This may be what travel is all about.
PRAGUE, Czech Republic- Every once in a while in our traveler daydreams we imagine a day where we just drift through a warm, sunny day from cafe to cafe, bar to bar. Not really doing anything — hanging out, chatting with the people around you, sipping coffee and wine and beer, looking around, thinking easy thoughts, jotting notes and drawing sketches. Time becomes a sponge that you’re absorbed into, not a linear track that you’re running along. You have nothing to do, nothing scheduled, no obligations. You haven’t checked your phone in hours. Nobody knows where you are. The escape is complete.
You know that feeling?
That feeling is one of the reasons why we travel.
It’s a feeling that I’ve often buggered by turning travel into a profession, but anyway … I like my work, the BlackBerry in my hand isn’t a distraction, writing, compiling, is how I relax.
This opening paragraph describes my past week in Prague. My mother-in-law is here, so she takes my girls during the day, so I’m free to work. My friend Andy often laughs at me, but my work is what I like to do. I remember watching a video of how some young twerp once tried to call out Tim Ferris during the Q and A after a talk he gave somewhere, telling him that he obviously works more than four hours per week. Ferris laid it out: “work” is shit you do for no reason other than money, projects — even those that make money and aren’t easy — are what you do out of passion. They are not the same thing.
I work and I “work.” My “work” takes me around two to ten hours per week, and consists of things not really glamorous enough to make it into this blog. My work is what you hear about, it’s the projects that define me, the mountain of accomplishment that I stand on saying, “yup, this is what I chose to do with my time.” I can live on my “work” alone, but I can’t live without my work.
Photography is primarily the study of light — or maybe it could better be called a worshipping of light. Once you really learn how to use a camera and the principles of light you start seeing the world differently. You start focusing on the light rather than merely what it illuminates, you understand the different types of light, you become more attuned to feeling the light.
The summertime light in Prague is so perfect it seems concocted in a studio or planned with some great understanding of how light interacts with the city. The buildings are set up at perfect angles to reflect the sun down into the parks and streets below. Hard gold beams come down from the sky and bounce off the faces of old brick buildings, radiating in the color of facade — green, pink, yellow. The sun shine bright through the leaves of trees that line the streets, diffusing the light and turning it a soft greenish yellow that illuminates the sidewalks.
You can sit out on the sidewalk of a cafe and just observe the light, watching it like some kind of show that was inadvertently masterminded by a mix of natural and human things.
Then you finish your cup of coffee and it’s time to move on to the next cafe…
About the Author: VBJ
I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. VBJ has written 3679 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.
VBJ is currently in: Papa Bay, Hawaii
June 13, 2019, 9:42 pm
Doing nothing seems nice. But what about all the sites and attractions? Do you just ignore them?
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