joie de vivre

LES sunlight.jpgApparently the unexplainable feeling of wellbeing I found in Paris last fall was not city-specific. I am very grateful that it has stuck with me in New York, despite the fact that I am cold and penniless. The other day I sat down on a bench at the intersection above, spread my arms out like a preacher, and started smiling maniacally about how gloriously bright it was. For perhaps the first time in my adult life, I seem to be carrying this good feeling around inside of me like Baby Brute in the little Brute family.

It is surely chemically enhanced but it is authentic nonetheless.

The sun helps, of course. There is so much more of it here than in Paris. Knowing when to quit does, too.

My usual tendency is to behave like I’m living in an environment of scarcity. I hold on to every good person, place, or plan as though it’s the last of its kind. When they run their course and come to an end, it kills me. I expected to feel awful about leaving Europe before I was ready to. But I think I have finally internalized that there are opportunities for me around every corner, so I can more gracefully let go of things that just didn’t work out despite my best efforts.  

It helps that the universe is now smiling upon me after months of shit storms. The luckiest break is that I’m off to Vietnam this Friday for a shoot. I’ll be M.I.A. here for two weeks, but then I’ll have lots of photos to share from foreign lands. (I also have a one-day stopover in Hong Kong, which I am super psyched about.)

See you in a few…



I’ve been receiving daily emails with worldwide airfare deals for the past month or so, with the intention of choosing my next vacation destination based on the loose equation: farthest I can go for the cheapest amount. I passed up a $600 Seoul ticket I saw the very first day I looked, because I couldn’t get the dates to work out quite right, and I hadn’t seen anything else super great since then… until the $550 ticket to Hong Kong that appeared this week.

I asked my friend whose job sends her to Hong Kong every few years whether she’d be there any time soon. Luckily enough, she’s going for a conference over Thanksgiving. I promptly invited myself to share her hotel room, and when she said she was thinking about adding on a trip to the mainland this time I proposed that we visit the “rainbow mountains,” which look like just about the most beautiful place on earth:

Zhangye Danxia

She responded that she actually wanted to visit the “other” mountains, the ones in Avatar, which appear to be equally jaw-dropping, and which I also would love to visit:

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

Over the course of the night I went from thinking I’d maybe do a four-day jaunt in Hong Kong to planning an epic mountain range-hopping adventure. My Chinese colleague only added fuel to the fire the next day when she said that flights within China are super-cheap and I should be able to jump from place to place, no problem.

So I freaked out about this trip of a lifetime I was about to take. Except that when I looked into it further, there were plenty of problems. First and foremost, the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park where the rainbow mountains are is fairly impossible to get to without a 2-day journey of planes, trains and automobiles, all of which add up to quite a bit more than the $150 my colleague had promised. The Avatar mountains – Zhangjiajie National Forest Park – are only slightly more accessible – but only from Beijing, where roundtrip airfare from New York is definitely not on sale. So my epic adventure – which by the time I finished the research had grown in my mind to include a bullet train ride to various stops along the Silk Road as well as a foray into the Gobi Desert – was over before it began.

Back to square one. 😦

[Zhangye Danxia photo: Eric Pheterson; Zhangjiajie National Forest Park photo: Viktor Lövgren]