, why Kona coffee is so popular, what makes the Plumeria flower so special and a glimpse into Mark Twain’s “Letters From Hawaii.”

Israel Kamakawiwo’ole Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful WorldThey say that keeping things simple is sometimes best. That simplicity not only yields greater productivity, but can elicit a greater, more powerful impact.

Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, the legendary Hawaiian singer whose last name (which contains 8 of the 12 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet) translates to “the fearless eye, the bold face”, is a perfect example.

Known early on in his career as “the kid with the ukulele”, described in his later life as the “embodiment of the Aloha Spirit”, and named the “Voice of Hawaii” by NPR in 2010, his rendition of Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow” (1955) and Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” (1967) – accompanied solely by a ukulele – is, arguably, one of the most recognizable songs in the world– and the most requested version of the song to this day.

Israel Kamakawiwo’ole biographyBorn in Honolulu on May 20, 1959, just months before the Hawaiian Island would become America’s 50th state, “Iz” began playing the ukulele as early as 10 years old at a bar in Waikiki on O’ahu where his parents worked. Years later, in 1993, after walking into a studio and asking to “try out” an idea, Iz recorded his melodic rendition of “Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” in one single take. The song became an instant billboard hit when it was released on his solo album, Facing Future, which has remained the bestselling Hawaiian album of all time.*

In an NPR feature, Del Beazley, who grew up with Israel and wrote two of his songs, says:

“In Hawaii, we talk about this thing we call mana…[which] is like an energy that you get. We believe we get ours from the elements first, the Earth, your sky, your ocean, your God, and all that is inside of us. And Israel Kamakawiwo’ole Hawaiian singer biographywhen we open our mouth to speak, to sing or to play, that’s what we let out. But it’s that that makes him [Israel] special, because his mana always came out.”

One voice and a ukulele. That’s all it took to create a bestselling song** – a song which truly epitomizes the soothing, gentle, spiritual, peaceful and poetic nature of Hawaiian music that we so enjoyed each day and night during our visit.

Listen for yourself here.


*For interesting information and background on Iz and Hawaiian music, we highly recommend reading:

**Iz’s song has been featured in commercials, TV shows and movies including: Finding Forrester, Meet Joe Black, 50 First Dates, Fred Claus, Hubble 3D, Son of the Mask, etc.

A Dispatch from ATG: Discovering Mark Twain’s Hawaii

We’re leaving the Aloha State behind and continuing our journey along “Rose’s Ridge” into other “realms”, serving up some fresh, new perspectives at the “table”! Stay tuned for new posts this week, such as this inspiring reflection on the 119th Boston Marathon.


We’re wrapping up “All Things Hawaiian”! Check out our reflection on our travels in O’ahu, some interesting facts about Hawai’i, what “The Aloha Spirit” really means, why Kona coffee is so popular, what makes the Plumeria flower so special and the history behind legendary Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – St. Augustine (354-430)

St. Augustine might have reconsidered these words if he could have read some of the world’s most beautiful, informative and humorous travel writings that exist today, by authors ranging from Patrick Leigh Fermor, Bruce Chatwin, Alain De Botton, Bill Bryson and Bruce Feiler to M.F.K. Fisher, Peter Mayle, Frances Mayes, Elizabeth Gilbert and many others.

While nothing can quite replace the sensory experience of travel, “good”, substantive travel writing can easily transport one into another realm, allowing one to experience and become familiar with another land – as was the case for many Americans who read Mark Twain’s “Letters from Hawaii”, written during his travels for the Sacramento Union newspaper in 1866.

Mark Twain's Letters From HawaiiDescribed by New York Times journalist and Hawaiian native Lawrence Downes as “keen-eyed and shrewd”, “fresh and rudely funny” and “the best travel writing about Hawaii I have ever read”, Twain’s letters from Hawaii offer a perceptive and humorous look into the island’s “complicated soul” and “loveliness” that would come to serve as America’s first informational source on this foreign land.

Arriving in Honolulu in 1866 aboard the steamer “Ajax”, with his friend named Brown (who we only later realized was an imaginary friend Twain had invented), 31-year-old Twain referred to Hawaii as “the loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean.”

Over the course of the next four months, his 25 letters from the Sandwich Islands* depicts a Hawaii teeming with “ship captains, whalers, missionaries…[and] fragrant thickets of flowers.”

