As we advance in years, particularly in the age of the Internet, it becomes less and less likely to see things that truly surprise or amaze us.

When the 'Net makes it possible to see people doing things with horses that never ever crossed your mind previously, and to turn tools like Perez Hilton into millionaires, there's a good chance that little surprises you anymore. We need to find new and creative ways to tap into that explorer's mindset.

Having seen a lot of new things these past six months, I began to think about how often I still get surprised or amazed. And I invite you to look around more in your own town or on your travels, to try to see things that genuinely still surprise you. Feel free to add them in the comments section below.

Here are a few items that have provided me a genuine sense of "wow" recently:

  • Adults who still get sunburned. And are then surprised by it. "Yeah dude, it was the strangest thing...I was sitting outside for a couple of hours on the patio/beach/ski hill/golf course without sunscreen and I totally got burned." Huh, imagine that.
  • People who send a text message saying "Call me".
  • This army platoon in Malaga. The entire morning's build-up was quite something - veterans arriving via warship, a huge crowd lining a parade route which featured past and current members of the Spanish Legion, an elite unit of the Spanish Army. No disrespect intended, but when they finally passed by, I was, well, surprised.
The world's most fabulous army. Featuring their "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, But You Can Kinda Guess" policy

  • The guy in Amsterdam's Vondelpark last week wearing baggy diapers and neon green hightops. And the only people who really looked twice were like "Hey man, nice shoes". (Sorry, my camera was at home).
  • Volcanoes in remote countries that erupt and then impact the lives of millions. And the people among those millions who still manage to feel victimized and say "why me?"
Eyjafjallajokull. Or Eyjafjallajo for short.

  • Spanish kids on the beach who made a game of hurling themselves into this sand pit, doing twists and flips on the way down. And not a neck brace nor a body cast in sight.

I'll continue to seek out things - people, sights, food, experiences, places - that still manage to provide the element of surprise and newness for as long as I live. I figure this approach will mostly serve me well, although being able to erase "adults in diapers" from my brain would be nice.



Ok, here goes. I think one of the most difficult things to do in terms of communication with others is to be able to completely describe moments where we feel either fantastic or at our most miserable. To fully be able to express a moment or a feeling at either end of the emotional spectrum, to really capture something so personal and make it relatable to others is tough if not impossible.

This is why writers often use metaphors to bridge this gap, to create a relationship with the reader where words themselves can't do the job. So this entry ends with the best metaphor I could come up with, but even that is ultimately personal and likely not fully understandable. Although it may be funny at least.

I would like to share the euphoria I felt a few Saturdays ago in Malaga, on Malagueta Beach. Knowing full well this will scarcely do it justice, here it goes anyway...

The time was about 8:45am.

The air was so much more than just the temperature, it was the perfect confluence of humidity, fresh air and warmth.

The light was such that you could see everything in more than 3-D (maybe 4-D)? But enough mist was being carried off the top of the waves that it gave objects in the distance a mystical haze.

The waves were rolling in and made that steady hum and hiss that we know so well but don't hear nearly often enough.

The breakfast of choice was yogurt, peanut butter on rye crackers, an apple and a fruit juice.

The smell was salty, but that's about the lamest description there is. It was the smell of vacation, the anti-smell of the city... but how else do you describe salty?

There were maybe four other people scattered along the entire two-kilometer piece of coastline - a fisherman, a brave swimmer, and a couple of dog-walkers, along with the odd jogger on the boardwalk. Each of us, I think, were in our own world.

In front of me, the sand was freshly groomed and barely dry - to me a sight just as exciting as fresh powder or groomed tracks are to a skier.

Behind me, the towering cranes of the Port of Malaga stood idle, their red and blue colours lit up by the sun rising down the coastline.

And the feeling... this is where it becomes near impossible to write. It was a perfect, perfect, perfect morning. One that you want to take a bite out of or put in your pocket and take home with you.

The whole thing was very Christy Turlington to me. My mild obsession since the late 80's, who seems to fit here somehow, is the best metaphor I can come up with to describe that morning. Perfect (to me), timeless, beautiful, unattainable. (And I'm ok with that. Although if Ed Burns mysteriously disappears someday, I know nothing).

Some things aren't meant to be attained or consumed - just admired and appreciated.