Photo by Micaela Malmi Photography
Seeing a new place with fresh eyes has a certain charm to it. It is easy to become desensitized from the beauty around you if you are in the same place for too long. A new city, no matter how boring or interesting it may be, allows my mind to focus on the unfamiliar environment around me, offering a relieving break from the typical daily thoughts that I can be consumed by.
Whenever I go somewhere new, I find myself noticing so much that I don’t necessarily acknowledge on a daily basis. The simple or extravagant architecture of homes, the street lamps, the trees that bombard the sidewalks or the ones that are barely making a statement in between large buildings. I notice the energy of busy pedestrians being upheld by sidewalks or the waves of serenity in places that are less walked upon. Instead of having a set itinerary, I keep only a general outline of things I want to see in order to leave room for spontaneous adventure.
I love crossing paths with people I would have otherwise never met and perhaps, may never again see. I love having conversations with intellectuals, drunks, anti-socials, teenagers, elderly, and everyone else in between. Sometimes conversations take me by surprise and I end up saying things out loud that I didn’t know I had the knowledge to talk about in the first place. Other times, I realize how much more I have to learn. I enjoy letting the spontaneity of the moment whisk me through my journey. I can never be sure where I’m going to end up, but I always come out with a story to tell.
The Summer of 2013, during a cross country road trip from New York to California, I spent one night in Chicago. Towards the end of the evening, I walked around with the intention of venturing into a random bar, though it wasn’t exactly a “happening” night. A group walking by invited me to join them at the bar they were going to. I was being cautious, but the one girl in the group made me feel comfortable enough to join them. As it turned out, every person in this group was awesome. After getting to the bar, one guy came over calling out, “You have to see this” to the rest of the group.
We got led to a different room in the bar where about six guys, or so, were having a guitar jam session. Maybe it was the shot of whiskey that warmed my soul or perhaps it was the overwhelming feeling of how awesome this group was that I stumbled upon, but walking into that jam session was transcendent. The vibration of every string being strung entwined throughout my body, massaging its way through the tension it came across, until it made its way to the deepest part of my lungs where it found my breath and manipulated it to its calmest, deepest state. I was happily left in a feeling of awe for the beautiful music that I was being composed in front of me and the series of events that led me to it. My grateful heart was filled with a warm sensation. I realized I really needed to do this kind of thing more often.
If you are one to live on the edge or instead take a more timid approach to life, I nevertheless encourage going on adventures that are suited to your own degree and finding your own liberation in being spontaneous. Step outside your comfort zone, even if it is only for a moment. Become a stranger to insecurity and neglect the idea of expectation. The consequence is it just might take you somewhere you’ve never been, to meet people you will never see again, and have an unforgettable experience.