When I stop to think about it, air travel starts to seem like a truly strange thing. You wake up at home, in your bed, where things are familiar and “normal”; you go to the airport, those strange places where people bustle about, revealing the complexities of human nature; you enter the “time warp” of air travel; and a few hours later, there you are, in a completely new place.
As I walked around the University District neighborhood of Seattle this afternoon, I felt acutely aware of the strangeness of travel. Perhaps its due to the fact that after waking up at 4am EST and gaining 3 hours on my journey west I am slightly sleep deprived, but as I wandered through this neighborhood sipping a latte (from Herkimer Coffee) admiring the lovely craftsmen homes, I was struck with a sense of awe at the fact that here I was, exploring a new city.
As I looked at these houses, I kept imagining what it would be like to live here, in this city I don’t know, where I seemed to be the only person who felt the need to wear sunglasses on a cloudy (but glare-y!) day. I passed the most incredible school-yard garden I have ever seen. The photo below doesn’t do it justice, unfortunately – you should’ve seen the kale! Seattle’s trees are a few weeks ahead of Virginia’s and I found myself smitten with the fiery reds, vibrant yellows, and deep purples of the trees. I saw beauty everywhere I looked – sometimes obvious, like the incredible rose garden in front of the Blessed Sacrament Church; sometimes less obvious, like the in-need-of repair house with a perfect “fall” tree and quirky car out front.
But most of all, as I walked around this afternoon, I felt grateful for this day, this opportunity, this new city that I get to explore. Strange though it may be, travel helps me to make space for awe. By getting out of familiar surroundings, I recognize the beauty of everyday life.