So devoted was he to “ransack[ing] the islands” that he rented a horse and rode by moonlight through the remains of an ancient battlefield, “scaled the summit of Kilauea during an eruption,” “hiked through misty valleys” and even went surfing naked on a wooden surfboard.

Revealing the humor and wit that he would become so famous for, Twain writes in one entry:

“…at noon I observed a bevy of nude young native women bathing in the sea, and I went and sat down on their clothes to keep them from being stolen.”

Twain’s humor also comes through in his reporting and commenting on the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom, which he didn’t seem particularly “keen” on:

“The Legislature is like all other legislatures…a wooden-head gets up and proposes an utterly absurd something or other, and he and half a dozen other woodenheads discuss it with windy vehemence for an hour…”

“The mental caliber of the Legislative Assembly is up to the average of such bodies the world over – and I wish it were a compliment to say it, but it is hardly so. I have seen a number of legislatures, and there was a comfortable majority in each of them that knew just about enough to come in when it rained, and that was all.” 

And finally, capturing the island’s magnificence, Twain writes on a more serious note:

“No alien land in all the world has any deep strong claim for me but that one, no other land could so longingly and beseechingly haunt me…through half a lifetime, as that one has done. Other things leave me, but it abides, other things change, but it remains the same. For me the balmy airs are always blowing, its summer seas flashing in the sun; the pulsing of its surfbeat is pulsing in my ear; I can see its garlanded crags, its leaping cascades, its plumy palms drowsing by the shore, its remote summits floating like islands above the cloud wrack…”

Best Travel Guide HawaiiAside from his colorful, entertaining prose, what makes Twain’s letters from Hawaii particularly astonishing is that the observations and descriptions he recorded nearly a century and a half ago remain relevant and accurate today.

As A. Grove Day writes in the introduction to the book Mark Twain’s Letters From Hawaii, “Many of the scenes he described are little changed. His accounts of the Kona Coast and Kilauea Volcano region are still reliable guides.”

And so, if you are interested in learning a bit more about Hawaii and its history, or are planning a trip to Hawaii, let the pages of Mark Twain’s Letters from Hawaii guide, inform and entertain you along the way. Aloha!

*On January 18, 1778, English Captain James Cook became the first European to discover the Hawaiian Islands as he sailed past O’ahu. He named Hawaii the “Sandwich Islands” in honor of his patron John Montague, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. A statue of Captain Cook stands in Waimea on Kauai, where he first landed after sighting O’ahu.  

Please note that the above information came from the book Mark Twain’s Letters From Hawaii and the New York Times article: “Mark Twain’s Hawaii” by Lawrence Downes (2006).

See also some of our favorite photos from our adventures in Hawaii, below (more here)!

Hawaiian landscape photo

Waikiki Beach Diamond Head

Hawaiian Banyan Tree Pictures

Duke Kahanamoku Statue Waikiki Beach

Oahu moutons along coast

Hawaiian outrigger canoe malia

Royal Hawaiian Hotel Waikiki Hawaii

Sunset in Waikiki Beach Oahu Hawaii

Surfing in Oahu Waikiki

Paddle boarding in Oahu Waikiki

Top of Diamond Head Hawaii

Diamond Head Lighthouse Hawaii

Hiking Diamond Head Hawaii

Honolulu Hawaii Pictures

Sunrise on top of Diamond Head

Sunset on Waikiki Beach Hawaii

Sweet Smells of Plumeria Paradise

We’re featuring “All Things Hawaiian”! Also check out our reflection on our travels in O’ahu, some interesting facts about Hawai’i, what “The Aloha Spirit” really means, why Kona coffee is so popular, a glimpse into Mark Twain’s “Letters From Hawaii” and the history behind legendary Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

There’s a reason they say that smell is one of the strongest senses, evoking memories and emotions from a past time or experience.

Having been surrounded by tropical blue waters, beautiful handmade leis and the gentle, soothing sounds of Hawaiian music during a visit to O’ahu, we longed to take a little bit of the island home with us to remind us of our adventures in the land of “The Aloha Spirit.” After all, it is often the trinkets and treasures we find during our travels that serve as the most powerful reminder of the beauty, sights, smells and flavors of a foreign land.

Hawaiian Plumeria SoapBut, it was only after returning home that we would come to realize what our most valued keepsake would be: Hawaiian soap.

Catching a “whiff” of the sweet, distinct scent of the Plumeria soap we now have on display immediately transports us back to the island, evoking the beauty and spirit of the Hawaiian Islands that we so longed to bring home.

