La Segunda Vez


The first time, it can be a little awkward. Even though you've done it before, well, this particular one is brand new. You don't know your way around too well, although there are very likely some great moments, magical even.

But you don't know the terrain. There may even be some unexpected and unwelcome hairy situations, particularly if you're outside of North America. You're also likely to find a few hot spots, although a happy ending is not entirely assured. You could fake it, but for some this is easier than others.

The SECOND time, however, ahhh. This is where you hit your groove. You know the right places, the hidden gems - shortcuts even, if you're pressed for time.

You feel more confident in communicating your needs and preferences. Emboldened, you might even explore a little further, assured that you can always quickly go back to the more familiar locations if needed.

I'm speaking, of course, of visiting the same place more than once.

I'm back in Malaga, this time for potential business as well as pleasure, and can barely describe how nice it is be here once again. Sitting at one of a dozen impossibly quaint or cool cafes lining the beach in the suburb of Pedregalego, a small 'burb about 10 minutes jog from the city center of Malaga.

Turning my head to the right, the Mediterranean is about twenty steps away, the sun is beaming, the sea is emerald green and then turning to deep blue about 300m away and the air smells like the stuff they add to laundry detergent. Except it's much less detergent-y. Competing for my eardrums' affections are the waves crashing on one side and Bob Marley on the other.

More on the latest trip here soon, including more photos.

La bicicleta de la semana

An Ode to Travel


If departure screens like the one above always provide you a rush of excitement and possibility... if the rumbling clackety-clack of suitcase wheels over cobblestones is music to your ears... if the accent of a foreign flight attendant somehow makes the safety instructions sound riveting... if a particular smell, from a bar of hotel soap, that post-rain smell, or a pungent dish instantly transports you to that restaurant in Barcelona, that beach in the Bay of Islands, or that park in Paris...

Then you too might have an addiction to travel. You're not alone.

As Amsterdam continues to unravel its many layers, I am continually amazed at the happiness that traveling brings. There's so much to see, so much knowledge to be gained, so many personal connections to be made. Even the down times (long line-ups, flight cancellations, getting lost, getting ripped off) are perfect for self-reflection. Yes, those times that suck inevitably make us think - Why did I ever leave the couch?

More often that not, the answer comes unexpectedly and very simply - on a train ride to Berlin... an early hour on a beach in Malaga... a roast beef sandwich in Amsterdam's Cafe Festina Lente... a quiet moment in the shade at the Marie de Medici fountain at the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris... a Sam Roberts concert at NYC's Gramercy Theater that was better than U2 the night before... a conversation with an 87-year old woman who was a war survivor and whose family hid a Jewish family in south Holland ... and a hundred more moments that I could (and some I couldn't) print here. Each one reminding me how fortunate I am.

Alain de Botton's awesome book "The Art of Travel" sums up the the joy (and occasional misery) of travel far more eloquently than I ever could, and reading it even gives you a sense that there's some joy within that misery. It is full of philosophical, historical and social perspectives as to why we travel.

Ultimately, I think traveling provides us the opportunity to create way more spots of time than we can if we decide to just stay home. A quote from The Art of Travel:

There are in our existence spots of time,
That with distinct pre-eminence retain
A renovating virtue...
That penetrates, enables us to mount,
When high, more high, and lifts us up when fallen.