A couple tears, a lot of passion, and Philadelphia


By Kenneth Justice

~ My weekend in Philadelphia has drawn to a close and I’m actually tearing up as I write this. I’m sitting in a coffee shop early this morning and a couple tears are trickling down my cheek so I’m trying to keep my face hidden behind my laptop so people don’t notice, they are happy tears.

When I came up with the idea for my yearlong Drinking in the Culture Tour and a goal of visiting 100 coffee houses all while meeting up with readers and fellow bloggers I had no idea what to expect. In the last five weeks I’ve been to Atlanta, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and now with Philadelphia done….I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and joy.

After the first stop in Atlanta and meeting with bloggers like Kira (DeweyDecimal) and Molly (Mollytopia) I thought that perhaps it was merely a fluke that I had such a good time meeting up with people. But then Chicago came and I met Tonya (ChapterTk) and then Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and the bloggers and readers I keep meeting are, to put it quite simply; freaking awesome.

It amuses me with massive amounts of humility that people are actually interested in meeting me when I arrive to the coffee houses because the fellow bloggers and readers I met in Philadelphia were so wonderful that when I look into the mirror I think to myself that I’m not even half as cool as the people I’ve met.

Yesterday was a flurry of activity as I stopped by three different coffee shops in Philadelphia and the surrounding area starting out at 7:30 in the morning and not finishing up till nearly 7pm; 12 hours of meeting with readers and fellow bloggers!

I was trying to think of one word to sum up my day yesterday and I kept coming back to the word passion.

—-) Passionate people excite me

—-) Passionate people inspire me

—-) Passionate people fascinate me

And in Philadelphia this past weekend there was no shortage of passion in the eyes of the people I met. The subject of passion came up with fellow blogger Alison (longandluxe) as she talked about her decision a year ago to start writing a blog. She’d been working one of those jobs that many of us have (a job that pays the bills) but didn’t really feel all that fulfilled in the work she was doing and because she had always loved writing when she was younger she took a stab at writing a blog. The minute Alison started talking about her writing, her eyes literally glistened with joy…..Alison is passionate about writing.

Isn’t that what life is about; finding our passion? Finding that thing in life which motivates us to get up just a little bit earlier in the morning (or to stay up just a tad bit later) because we receive so much fulfillment from pursuing our particular passion.

—-) For some people their passion is mechanics; I’ve got a buddy that LOVES rebuilding old cars (whereas I can’t stand to even change the oil in my car)

—-) For some people their passion is working with children or teaching at a school

—-) For some people their passion is art, or writing, or singing

Whatever our passion is….it adds so much spice and joy to our life. Without a passion, waking up in the morning and going to work can turn into drudgery and days of monotony. But when we find that passion; all of a sudden the minutes at work seem to disappear because our life is filled with so much more meaning and joy.

As Alison talked about how much she loved writing and how this past year of blogging has meant so much to her; I couldn’t help but be inspired. If I wasn’t a writer before I met her, I probably would have ended up becoming one last night after I left the coffee shop.

Passionate people like Alison are contagious; they inspire us to do so much more with our life than merely the bare minimum. She was bubbling over with so much to say and share about writing, life, love, and a ton of other topics that before I realized it we’d been talking for a couple hours. But when you’re with passionate people time seems to stand still….the conversations are never dull and drearybecause passionate people have a massive zest for life.

Of course it helps that Alison is a really good writer. In many ways one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed reading her throughout the past year is that prior to meeting her; I had already picked up on the joy and passion that flows from her pen (or in the less metaphorical sense her blog). While she started out writing her blog specifically on fashion; she found that the more she wrote, the further she wanted to branch out and tackle a more diverse range of subjects.

That’s what happens with passionate people; they are constantly growing. Passionate people don’t like to stagnate; they have a yearning desire within their soul to be ever maturing and moving towards new and greater heights in life. Just as a mountain climber seeks greater challenges with each new climb; passionate people are driven to keep looking over the crest of the next mountain to see what lies ahead.

I can’t believe that in less than a week I will be in Madison, Wisconsin! Wow! I’d love to have coffee with you if you live in the area. And I hope you’ll come back tomorrow and all this week as I talk about meter men, mothers, fathers, professors and everyone else I met in Philadelphia!


Categories: Culture & Society

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58 replies

  1. A passion is an inspiration that thrives us forward every day.
    A wonderful read again dude. And your passion or one of them has become meeting the awesome people over a cup of coffee. Thank you for sharing. those amazing stories Of people with a heart and passion. Telling us to enjoy life and have an open mind to new connections.