Given that Plumeria is one of the most popular flowers in Hawaii, grown commercially for the lei industry (their blossoms can easily be put on a string – see below), this isn’t altogether surprising.

Otherwise known as “frangipanis” (the tree), Plumeria is native to tropical and subtropical America due to their ability to survive neglect, heat and drought. Considered native to South and Central America, they are most recognizable in their white and yellow form (white flower with a yellow center), but grow in a variety of colors that become more vibrant the closer to the equator they grow.

Interestingly, they are also common in the Philippines and Thailand, explained by a little known legend that Catholic missionary priests used to spread Plumerias around the world as they traveled (while the Philippines welcomed Catholic priests, China and Vietnam opposed them).

Aside from its sweet scent, Plumeria makes a particularly lovely soap due to its healing qualities: the bark of frangipanis, together with alcohol, prevents skin inflammation and is used to treat indigestion and high blood pressure. Similarly, the milk-like sap from its roots serves as a balm for skin diseases. (For other interesting facts and information on Plumeria, we highly recommend visiting All Things Frangipani).

While Plumeria has become our particular favorite because of its evocative power, it is just one of the many hand cut, handmade soaps produced on Hawaii using the island’s natural ingredients, resources and scents. Other well-known Hawaiian flowers used for perfumes and soaps include:

Beautiful Hawaiian leiThe Hibiscus:

  • Native to southern China, hibiscus became recognized as the official state flower of Hawaii in 1923
  • If a woman wears a hibiscus on the left ear, it signals she is in a relationship or married; if on the right ear, she is “available”

Pikake:

  • Translated as “peacock”, Pikake was named by Princess Ka’iulani for the birds that roamed her gardens in Waikiki
  • Pikake, like Plumeria, is one of Hawaii’s most popular flowers used for making leis
  • It is known outside of Hawaii as Arabian or Indian Jasmine, and is the state flower of the Philippines known as “Sampaguita”
  • Pikakes is processed as the primary component for Jasmine tea in China

So, if you are dreaming of someplace tropical, are in need of a “spa day” or are looking for a gift, Hawaiian soap surely won’t disappoint (we’re already ordering more online!).

Be sure to check out the Maui Soap Company, which offers “products that embody the land, the ocean, and the Aloha spirit of the Hawaiian Islands.” See also Island Soap, producers of handmade soaps on the island of Kauai (the Surfer’s Salve and coconut lotion caught our attention!)

And don’t forget: always take time to smell the Roses…or, in this case, the Plumeria!

Wake Up and Smell the Kona

When you think of Hawai’i, what do you think of? Surfing? Pineapples? Coconuts? Luaus and leis? Us, too. Except, having recently visited O’ahu, we’d add just one more thing to our list: coffee. Specifically, Kona coffee.

Described as a “deliciously rich, medium-bodied and slightly acidic coffee with a heady aroma and complex, winey, spicy taste”, it turns out that Kona coffee is extremely popular among coffee aficionados worldwide and is considered one of the most valued and premium coffees in the world.

With a history that is just as rich and plentiful as its taste, it’s not difficult to understand why.

Kona Coffee HistoryThe first appearance of coffee on Hawai’i dates back to 1825 when an English agriculturalist brought coffee trees from Brazil on a British warship and planted its seeds in the Manoa Valley of O’ahu.

It wasn’t until a few years later (1828) that missionary Samuel Ruggles brought the cuttings planted on O’ahu to Kona, a region located on the west coast of The Big Island that proved to be an ideal location for growing coffee – which needs a very specific combination of sun, soil and water to flourish.

The volcanic slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa in Kona, coupled with both a “diurnal cycle” of bright sunny mornings, humid rainy afternoons and mild nights, set Kona on the path to becoming world-renowned for its coffee production. Indeed, at the 1873 World’s Fair in Vienna, an award for excellence was bestowed upon a Kona trader named Henry Nicholas Greenwell who was a pioneering Hawaii coffee merchant.

Having survived a series of setbacks and milestones throughout the 20th century, today the Kona Coffee industry continues to thrive, with an estimated 690 independent coffee farms in North and South Kona, most just three to seven acres in size – and all located within what is now known as the “Kona Coffee Belt.”

It’s also worth noting that hard-working families in the region have played a significant role in Kona’s success over the years, as everything – from planting to picking – is done meticulously by hand, giving it that extra “special” quality.

Perhaps this explains why my roommate put in a request for Kona Coffee when he heard of my travels to Hawai’i.

