Destination: Unknown

I can’t think of a more perfect piece to share as we begin to close out this year. Here is a story to remind us to absorb the smallest things that can bring light to our everyday’s.

Vanessa and I met last year and we unfurled our yoga mats next to one another during a yoga immersion weekend. I generally tend to keep to myself in yoga classes, as I really consider it my time to go inward. But something about Vanessa invited me to introduce myself to her. We quickly found ourselves sharing every free moment we had together that weekend. Sharing a similar zest for wandering, roaming & travel, we connected strongly over the need to simply get outside. Getting outdoors is a sacred necessity that we both hold close wherever we may be...magical, really. What Vanessa shares here is something I’ve never been able to articulate when I try to tell people about my daily early morning ventures (another story for another day).  If 2016 has felt tumultuous, or maybe just this holiday season has taken a toll on you….take some notes from Vanessa on how to soak up life’s simplicity by listening to that internal GPS system we all got.  - emidobz


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I am a noticer of small things.

I get hung up on details. Not my own. I’m not detail-oriented much at all.

But I see all these little, tiny nuances that inspire me beyond control. I find fascination in the minutia, the inconsequential — the way a person sweeps their stoop, the organization of aisles in a foreign market, the cracks in a sidewalk, the ants running across the earth, or the contents of a rubbish bin.  All that is seemingly simple, but to me, there’s so much more to see and think about beyond what is visually obvious.

 Lots of the times, I find this beauty while running.

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Lately, settling into my new home in Northern Virginia, I’ve been exploring an extensive trail system dappled in autumnal foliage that consistently halts me in my tracks. I allow myself the distraction, the quiet moment to be taken in awe by the spidery network traipsing the leaf I could have just as easily crushed unthinkingly with my shoe.   

Sometimes I keep small objects I find, littering my dashboard, the top of the dresser, and the nooks of my closet with these talismans…artifacts to remind me of the inspiration I find when I’m unbound by technology and welcomed into the real world.

Most of the time though, there is no tangible object to represent the whims and illuminations of my two-footed pursuits. While once I lamented my inability to capture them, I now see my time running as pure magic. There are things that happen, thoughts that exist, and moments that are created that are so elusive they live only inside of me, woven so deeply that they are unable to be parsed, unwound, explained, or liked by others.

These runs are the secrets I share with all the places I’ve been. I don’t know my space in a place until I’ve run around it, nor until I’ve seen the moments that never make it onto postcards or into conversations.

It’s the sensation of these details I alone know…that may only ever wholly resonate with me… that keeps me running.  Like the weight of my bulky down jacket glued to my unbathed body as I explored endless deserted fields of boulders in the Himalayas. Or breezing by the tai chi brigades materializing from the sunrise smog along the Bund.  

It’s recognizing the same Indian women crouched low in their saris, pinching and dusting their mandalas in predawn darkness day after day. And the waving shopkeepers in the Grand Bazaar pouring buckets to sweep their storefronts, pausing and curiously staring as I lept over the trails of water only to carry the dust away.

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The places I’ve really been are the locations where I laced up my running shoes without any expectations and allowed myself to get a bit lost, both in my head and in the space around me.

Because when I run, I cover much more ground than otherwise. I see and feel things I can’t when I’m in the company of others. The quietness and solitude afford my senses an opportunity to rouse, to notice the modest and the minuscule, those things that go unnoticed by most in the rush and chaos of modernity. In motion, my brain revives and becomes far more acute. My internal compasses calibrate naturally and I start to absorb a sense of a place through my skin.  

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And so I am a gatherer of both the familiar and the obscure. Though these findings are mostly private and outrightly vague, they ultimately bring me deep joy in life’s ambiguity. From such poignant experiences, I’ve come to ultimately realize: if my ambling inquiry were more shareable, it wouldn’t be nearly as miraculous. -Vanessa

Vanessa Veiock