While I was studying at Grove City College, there was an admittedly strange tradition during the week of final exams. One night during that week, at around 10pm, a group of students would gather at a predetermined location on campus for what was called ‘Primal Scream’. Those who participated would gather and simply shout for a minute or so before returning to the books or going to bed. It was a means to get out the frustration and angst of hours spent studying for exams and writing papers. Leave it up to Grove City College students to organize something called ‘Primal Scream’. When I think about it now, I see it as akin to an anarchist group hiring a board of directors. Regardless of its muddled form, I participated a few times. It was a good release of the frustrations that built up around finals time. Plus, it was fun to gather with a group and yell for no reason for a few minutes.
The last post I published was easily the most ‘Christian’ one I’ve written up to this point. It wasn’t necessarily a departure from the norm, but I certainly discussed my faith more overtly than in past writings. This was, of course, on purpose. I wanted to be sure that anyone reading this blog would know exactly where I’m coming from in regard to my Christian faith because, as I stated in the post, that faith genuinely informs not only what I say here, but also my thinking in most aspects of my life.
Yet there is a part of me that feels like that last post failed in what I set out to do. Maybe ‘failed’ is too strong of a word, but I can’t quite say that I succeeded, either.
Life doesn’t always go the way we may expect. Sometimes, neither does the direction of a blog.
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” – Aristotle
I was talking with a friend some time ago about photography and the process of finding meaning in and through this medium. She asked which comes first in the process for me: do I take the photo first and find meaning after looking at it? Or do I search for meaning and then try to find a photo opportunity that fits that meaning?
This is the second installment of ‘Camino Vignettes’, stories about my time walking the Camino de Santiago. You can find the first installment here. You can also read about my general overview of the Camino here.
There were several times on the Camino de Santiago that I found myself in what I’ll refer to as ‘special cultural situations’.
I genuinely appreciate every comment I receive here. Each time someone comments on a post, I am encouraged to continue writing. Occasionally, a comment really gives me pause and causes me to think. I recently received such a comment. It was so insightful that I felt compelled to write a post answering it. This is part two of my response. Again, thank you to the commenter.
At this point in my life, I’ve been working as a restaurant server for about six years. Sometimes I genuinely enjoy it; sometimes I think I never want to step foot in another restaurant for the rest of my life. Anyone who’s worked as a server knows that it’s not always the easiest job, nor is it the most glamorous. All things considered, though, it’s really not a bad way to make a living.
I’ve gained several skills from serving. Multitasking. Time management. Making small talk. Problem solving. Balance, both physical and mental. Plate stacking (seriously, it comes in handy all the time). However, I think the most beneficial skill I’ve learned is that of having thick skin.
I received a comment on a recent post that I want to spend some time discussing here. The comment reads:
I have always loved the idea of being a mastered traveler. I have several friends, including you, who are modern hobos, seekers, and/or travelers. Part of me loves watching their adventures and growth, but the other part of me knows how lonely it can be to be a traveler. Can you be a master traveler and still have a community/home that is fulfilling, or will you always be wandering?
As of a few days ago, I can return to Europe. A non-EU citizen such as myself can only be in the European Union’s Schengen Zone for 90 out of 180 days. I was there for three months, meaning I must leave for at least three months. Well, that three-month period has now passed. At this moment, I’m in Ohio and have no immediate plans to go back to Europe. I can say, though, that the passing of this date certainly did not go unnoticed. It also brought some fresh observations and questions to mind.
The other day I was talking with a few people at my current job about coffee. While talking about different flavor profiles of coffee, we started talking about New Orleans. I mentioned that coffee from New Orleans has a unique taste because it contains chicory.