History of Kona CoffeeInterested in trying some? We recommend checking out Koa Coffee Company, recognized by Forbes magazine as the “Best Coffee in America.” And if you’re ever in Honolulu, be sure to visit the Honolulu Coffee Cafe, located right outside Waikiki Beach’s oldest hotel, the Moana Surfrider.

If you’re anything like us, you probably like to have a little “treat” to dunk in your coffee. The Honolulu Cookie Company offers a variety of delicious homemade shortbread cookies, hand-dipped in different chocolates (pictured above). We took a whole box home and plan on ordering more online! (Our favorite flavors are the white chocolate coconut, chocolate-dipped macadamia and white chocolate Kona coffee).

Please note that the above information was gathered from our travels and here.

Check out our other posts on “All Things Hawaiian”, including:

A Glimpse Into The 50th State In The Nation

We’re featuring “All Things Hawaiian”! Also check out our post on what “The Aloha Spirit” really means, a reflection on our travels in O’ahu, why Kona coffee is the most valued coffee in the world, what makes the Plumeria flower so special, a glimpse into Mark Twain’s “Letters From Hawaii” and the history behind legendary Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

Our travels in Hawai’i brought us to…

  • the popular destination of Waikiki Beach (picture 1 below)
  • the volcanic crater of Diamond Head (2)
  • the historic landmark of Pearl Harbor (3)
  • the Polynesian Cultural Center (4); and
  • the beautiful waters of Kaaawa (5)

We witnessed at least 20 Japanese weddings, experienced an Easter church service with beautiful Hawaiian music (6), dined at the two oldest hotels in Waikiki (the Royal Hawaiian and Moana Surfrider) (7), ate Malasadas (Portugese doughnuts) at Hawai’i’s original malasada bakery (8), sailed on a catamaran with Captain Riki and his son Kapono (which means “the righteous way”) (9) and saw some of the funniest, yet deeply powerful t-shirt sayings throughout our stay (10).

Below is a glimpse into the things we learned about Hawai’i, accompanied by some of our favorite pictures. Stay tuned for further details and more pictures in upcoming posts!

Fun facts about Hawai’i:

  • The state of Hawai’i consists of eight main islands: The Big Island, Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Niihau, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe
  • Hawai’i is the only state in the U.S. that grows coffee, cacao and vanilla beans, and is the only state with tropical rain forests
  • More than one-third of the world’s commercial supply of pineapples comes from Hawai’i
  • The Hawaiian alphabet contains only 12 letters (A, E, I, O, U, H, K, L, M, P, W) (and nearly every street begins with K!)
    Kalakaua Avenue Waikiki Beach Hawaii
  • Hawai’i is the widest state in the U.S. (from east to west), measuring 1,500 miles from the island of Ni’iheau to the Big Island; yet, it would take approximately 40 Hawai’i’s to match the total size of Texas
  • Hawai’i has its own time zone and does not observe Daylight Savings Time
  • The State of Hawai’i is the most isolated population center on the face of the earth
  • 1.5 million populate the state of Hawai’i; 100,000 live in Oahu; Honolulu is the nation’s 11th largest metropolitan area
  • The Hawaiian Islands are the projecting tops of the biggest mountain ranges in the world
  • Hawai’i has the highest life expectancy in the U.S. (81.3 years old)
  • Hawai’i is one of the four U.S. states that has outlawed billboards (the others are Alaska, Maine and Vermont)

Photos of the above mentioned places:

Waikiki Beach Oahu Hawaii
1. Waikiki Beach; O’ahu, Hawai’i
Diamond Head Waikiki Beach Hawaii
2. Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach; O’ahu, Hawai’i
USS Arizona Pearl Harbor Hawaii
3. View looking out from USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor Museum
3. Quote on display in Pearl Harbor Museum
Pearl Harbor Museum Hawaii
3. Quote on display in Pearl Harbor Museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Hawaiian lei
4. Handmade lei from the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie; O’ahu, Hawai’i
Oahu Hawaii
5. Waters of Kaaawa on East Coast of O’ahu, Hawai’i
Catholic Church Waikiki Beach Hawaii
6. St. Augustine By-The-Sea (1854); Waikiki Beach, O’ahu, Hawai’i
Catholic Church Waikiki Beach Hawaii
6. St. Augustine By-The-Sea (1854); Waikiki Beach, O’ahu, Hawai’i