    Cheers 😀

  2. I am trying to be the Devil’s Advocate here, if you pardon the expression. Sometimes people read something like your article and think “Wow, I am a loser. I just can never measure up in the passion department with little Miss Sunshine”. So to those real life people that have ups and downs. That find that passions ebb and flow, I say you hang in there. In my life I have been ON FIRE about something I am doing and then meet up with so much disappointment that I have a lull. Maybe I pursue a completely new passion. That can take time to build up speed. I know lots of passionate people that could use a little financial help. If you meet someone like that consider helping to fund their projects. Not to be a bummer Kenneth. Sometimes bubbly out going people find the expression of their passions real easy. Deeper thinkers, maybe not so much.

    • Not a bummer at all Ellen, everything you said is totally right on! What I really wanted to convey is that its not just writers or artists who can be passionate; its whatever little thing in life that we love (like being an auto mechanic as my friend). Its merely staying committed to finding that thing in life that really resonates with who we are as a individual……. it helps to bring so much more joy to our life 🙂

      And I totally agree with you; passion ebbs & flows…. and perhaps that’s why these weekends have been surprising me so much; because I keep meeting people that are really inspiring to me.

  3. You rock! Coffee and high adventure seems to dovetail perfectly into shared moments that make good memories. Reading your blog is like being there, coffee in hand and a smile on the face.

  4. What a timely piece. Yesterday’s daily prompt was what you’re passionate about. I love being around passionate people. Passion is contagious and lifts me up. People who always see the glass as half empty bring me down. I’m glad that you’re loving your Drink in the Culture Tour. When you come to Toronto make sure the weather is a little warmer. I’d love to meet you but there are so many coffee shops in this big city (easily over 1000) that I’m not sure how you’re going to choose. My adult children could probably come up with some smaller and independent venues that might be more to your liking. Love reading about your adventure.

    • I’m going to come to Toronto in July! I’ll have the exact date posted very soon…. and right now I don’t even know which coffee shops to choose so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!!

  5. I wish I could have met you, but I had no way there. Your blogs make my day. You’re so dope!!! 😀

  6. Ok so now I have tears, dude . . . If someone would have told me a year ago that I would meet you in a coffee shop and that you would be awesome and fabulous and that I would have the balls to open up to you about my unadulterated passion for the written word and life in general – I would have said they were insane. I would have said that couldn’t happen because no one is that lucky. And yet it all went down yesterday. Somehow when you open up to life and give it all you’ve got – life rocks your world in ways you never see coming. (If you look up the definition of ‘groovy’ I believe that’s it lol)

    Kenneth, having the chance to hang with you was such a gift I can’t even tell you. And reading what you wrote here is enough to erase any doubt that may have lingered in my soul that what I’m doing to pursue my deepest passion, writing, is the very best I can offer the world. YOU inspire ME, guy. What you are doing on this culture tour will no doubt bring so many good vibes to so many people.

    Spreading the word about passion is the stuff!!! I’m on a mission to inspire everyone I can to do the thing that LIGHTS them up. Somebody told me a few weeks ago “Well your writing is a nice little hobby on the side.” and I felt like saying “Actually, it’s my f-ing insides.” but some people just don’t believe in the power of passion. I’m so glad you do.

    Nerd alert: You are doing beautiful work and everyone in the community you have created and are creating is blessed by it. Rock. That. Creative. Shit.

    Peace, always, and a wild jump up and down THANK YOU for your encouragement and kindness.

    ~ Allison

    • “Nerd alert: You are doing beautiful work and everyone in the community you have created and are creating is blessed by it. Rock. That. Creative. Shit”

      Ha ha I love this sentence!!!!

      (and now you know how I really talk Allison 😉 ) another blogger Jennifer, will totally appreciate this sentence cuz she knows what I really mean when I say that I ‘talk a tad bit differently in real life than the way I write on my blog” lmao!

    • Cat’s out, buddy 🙂 It’s a relief, sometimes the wrong word is just the right one!! I can dig it. lol

    • Ha ha…. well…. the cat’s only out a little bit 😉

    • hhmmmm . . . the intrigue continues . . . .

    • After we talked yesterday you convinced me to finally changed my damn picture at the bottom of the page 😉 lol… hopefully people will have an easier time spotting me now

    • Oh man, I hope I didn’t screw you up about that!! I was a little nervous meeting you at first and then all those people in the coffee shop kinda freaked me out a little bit. LOL the funniest was the guy I kept looking at who probably thought I was a nut hahaha. Maybe he was waiting for a lady. In any case I sort of knew you when I saw you chatting away with that nice lady and her kids and it seemed like you had just met. I’m going to check out your new photo!!

