Thursday, February 9, 2012

Adventuring within the constraints of schedule, finances, and ability

If you've ever talked to me for more than a few minutes, chances are you've heard me go on and on about another place. While I am most notoriously known for jabbering on about my love of Paris, I can be brought to reminisce about the glory of Alaskan nature, the seemingly lawless joys of late night San Francisco, or the proletarian charms of Detroit if the proper situation presents itself. Frequently, this faux-worldliness is perceived as impressive at first glance, though after a few encounters I'd imagine it gets kind of tired.

With this in mind, I have a few admissions to make.

1. I haven't been to that many places. I've done a good number of road trips with bands, friends, and activists over the years, and it has allowed me to see a good number of American cities and towns. These mini-adventures drew me to want to see more places and things, but in reality, I've only left the US twice.

2. One of those two departures was to Canada, which barely counts.

3. I haven't gone anywhere in a long time, and I'm getting a bit itchy about it.

As is the case with most people these days, I'm having trouble justifying the costs of travelling. Or rather, I could justify spending the money if I had it, but I don't have it, so I'm not going anywhere. This lack of adventuring in places foreign or domestic has increasingly led to my becoming bitter with my surroundings. I've become bored with my day-to-day, spending hours dreaming of other places, and even keeping webcam streams of other places open on my desktop just for the change of scenery (see screen capture).

In the past few days, I've thought hard about this markedly first-world problem of not being able to go wherever I want at any given time, and I've decided to try to make some lemonade out of this sour attitude.

Thus the purpose of the blog. I will be striking out in my own back yard, seeking out stuff I've never seen or done right here at home. I'm going to explore neighborhoods I have little or no experience with, patronize places I've never considered going to or ignored because they're "all the way in Dorchester" or "at the end of the Green Line."

I live in Boston, Massachusetts. I've lived here for over 10 years, and I've lived around it my whole life. Like any long-time resident, that's made me pretty complacent with my surroundings. But Boston's still Boston, right? This is one of the most famous cities in the United States. People come here from all over the world. There are people sitting at their jobs in Nebraska and Croatia wishing they could go to places I don't even pay attention to anymore because I see them so much. Folks wait their whole lives to go to places I've been avoiding since 7th grade field trips. There dozens of museums and galleries I've never gone to in the metro area. Boston has a lacrosse team! I don't even know what lacrosse is! Sure, I've been to Chinatown, but I haven't eaten at many of the hole-in-the-wall joints that the locals line up for. And what the hell is on the Blue Line?

The plan is to go somewhere or do something new every week. I'm sure I'll miss a few, but it's a priority not to. Even if it's something small like a restaurant, it feels necessary to seek out the great stuff around here armed with nothing more than a bike, the subway, shoe leather, a camera phone and a couple of bucks at a time.

So why read this? Maybe you'll learn something about the area. Maybe you'll learn what not to do? It's possible you'll even get a laugh out of my ridiculous need to find meaning in my surroundings. Hopefully, it'll make you want to get out of the house and see the awesome stuff that's right outside your door.

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