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Royal Hawaiian Hotel Dinner
7. View from dinner at Azure; Royal Hawaiian Hotel, second oldest in Waikiki (1929); O’ahu, Hawaii
Royal Hawaiian Hotel Waikiki Beach Hawaii
7. Royal Hawaiian Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leonard's Malasadas Hawaii
8. Coconut-filled malasada from Leonard’s, Hawai’i’s original malasada bakery (1952)
Catamaran Rides in Waikiki Beach Hawaii
9. Catamaran ride with Captain Riki and his son Kapono (“the righteous way”); Waikiki Beach
Funny t-shirt saying
10. One of the many noticeable interesting t-shirts we saw during our visit

Exploring, Dreaming & Discovering in O’ahu, Hawai’i

We’re leaving the Aloha State behind and continuing our journey along “Rose’s Ridge” into other “realms”, serving up some fresh, new perspectives at the “table”! Stay tuned for new posts this week, such as this inspiring reflection on the 119th Boston Marathon.


We’re featuring “All Things Hawaiian”! Also check out our post on what “The Aloha Spirit” really means, some interesting facts about Hawai’i, why Kona coffee is the most valued coffee in the world, what makes the Plumeria flower so special, a glimpse into Mark Twain’s “Letters From Hawaii” and the history behind legendary Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

Waikiki Beach, Hawaii“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

It’s an age-old adage: traveling broadens our perspective, transforming our sense of self in relation to the world at large, challenging us to see with new eyes and deepening our sense of gratitude and appreciation as we gain insight into the culture, customs and traditions of an unfamiliar place.

I was recently reminded of this after a visit to O’ahu, Hawai’i where I was bewildered each time I remembered that I wasn’t in a foreign land, but was, instead, still in the United States – albeit in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, nearly 2,500 miles away from the mainland.

Surrounded by a kaleidoscope of blue and turquoise waters, swaying palm trees, volcanic craters, green mountainous terrain and tourists from all over the world, it was hard to grasp that Hawai’i isn’t a nation of its own. Indeed, never before have I visited another U.S. state feeling utterly transported into a different “realm”, as if I was a foreigner navigating an unknown territory.

But, in many ways, I was just as much a “foreigner” in Hawai’i as I’ve previously been in other countries outside the United States.

Much of Hawai’i, including its culture, history and landscape, was unknown to me. I had not anticipated, for instance, the steep, rugged and lush green terrain lining the highways as you drive north of Honolulu (or the strange, Christmas-like trees poking out of them).

Oahu Hawaii Mountains

I had not known that its traffic rivals some of the worst traffic days in New York City. Or that the temperature and weather remain fairly consistent year-round (sunny, in the 70s and 80s).

I didn’t know that the Hawaiian alphabet consists of only 12 letters (which explains the confusing, yet comical amount of street names beginning with “k”). And I hadn’t realized that the reason Hawai’i is considered the “Aloha State” is much more elaborate than the word “Aloha” being used as a form of “hello” and “goodbye.”

It was precisely these things, though – being exposed to a new place, seeing and learning new things, talking to new people – that heightened my sense of self, broadening my perspective not only of my own world, but of the world at large.

There I was, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, sitting on a beach once frequented by members of the U.S. Navy, on an island formed by volcanoes that erupted millions of years ago, watching the shadows of surfers and paddle borders against the setting sun and, suddenly, any worry, fear and uncertainty I had faded into oblivion.

What mattered then was the sole acknowledgment that I – that we – are a part of something much larger than ourselves. That the daily pains, struggles or doubts we so routinely and easily get caught up in can, at times, distract us from the beauty and richness – or “all things good” – in life. That we are but small creatures occupying a small place in the world, and universe, for a small amount of time.

Waikiki Beach Sunset

“Travel makes you modest,” Gustave Flaubert, a French novelist in the 19th century, once wrote. “You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”

Such a perspective is exceedingly important to have in order to maintain a healthy sense of self and add meaning to our lives, yet a very difficult one to maintain with the various obligations and responsibilities that daily life requires.

But while I’ve often thought of travel as a method of escape – a way to escape work, technology, reality and stress – I think travel is what ensures that life – in all its beauty, richness and magnificence – does not escape us.

Catamaran Waikiki Beach

 

“So…

…throw off the bowlines…

…sail away from the safe harbor…

…catch the [Hawaiian] trade winds in your sails…

Explore.

                 Dream.

                                    Discover.”

– H. Jackson Brown Jr.

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