Boston in May…REALLY???

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By Kenneth Justice

 

It’s not about the city, it’s the people

 

~ I’ve just returned from a whir wind weekend in Boston, MA and the latest leg of my Drinking in the Culture Tour, my opportunity to get out of the daily grind and experiencing coffee house culture all over the Western World.

When I was younger I was all about vacations. Rio, Jamaica, Barbados, the Caribbean, all I could think about during dull work weeks was taking vacations to places I’d never been before and sitting in beautiful Resorts sipping Pina’ Colada’s. Vacations were something I looked at as getting away from people and being by myself free of the distractions of busyness and anxiety.

Yet the older I get the more I realize that I don’t want to be sitting in a resort hidden away from the real culture; but rather I love living on the edge and experiencing life in a way that vacationers never see. It’s not that there is anything wrong with going on tours in Boston Boat Cars that whisk you around the city while a dude speaks over a microphone and tells you all about Ben Franklin and where he came up with the idea of the modern Fire Department. But there is something altogether different meeting a psychotherapist at Logan Airport in Boston who offers to hang out with me for a couple hours to get me from Logan to Downtown and tells me all about the city from her perspective.

I’m sorry, I’m probably the worst person to be telling you about the city” said the Psychotherapist as we sat on the Silver Line Bus being transported to downtown. She hadn’t lived in the city for nearly two decades, but she was wrong, the love of Boston that permeated her entire being made her the perfect person to give me my first introduction to a city I’d never been to before. The years she had been away from Boston had given her a different perspective, a seasoned view of the city; a vision of what it was to her as a youth and what it is to her now as an adult.

It’s not about the city, it’s about the people

Each week I’ve traveled on my Drinking in the Culture tour I’ve learned that it’s not really the city I become fascinated with but rather it’s the city I’m visiting. After all, each city was built by people and the quality of the bricks and mortar and planning put into its development says a lot about the people behind the scenes. The men and women whose sweat and toil raised the city from the dust of the earth into the massive blocks of city streets that I walk upon.

In Boston over the weekend I spent more than 22 hours in one-on-one conversations with over fifty different people. Considering the fact that I arrived Friday at 3 pm and left Sunday at 7 am when I say it was a whirlwind tour of the city I really mean it. I only had a few hours to myself for most of the weekend to wander around. Saturday night, because I had to be at the airport at 5 am I decided to stay up until it was time to leave, and a young woman from Mexico ended up sitting with me from midnight to 4 am sharing with me her life; her first love, what it was like growing up in Mexico City, her work in a PhD program in Hamilton, Ontario, her terrible experience of traveling alone for a week in India, and her love of Cambodia, Thailand, and Japan (places she has visited numerous times).

It’s not about the city, it’s about the people

—) This past weekend I spent two hours with a couple who met each other on Match.com, he’s a fifty five year old from Poland who met Pope John Paul and the experience had a profound effect on his life. She’s a 35 year old Virginia native who worked in politics for many years, “But I can never run for elected office because of all the sexual things I did in my past” she said

—) I spent the evening with SuSu Bryan, an Olympian who played in the London Olympics and is currently training for the Summer Olympics in Brazil

More than fifty people in less than three days and so much to write, yet so little time to publish it. By the time Sunday morning came around the scraps of paper I’d been writing notes on were littered all over and overflowing my backpack. My arms were covered with so many pen scrawls I looked like some kind of wannabe rock star covered in tattoos.

So much of our lives are dedicated to escaping; we want to escape work and get home. We want to escape our house and go to the store. We want to escape our life and go to a beach. Yet in the midst of all that escaping I often wonder if we are simply falling victims to the grass-is-always-greener. Perhaps instead of trying to escape we should learn to live in the moment. To stop for just a second and say hello to the person standing in line with us at the bank. Perhaps we should complement the stranger at the grocery store and tell them it’s nice to see someone with a smile on their face. Who knows, perhaps a simple comment you make to a stranger will turn into a fantastic conversation or a new friend for the rest of your life.

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

Kenneth

P.S. Check out the brand new episode of the Kenny & Kylie Podcast Show <LINK>

 



Categories: Culture & Society

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31 replies

  1. Stepping over to the Kenny and Kylie Show.

    By the way, I think it’s really cool to hear people’s
    voices for the very first time. You guys sound great!

  2. Oh…and you need to take a selfie showing your culture tour tatoos! 🙂

  3. Sorry, I don’t tweet but coming out of the blogosphere would fit for people who go from unknown to known.

    • lol you may be write :=) we’re trying to come up with a phrase for bloggers who finally reveal what gender they are…. if you have an idea let us know and we’ll use it next week.

  4. Very good thoughts this morning, Kenneth. I needed that.

  5. Your tour of coffee shops in major cities seems to be going quite well. Do you ever go to the small coffee spots in small rural places? I hesitate to call them coffee shops. They are often diners that serve coffee, too.

    It would be interesting to hear your comparison of the people you meet between those and urban shops.

    • I do! In fact I stopped at one in the middle of nowhere Kentucky and Tennessee…. truth be told I’ve already been to over 100 coffee houses since January! Posting only six articles a week, I simply can’t catch up in my writing with talking about all of the people I’ve met (over 400) and all the places I’ve visited so far. Plus, I haven’t even begun writing about the most crazy experiences I’ve had; thus far I’ve only written the pg & pg 13 material…. its been a crazy year this year to say the least 😉

    • Some day you might find yourself in conversation since you lead such a busy life. I do hope you write about that meetup. 🙂

  6. Glad you had a great weekend in Boston! Sorry I couldn;’t connect, but it seems I would have been waiting in line (you rock star!). Some other time.

