AFIELD

Photography + Adventure

Posts tagged ‘Travel Writing’

Kurt Vonnegut’s House

I recently finished reading Kurt Vonnegut: Letters as well as his book of commencement and public addresses called If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? I have been a fan of his and have read nearly every word he has written over the years, but I must admit that these two are among my favorites because they were in his voice and spoke to us as if we were his children. He said, “Most letters from a parent contain a parent’s own lost dreams disguised as good advice…”. I don’t think many of us think about that when we are bristling under the weight of some unwanted advice after we’ve done something stupid, but perhaps we should (I have gotten a lot of this advice because I have done a great number of stupid things).

The reason I am writing this little post is because I learned from Kurt Vonnegut: Letters that from the mid-seventies on, Vonnegut lived just a few blocks away from me on East 48th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues in Midtown Manhattan – naturally I went in search of it. His little townhouse pictured above is nestled between two more substantial apartment buildings and has a little angel perched on the lintel just above the front door. I am a small town kid at heart so I still get star struck when I realize that great men and women have lived normal lives in the same neighborhood that I live in – I live near the UN so the number of great (and downright shitty) people who have laid their heads nearby is staggering.

During his time in his New York house Vonnegut wrote seven or eight books, got remarried, adopted a young girl and almost burnt the house down due to careless smoking (I have also done this – didn’t get much advice after that one though, mostly just got yelled at for burning up a whole couch while I slept soundly upon it). He was known to sit out on the stoop and cheerily greet passersby, of which I wish I had been one. But there he also struggled with depression and his inability to write as he used to. Also, from the way it sounds, his second marriage wasn’t a cake walk either – it never is when you are married to an artist. He sustained his final injury falling down the steps there as well, but let’s not dwell too deeply about this since he once said he was going to sue Brown & Williamson tobacco company because the message on their packages saying that smoking kills wasn’t working fast enough for him – he was 82 and a lifelong smoker of Pall Mall cigarettes when he wrote that.

My favorite quote from his volume of letters turns out to be the last he ever wrote to be delivered to an audience, and seems quite topical in today’s weird world. It goes: “And how should we behave during this Apocalypse? We should be unusually kind to one another, certainly. But we should also stop being so serious. Jokes help a lot. And get a dog, if you don’t already have one…I’m out of here.”

If you are looking for some uplifting advice from our old friend Kurt, read the two books above – I have read If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? numerous times. It comes in handy especially after friends die or when you are longing for advice from someone who isn’t here to impart their comfort and knowledge any more. My favorite quote from that one is: “Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories.” Good advice indeed.

This fun adventure has inspired me to start looking for other places around here that were occupied or used by some of my favorite artists – either as their homes or perhaps where they made films, painted paintings, or wrote that one perfect book – also, we musn’t forget that this is a town famous for its underworld so I may go looking for the more unsavory spots as well. Do you, dear reader, have any places in mind that you think I should hunt for? Let me know in the comments and thanks for stopping by. You are loved. So it goes…

 

 

© Peter Molgaard and Afield Book, 2012-2019. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of photographs and original content without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided that permission is granted and that full and clear credit is given to Peter Molgaard and Afield with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. If you would like to use any of the imagery displayed you may send your requests to molgaardpmo@gmail.com

 

The Sky is Falling…

The cosmos dances along while we sleep our nights away…

 

 

© Peter Molgaard and Afield Book, 2012-2019. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of photographs and original content without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided that permission is granted and that full and clear credit is given to Peter Molgaard and Afield with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. If you would like to use any of the imagery displayed you may send your requests to molgaardpmo@gmail.com

Westward in Comfort and Style

There were bad decisions made that fateful night in 2010, right TMO?

The last time Blondie and I went camping, biblical rain showers mixed with a shallow bowl-shaped campsite caused our little haven beneath the trees to become a giant pain in my swamp-ass. That next morning, after a near-mutinous and soggy night, we packed up everything in silence and, upon arrival at our place in the city, we deposited the sodden muddy fabric of our camping kit directly into the dumpster. That, according to Blondie, was the end of that BS – no more sleeping on the ground – that was Summer 2010.

Since then, our many outdoor ventures together have been cabin or lodge based – usually near a bar –  and that seems to suit us both as we like a bit of pampering and a stiff drink after a day of adventuring (who doesn’t?). Our most recent trip to Big Sur was, however, a departure from the norm in that we were going to get back into a tent, but this time a tent with a bed and lights and a sink with fresh running water. Yes, we decided to give glamping a try.  Ech! Personally, I cannot stand the moniker “glamping” as it implies that this old mountain man has gone soft, but in reality it is a cloth cabin with a comfortable bed that is great after a long day of being outdoors. Depending on the campground, you still get to do all the fun campfire stuff, you still need to be vigilant about forest creatures running off with the Doritos (seriously, guard those chips), and, in our case, you still get to be nestled into a mountain niche under a tall stand of coastal redwoods, but you get to do it all with comfort and style and there is absolutely nothing wrong with comfort and style.

Please read on to find out more about our first foray into the luxe-camping life and check out all of the pretty photographs that I made for you… Read more

Ten Days in China

Chek Lap Kok Airport, Hong Kong

Recently, Blondie and I were lucky enough to get back to China for a quick ten-day trip.  Despite all of the trade wars, real wars, and so-called bad feelings between the US and our friends in the East, we were welcomed into the country as warmly as ever. Click through to read more about our trip and peep a few pretty pictures…

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Island Time: Belize

Mmm, so blue.

Once again we braved airports, planes the size of VW Beetles, and a boat ride to arrive on Coco Plum Island Resort (who is not paying for this post), a 16 acre speck of an island just off the coast of Dangriga Town, Belize. The resort is home to 18 cabanas of varying sizes, one over-water bungalow, a main office/restaurant/bar area, and a dormitory area for the workers. Other than that there are some hearty trees, sand, sun, the occasional water bird swooping in to say hey, and two resident crocodiles (one of which is named Rebecca). The resort is small, simple, and perfect. Read more

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