Not quite awake feels pretty good…REALLY???


Chicago Skyline at sunset

Chicago Skyline at sunset

By Kenneth Justice

~ This morning I woke up on the bus at 5:30 and looked out the window at the sun rising over the city of St. Paul, Minnesota. I’ve never been to Minneapolis before and am here on the latest leg of my Drinking in the Culture Tour, my excuse to get out of the daily grind and experience coffee culture all across the Western World.

Traveling to different cities every weekend often feels like a never ending dream. Do you know that in between stage of sleep and being awake? When you’re not really sure if you’re dreaming or your eyes are open? Where sounds in the background could be the morning birds chirping or the sea gulls from your dream still buzzing in your ears. When I was younger I called itย the ‘in between world’, the only moment in the day when the characters in your dreams merged with real life and anything could happen. That’s how I felt this morning as I watched the sun rise over the city of St. Paul, and then Minneapolis (the two cities are within a stone’s throw of each other).

I fell asleep in Chicago the night before and awoke to an entirely new place with different streets, people, and sensations.

The taxi driver who drove me to the coffee shop this morning was born in India and has been living in Minneapolis for seventeen years. His English was terrible and that made the adventure all the more adorable. Yet while he struggled to engage me in conversation, his math was perfect,

how much to get to this address” I asked him

$12 – $15 dollars” he said

And when the taxi pulled up to Bull Run Coffee the meter was exactly as he anticipated, “$12.95” it read.

Already this morning I’ve met a lovely young woman who was born in Vienna and is bursting with a passion for coffee house culture. She’s typical of everyone I’ve met along my journey this year, young adults and old who love connecting with people and sharing stories and experiences.

Each weekend I have the option to interview coffee shop owners or to simply hang out in the city and experience who ever I meet and ends up sitting at my table. This weekend I decided to take a break from interviews and to merely enjoy each moment…..I think I prefer it this way, never knowing what kind of conversations I will have or who I will meet.

There’s a lot of great quotes on the Internet if you Google “the art of traveling” and as my year long journey continues I’ve been realizing that nobody else can really define traveling for me; ultimately each of us must figure out what it means to travel and experience the world around us. Too often we get caught up in busyness.

Professor Richard Weaver wrote, “The whole tendency of modern thought, one might say its whole moral impulse, is to keep the individual busy with endless induction”


Isn’t that so true though? Busyness and endless induction; constantly overwhelmed with thoughts that keep us from truly seeing, experiencing, and feeling the world around us.

The art of traveling for me is about slowing down, stopping for a moment in a strangeย city to enjoy a cup of coffee and see the people passing by. Being open to new experiences, new people, new conversations, and expecting both the unexpected and the expected.

Coffee shops and cafes are the perfect accompaniment to travel. The people who hang out at them are almost always warm and engaging. They thrive on connecting with people from far-away. They enjoy sharing stories about life in different cities as they compare and contrast the unique elements of our varied lives.

The sun is fully up here in Minneapolis and for now I’m going to just enjoy this day with a sense of thankfulness and wonderment at how big this world really is…..

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning here in Minneapolis,


Categories: Culture & Society

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

41 replies

  1. I express thankfulness and wonderment at what you shared with us today, Kenneth.

  2. Thanks Kenneth for yet another engaging post.

  3. I literally just woke up. I had woken during the night and then fell back to sleep. My dreams are always very vivid in this case. I was dreaming I was teaching when I woke up. I have not remembered having a “teaching dream” for many years. Today I only felt that I was trying to get them motivated. The first to finish gets double points! I said. I had to look up induction to get a sense of your quote. My best definition is that “individuals busy with endless reasoning”. I try to analyze everything that happens. I think you calling for us all to experience our days in thankfulness and wonderment. Or am I still too sleepy?

    • “I think you are calling for us all to experience our days in thankfulness and wonderment”

      no you are not too sleepy Ellen, you nailed it ๐Ÿ™‚ its a much better way to live than to be grumpy and sad and disappointed ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I just love travelling and can only concur with your words.

    Travelling and being in that very moment of taking ‘each step’ away from where you’ve just been, is magical. I always preferred to travel on my own in my youth. I always ended up talking to whoever was around me, whereas if you’re travelling with a friend, there can be a tendency to talk to each other on a bus/train/restaurant/coffee shop.