  7. Lots to Do so Little Time.
    You guys sound happy partners. May showers brings flowers, Kenny & Kylie are sweet & sour! 😀

  8. The more we travel, the more people we interact with, the more we can grow as a person. Not only are your posts entertaining and enlightening but it’s been fun to watch you grow as each new experience adds to what makes up who you are. Anyone can try and escape the things they don’t like about their life, but you’ll never find happiness if you’re running away. You’re right, having a “grass is always greener” mentality will always leave you wanting something else but choosing to focus on the moment that is happening right now, choosing to put in the effort to fix what is “broken” in your life, allows one the opportunity for amazing possibilites, possiblities like actually being happy.

  9. Hey, Kenneth! Great post, as usual. One of my readers has already assumed that I am the psychotherapist to whom you refer in this post (not true, as you and I know). I would also like to clear up any further possible confusions and declare that I also am NOT (1) a 35-year-old Virginia native, (2) an Olympian of any sort, or (3) from Mexico.

  10. Something different today: reading the sweep, scale and logistics of your talkings – it kind of blew me away. No need for an expected “transcript” with observations. Just the size and scale and full-on(ness) of squeezing so much juice with so little planning. That is amazing! That is enough to read!! That is groovy!!

  11. We escape to give reasoning to the time we feel bored or wasting.
    But isn’t running away from it wasting time al together.
    think we just do not know what to do with who we are any more. we are lost in time consuming escapes.

    just a thought that popped in my head.

  12. Always good to read you. Of course I keep Boston in a special place in my memories so this stretch of your journey resonates even more with my own experiences. I agree that the most gorgeous place without its people is nothing.

  13. I am a Scientist, that thinks that you have to do Experiments with your life. Inspired by all your adventures I am showing up to coffee shops alone to see if I can meet new people. On Saturday I went downtown because I had a birthday party to attend in the afternoon. The coffee shop had live music and a Grower’s Market in the parking lot. A man came in and invited everyone to come to the park to welcome some walkers from CA going to DC to bring awareness of climate change. This man was a Fla educator that follows the walkers and speaks at middle schools. Interesting. Still not a personal connection yet. I mean like new friends to have here.

  14. Kenneth, you probably sense that in connecting with all of the people you encounter on your tour, that you are transformed by each conversation. We are social animals and you are living a life where your social interactions are enriching your life (sometimes, the enriching is painful and transformative I’m sure)! In turn, you are changing the world with your thought-provoking posts and now with the launch of your new podcast. Thank you for the important work you do. I know it can’t be easy and at times it must be exhausting!

  15. Paulfg said groovy!! Yeah baby!! 1000%!! 🙂

    I do love to travel but this year has been all about inward travel for me I guess, getting to know myself better, be more authentic. It’s all a journey 🙂

    Cant wait to hear the podcast ~ will do later today!!!

    Peace to you, friend,

    Allison

  16. Have you ever thought of carrying a voice recorder with you (or use the one on your phone) to record conversations? Of course, the speaker would have to approve it, but it’s an idea. It may save you from writing all over yourself. 🙂 I think it’s fascinating that you get to meet and talk to so many people from a such a wide range of backgrounds. People and theirs ways, have always fascinated me also. That’s another big reason as to why I started a blog to begin with. There is so much to learn out there and everyone has a story to tell.

    I just finished listening to the podcast. You all did a great job! It was nice hearing you three for the ‘first’ time. As I told Kylie, it’s a great way to feel closer to those whose blogs you read often. Also, thank you so much for mentioning my blog! I do not take that for granted, and actually it motivates me to write more and better. Thank you!

    • At the risk of incriminating myself….(uh oh) I have secretly recorded one or two people who were so, uh, off the wall…. but I could never use such recordings because I didn’t get permission…. but 99% of everyone I sit with now, knows I write a blog and many of them have told me I could take their picture and I could record if I wanted to…. perhaps one day I will make it more of a thing 🙂

    • I run into a few of those off the wall people frequently, so I can only imagine what you see and hear.

  17. Yea, I’m all for living in the present. Never used to be. I used to live in the ‘romance’ of the ‘next best thing’. Having traveled extensively and being involved in stuff and experiences that others may not have had the opportunity to be involved in, and now being a stay-at-home mom with a little blog, nobody knowing who I am, just being in the background and learning to live in my days – I have never been as content as I am now. Go figure.
    🙂

  18. Having spent a few years in the 1980s going back and forth to Turkey, buying old kilims and rugs to sell in London, I constantly had to travel away from the tourist track, and talk to people I’d never have met had I just been taking a break. As a freelance travel journalist later, this stood me in good stead. I’d kept a pretty comprehensive diary of my travels. But then,hitching my summers round Europe as a wanderlust student was a mind-opener too.

    Living in a small pueblo, which is summer destination for tourists now, I see how many visitors seem almost afraid of engaging with the locals. It’s their loss, but perhaps their the same at home.

  19. I am always jealous of people who are well traveled. Maybe I’m still a bit young to have that achievement, but traveling just sounds so fun. I’m hoping, in another five or so years, I’ll also be able to say I’m well traveled.

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