    • ha ha – I was the “nice lady with her kids.” 🙂 I had a hard time recognizing him too, the mug shot only shows eyes and the bottom shot makes you look – I’m gonna be honest Kenneth – 10 yrs older than you are. Seriously. You’re cute as can be and look about 21, it may be time for a new shot.

    • OMG! Hello!! This is so cool – we almost met in person and now we meet online, so wild! Love Kenneth’s new photo, don’t you?? 🙂

      Take good care!

      ~ Allison

    • Much better. He should be recognizable from now on, although the uncertainty was amusing. I feel bad that future blogosphere friends in upcoming cities won’t experience the confusion. – Rebecca 🙂

    • LOL – I agree Rebecca!! The intrigue is part of the fun! 🙂

    • Allison, I totally get that writing is you f-ing insides! A friend of mine wrote, and I wish I could remember the exact words, but he wrote that writing was something he felt inside that had to come out. It wasn’t a matter of wanting to write he needed to write in order to be complete. That is how I feel about writing as well and I think many other bloggers get you completely!

    • Dear Mrs P ~

      I cannot thank you enough from my heart for writing this to me! It is so beautiful to hear from other writers who ‘get it’ – we have something in us – a pull, a calling, a burning ~ whatever it is cannot be denied. It’s our soul.

      I wish you all the delicious creativity there is on your journey. Just curious have you ever read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield? I’m knee deep in it now and it is like page after page of “Yes!” for a writer.

      Thank you again so much for reaching out!!

      Peace, always ~ Allison

    • Thanks for the kind words! I haven’t read that book but did a quick peek at what it was about since its title was so similar too another well known book…I am intrigued, thanks for the suggestion.

      I have to admit, I didn’t tell anyone about my blogging until I gained a solid confidence in my writing skills. At first, I just did it because I felt I had to communicate and the more I did, the more I connected. It actually filled a void I had in life…being able to talk to others about anything and everything…meaningful stuff, soul defining stuff and just everyday stuff.

      No matter what happens in life, if you have at least one thing that your are passionate about…life seems a lot more fun.

  7. Jobs are owned by the company but we own our career & passion. Since I can’t travel like you do, I travel w/my mind 😀 . I admire your passion and courage to reach out and share stories that make our history. Passion it’s Energy. I’m glad y’re enjoying the inspiring voyage.

  8. Funny you mentioned this word “passion” because last night I was in bed thank god for my photography. it *is* my passion. I’ve never had a passion like this in my life and sometimes my husband gets a bit tired of it when I drone on and on and ON about new techniques. i get it. I need to be a bit more controlled around him because after all, he has passions too. I absolutely ADORE photography though and my dream is to impact people with it somehow. Probably not by selling it but by doing SOMETHING….it’s out there, I just haven’t found it yet! Thank you for letting me drone on about it! haha

    • Laura,

      EXACTLY!!! I hope people don’t mistake my article in thinking that I’m saying we all have to ‘change the world’ through our passion….. but merely that we each need to find that little passion which excites us; whether it be photography, cars, whatever 🙂

    • I agree! Sometimes the biggest changes we can make are within ourselves.

  9. Listening to people talk about their passion is fascinating, but what I love is sharing peoples lives, their ups and downs and what life has thrown at them.I have yet to speak with a person who had not had an extraordinary life at some time.
    If I could do your coffee house trip that is what I think I’d enjoy most. Its why I like reading your blog, so many people, so many stories.

  10. Passion is a tricky, little fellow.

    Although it is the driving force behind our creativity, our love and our kindness to others. Despite the fact.passion inspires to do great things like make great music, paint great pictures, write great books and act great plays. Despite fact passionate people can make us laugh like drains and dance through the rains, it has its other sides.

    Passion makes us angry, passion makes sad, passion makes us tearful, and passion drives us mad.

    • Wow! Great thoughts….. now that you mention it I think of the painter Cezanne who was so passionate about his painting and often felt that he was never able to get his paintings ‘just right’ that he would leave part of his canvas blank…. so as to say it wasn’t completely finished.

  11. As usual, thanks for a great post. I just have to say that it is your passion and sincere interest in people that inspires me. Blessings and thanks, Lydia

  12. I don’t know that you can blog without having a passion for something, so it’s no surprise you’ve met some fantastic characters on your journey. Just think, you’re not even half a year in yet. ^_^

    I think passion must be harder to find for a lot of people. It takes work to wake up earlier or go to bed later. It’s hard to ad something to the 40-hour work week, the groceries and the every day activity of life. I wonder if a lot of people never find their passion simply because they feel it would be too much work.

