VENTURING TO ADVENTURE

Adventure. What a word!

It conjures visions of mountains to climb, rivers to ford. Diving to see the ocean bottom. Jumping from airplanes or diving into canyons tethered by elastic bands.

I was never physically adventurous. This had less to do with fear — though there was always plenty of that — but spoke more to my understanding of me and my physical limitations.

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Clumsiness stands out head and shoulders from the crowd of reasons why I never became a rock climber, diver, or bungee jumper. I knew, in my soul, I would fall off the mountain, the bungee would pop and a fatal plunge awaited me on that steep, winding trail along edge of the cliff.

On horseback, I was daring, though looking back, I think stupid probably better applies. I fell off regularly and got broken. Eventually I learned to ride well enough to be less stupid and avoid additional breakage. By then, the damage was done and would never go away.

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Fear, trembling, and an already damaged spine notwithstanding, I climbed down the cliffs at Land’s End in Cornwall on a dare. Which is always the wrong reason to do something. But I did it. I am not proud of it because it didn’t prove anything about me or the cliffs. That I didn’t fall and break the rest of me is not something to brag about. It wasn’t like no one had dared to do it before.

What’s the point of an adventure if you aren’t accomplishing anything new or noteworthy … or going somewhere you couldn’t go via some other safer, easier means? Why climb 1000 stairs if there’s an elevator?

Photo by Ben Taylor

Photo by Ben Taylor

Other adventures meant more to me. I moved across the ocean to live in a foreign country that became home. I wanted to experience another culture and see the world from a new perspective. For my own reasons. It was an adventure requiring mental rather than physical agility. Much more me.

Today,  a lovely hotel with comfortable beds is a grand adventure. Otherwise, I’ve passed my tests, thank you. I don’t feel any pressure to prove myself, not to me or anyone. But those of you who still have mountains to climb? Have at it.

When you get up there, plant a flag and think (briefly) of me rooting for your success. Have fun out there. And … as they say … be careful. You only get one body and it has to (hopefully) last a long time.

ADVENTURE | THE DAILY POST DISCOVER CHALLENGE

BOSTON HARBOR – GARRY ARMSTRONG

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Memorial Day weekend, 2016. In Boston for a wedding, we decided to make a holiday of it. Stayed in the Aloft Hotel in South Boston, on the harbor. We made time to shoot some pictures. Remarkably, we did not get lost. We had no trouble getting to the harbor and found a convenient parking garage … at a reasonable price. In Boston. On a holiday weekend. Gee.

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Such a miracle deserves celebration.

We both took a lot of pictures. The differences are interesting. Marilyn commented that my “roots” in journalism are obvious. I shoot pictures of people and activities. She takes landscapes and architectural shots, though we always seem to take at least a dozen pretty much identical shots, no matter what else we do.

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I was impressed at the intrepid kayakers braving Boston Harbor. There’s a lot of boat traffic and I would not want to be in such a tiny craft in so crowded a waterway.

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It’s true. I look for people. I’m an old news guy and that’s what I see. Sometimes, we take the same pictures or almost the same … and sometimes, we see very different things while being in the same place.

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: CITIES

cee's fun foto chall

BOSTON – TEA PARTY WHARF

As part of our mini-vacation, we decided to shoot some pictures before heading home to little old Uxbridge.

One of the rare times when I didn't have a camera with me. Two strikes agains me -- just a cell phone and shooting through glass at twilight. But the view from the 33rd floor at 60 State Street is breathtaking. Even using a cell phone.

One of the rare times when I didn’t have a camera with me. Using a cell phone shooting through glass at twilight. The view from the 33rd floor at 60 State Street is breathtaking. Even using a phone instead of a camera.

Boston has changed a lot since we lived there. We’ve been gone 16 years during which time nothing much happened in Uxbridge. A couple of restaurants closed. All but one reopened under new management. The Unitarian Church went out of business. CVS built a big store where the ice cream place used to be. The ice cream place moved to Whitinsville. Both local dry cleaners closed and Walmart built a super store in Whitinsville.

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During this same period, Boston finished the Big Dig. They built new roads, tunnels and bridges. Completely redesigned the waterfront, turning what had a been a dark, dirty dumpy area into an attractive, accessible tourist magnet. Lots of young people were there. Singing, dancing, drinking and hanging out which seems to be what young people do when they get together.

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The Beaver

There are easily a dozen new hotels, one of which we stayed in. Very modern. Comfortable. Accommodating. Friendly. From the outside, it looks like it’s built with Lego (it has to be one of the most unattractive pieces of architecture I’ve seen), but inside, it’s delightful. High ceilings. Bright and airy. Well-designed, spacious bathrooms and plenty of closet space. Good cable package and fast, free WiFi. Lots of cool high-tech stuff.

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And they take dogs. We were among the few people who didn’t have a well-groomed, properly trained canine companion. Our dogs are neither well-groomed nor properly trained. I shudder to imagine taking any of them to a hotel.

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We cabbed over to the wedding from the hotel. It is on the waterfront — as was the hotel — but it’s several miles north of the area in which we were staying. As we passed the edge of Charlestown Harbor, I saw a tall ship. I assumed it was the Constitution and suggested we go back the next day. Take some pictures.

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The Eleanor

When we lived in Boston, we used to hike to Charlestown from Beacon Hill or Charles River Park. We were younger. I could hike up the hill to our apartment at full speed with 20 lbs of groceries in each hand. These days, I’d have to stop along the way and take a nap. On the sidewalk. Or call for an ambulance.

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It turned out the ship was not the Constitution. It was The Beaver, a restored schooner that recreates one of the three Boston Tea Party (NO relation to right-wing “Tea Party”) ships. There are two ships, the second being the Eleanor. A third ship is being built. Originally, four ships sailed from England bearing tea. One sank. Three made it to Boston. Then, there was a tea party, a bit of shooting, a declaration, a revolution … and the rest, as they say, is history.

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You can have tea on one of the ships. There’s a cute little “museum” which is really a gift shop and not any kind of museum.

Hi from Sam Adams. He helped start a revolution and is mostly famous for making beer. Perhaps justifiably so.

Hi from Sam Adams. He helped start a revolution and is mostly famous for making beer. Perhaps justifiably so.

We took pictures. We stopped and had crab cakes for lunch. We came home. The dogs were very glad to see us. We were very glad to see them. But mostly, we were unbelievably glad to see our extremely comfortable bed. At our age? There really is no place like home.


Other than the pictures I took with our rarely used cell phone, all the other photos were taken with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ 200. It’s the camera I grab when I want to keep it simple.

CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE: ALL ABOUT CITIES (SKYLINES TO STREET PHOTOGRAPHY)

cee's fun foto chall