    Shame I haven’t got the money or health to travel these days. I always encourage young people to travel overseas and see how the other half of the world lives. It’s a great education and an experience that will last the rest of your life (I tell them).

    I hope you have a great weekend (and many more to follow) and NO going to strange ‘parties’ with strange people either! You don’t want 59,009 people worrying about your wellbeing, do you. (my goodness, last time I looked you had some 44,000 followers – can’t believe how quickly your blog has grown).

    Keep safe.

  5. How much it cost me to get there? Lol
    I’m still dreaming and you living at.
    Wish I can stop more often and smell the roses I pass by every day.
    Beautiful sunset!

  6. I enjoy your blog because one day I hope to be able to travel as you do. There isn’t much more fun than meeting strangers in a strange land and learning their stories. The things you see or believe you see when you’re in between awake and asleep are called hypnogogic hallucinations.

  7. Seeing the sun rise over those two cities is something I have always privately enjoyed as I took my early morning commute. It was nothing compared to seeing the sun come up on the Atlantic though, or bathe the mountains in early morning light. It dulls in comparison to sunrises that occur when I am away from home because routine and familiarity can have a way of reducing one’s appreciation for the magic of life and nature, of their strived harmony that we tend to thwart through our own selfish actions. Traveling, for me, reminds me to pay attention and be grateful for the new experiences and knowledge you can only get by heading out into the world to live and learn.

  8. This is just beautiful, and precisely conveys the same sort of feelings I get when I’m traveling. I haven’t been able to do much of it lately, though, which is a shame. Soon, I’m hoping to embark towards new cities I’ve always wanted to visit, such as New Orleans or San Francisco via train. Some of my best moments come from traveling via train between Chicago and Michigan, and I’d love to explore even further. Posts like this remind me that I’ve really got to take the chance sooner rather than later, because there might not be a later.

    Best of luck on your travels. I look forward to reading more posts about them.

  9. I feel like I’m waking up with you. Wait, that didn’t sound right. Nice post while I’m having my coffee as the sun comes up here as well.

  10. Full of beans and grinding them into a wonderful aroma for us to savour! Go KJ! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Glad you made it. I’m enjoying your post as I sip my coffee… trying to break out of the ‘in between world”.

  12. Enjoy your time in the Twin Cities! As someone from Chicago now living 90 miles from Mpls, you are in the best possible place in the country right now! lol

  13. Many years ago, the Irish singer, Donovan, sang a wonderful song called “Slow Down World”. This song should be retrieved from the archives and made a world anthem

  14. “Busyness and endless induction; constantly overwhelmed with thoughts that keep us from truly seeing, experiencing, and feeling the world around us.”

    Amen – rock the uncertainty ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. The taxi driver…yeah, I would have chatted him up for hours. I love a language challenge. ๐Ÿ™‚ I like the reflective and calm, Kenneth. Enjoy your day!!

  16. Good for you Kenneth – so happy to read this : ). It’s a beautiful world out there – filled with lovely people. Thanks for sharing your travels with us!

  17. I love those awake/dreaming states too.

  18. Enjoy Minneapolis….one of my favorite cities!! Love the people!!

  19. Ummmmmmm, enjoy taking a break from the rush and need to fulfill commitment.

  20. Beautiful – wonderful idea – I love the part where you decide to just “be” rather than create an interview – allowing for the flow. Enjoyed the taxi driver. You have a lovely way with words – I am there with you – thanks

    • Thank you Heidi ๐Ÿ™‚ the taxi driver was a great way to start the weekend. I’m sitting here wondering where to start writing so much happened over the weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yes, I know how that goesโ€ฆwhat to write, so much to choose from! I’ve been six months on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, intending to do a “Winter on Cape Cod” blog, but each day was so fullโ€ฆinner as well as outer experiences. I chose to use the time to experience and shoot photos rather than be writing and posting about it, other than occasional light Facebook posts. Will do some project that’s all one piece after the experience is over…

  21. “What is this life, if full of care, we have no time to stop and stare?” Time we turned ‘business’ or ‘busyness’ on its head:)

  22. Lovely picture for your posting.vw

  23. It’s amazing what you can do in a large country. A coffeehouse tour? If I was to do that here I’d probably be going to the same place every day and hearing the same stories. ๐Ÿ™‚

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