Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Travel Gear: Headphones

I rarely use headphones when traveling. On a long-haul, I prefer to read, snooze, or watch a movie in silence with subtitles turned on. I have yet to find comfortable, compact headphones.

Back in 1980, when the Sony Walkman was introduced to the USA, the airlines were still handing out pneumatic headsets in Economy.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Urban Hike: Nordeast Minneapolis

Nordeast, looking towards Downtown.
Last weekend, the annual Art-a-Whirl artists' studio tour drew crowds to Northeast Minneapolis ("Nordeast"). 

Nordeast was a quieter place back in February when I went there on an urban hike.

It was a winter's day, but I took advantage of the shoveled sidewalks and warm, locally owned businesses for coffee and lunch. I felt a strong sense of place: each building had stories to tell; this is no Anywhere USA with its temporary cityscapes and mandatory car ownership.

As I walked, I played audio produced, narrated, and sung by the people who live in the neighborhood. These recordings revealed political, social, and historical layers I would otherwise have missed.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Traveling with Cherry Blossoms

It could be another week before the buds on our apple tree explode; spring blossoms come late in Minneapolis.

Back in March, I hiked up Kaimondake, a volcano in southern Japan for a day with Cecilia, a twenty-something from Sweden. She was traveling with the cherry blossoms, through Japan, from south to north. She would end up on Hokkaido in late April when the blossoms would finally be coming out in that northernmost of Japan's main islands.

Beyond that, she was living in the moment: no onward ticket from Japan, no concern her meager funding from an arts organization might run out.