  13. It strikes me mon ami that the people you’re meeting are very nice and extremely enthusiastic perhaps because that’s exactly what you are . You say you’re not half a s cool as they are, but what’s cool in comparison to being enthused with your subject and taking the time to listen to others and share with them. You can’t be boring or they wouldn’t stay for so long.
    Congratulations are due you for achieving what you do with all those you meet. If you can, keep on doing it.

  14. Life can be good without passion but it can’t be great. I think part of my problem is that I love my job but I’m not sure I’m passionate about it. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m truly passionate about. I like so many things that I don’t let myself get fully passionate about one thing – maybe it’s time to change that. I suppose I am passionate about music lol but that’s about it. I used to be passionate about soccer (at the moment I still love it but not passionate – I need to throw myself more into it again). It’s exciting to encounter passionate people – it is so inspiring. Glad your trips so far has been exciting and proving to be more interesting than you thought! Looking forward to hearing about your Philly adventures. 🙂

  15. Thank you for today’s post…inspiring! You do a great job relaying your experiences in such a way…we all feel like we were there!! Passion drives life….I remember interviewing for a job years ago that I really wanted, but more importantly felt passionate about…The interviewer stopped the discussion mid-stream…looked me in the eye and said “I hear and feel your passion” …Got the job!! It led to a very successful career. Years later I have held onto that comment and have always done a “gut check” …do I still have the passion for what I am doing? Ultimately leading me from successful leadership in corp America to my art today….you never know where your journey is going to take you, but I hold firm to the thought….follow your passion!!

  16. great tour, thanks for taking us along 🙂

  17. Dear Kenneth, tears and a new pic! What a joy to read your expectations are being overwhelmed by reality. I would go one further and suggest people in general rock. Every single passionate person. Even those who don’t know they are passionate because “they said” sensible is the way to go.

    Light and dark? You light up the dark.

  18. Quite an emotional trip you are going through. Thank you again for making us part of it. I learn a lot about people and coffee places, too, through your different stops across our big country.

  19. Hear hear. Once again you are spot on my own thoughts and viewpoints.

  20. I’m really enjoying this series of your coffee house tour, and can’t wait to hopefully meet you sometime in October.

  21. I’ve loved your stories, enjoying the adventures you are having and I’m so happy to hear how much you are getting out of it; however, I can see all that you are giving to others. Both in the blog and the words you use here and stories you share and in your time and effort when you meet in person. I hope that someday you see all that you are giving back and how you are changing the world around you.

  22. I think what you’re doing with this tour of yours is proving to thousands that we are all so very normal. Sounds like a fantastic weekend, Kenneth. This will make a hell of a book one day. 🙂

  23. Tears of joy and passion…those words make my heart sing. To me, there is no other emotion that heals the soul as that of joy. People can experience a lot of stuff in life…but a few simple moments of joy can erase a lifetime of pain. Dude…I can’t wait until you come visit your mom! So happy for you!

  24. “Isn’t that what life is about; finding our passion? Finding that thing in life which motivates us to get up just a little bit earlier in the morning (or to stay up just a tad bit later) because we receive so much fulfillment from pursuing our particular passion.”

    I think that without that passion, life is impossible. No one else can find that passion for us, but they can fight for our freedom to find it for ourselves.

  25. If I hadn’t found passion in Photography 4 years ago, I think I’d be in a coffin right now.

    Passion and revisiting my creative self is what has given me a reason for living.

    If nothing else, everyone should find this passion and ‘run with it’. If not in their job, then certainly in their time off work.

    Love the background image in your blog, Kenneth. Now that…..looks like one very…..sharp stylish image.

  26. I can’t wait my turn and I am happy for your tears of joy!

  27. Nice post. Very nice. I’m impressed with your transformation.

  28. Passionate people have always inspired me. Thank you for these reflections…I’ve been challenged to reconsider how I’m living out my own passion.

  29. So happy to ready this post and all your posts! However, it’s particularly nice to receive your shout-out to the lovely Allison 🙂 It sounds like a great visit; I wish I could have been there! I live in Madison and am so bummed I just missed your visit here (I sometimes get behind with my blog reading). If you come again sometime, I’d like to suggest one of the Barriques locations. I’d love to meet and chat with you! Keep shining bright!


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