Travel Theme: Routine

My January is half melancholy, half relief. I slip back into well-worn patterns, and find comfort in the familiar. There is beauty there, and surprises too. Ailsa’s Travel Theme, Routine, made me think of these — glimpses of other people’s ordinary moments.

1. Early commuters streaming to work in São Paulo. An hour earlier, I ambled through the sleeping city to São Bento, a 17th-century Benedictine monastery and church. There, swathed in candlelight and shadows, monks greet the day with Gregorian chants, a cherished ritual for many locals. When I came out, this view greeted me. I loved that morning, one of my São Paulo favorites

Going to work in Sao Paulo, Brazil

2.  Another morning, an ocean away: The ordered chaos of the Tuna Auction, its secret language perfected over twenty generations, the grand spectacle of Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market. This was exhilarating to watch.

Chaos at Tsukiji Fish Market Tuna Auction, Tokyo

3. Closer to home, some time travel: A woman knitting at the soldiers’ camp during the Gettysburg 150th Anniversary Civil War Battle Reenactment. That sweltering July afternoon was impressive. The showing of reenactors and horses was larger than ever, and it only underlined just how massive and brutal the actual event was. It made me look at Gettysburg anew.

Female reenactor knitting, Reenactor encampment, 150th Anniversary Gettysburg Battle Reenactment

4. More housekeeping, and closer to home still: A Carolina wren is building her nest in President Monroe’s ornate tomb, known as “The Birdcage” among Richmondians.  Hollywood Cemetery is Richmond’s celebrity resting place. It was a highlight of my Richmond visit, a verdant, meditative stroll through the city’s history.

Wren building home in Richmond

5. And, finally, as the day draws to an end, I join San Juan cats for their evening activity — lounging on the rocks, warmed by the sun. As the City Wall darkens, pelicans plunge into the Bay. Together, ingredients for a perfect sunset.

Cats in Old San Juan, Paseo del Morro, Puerto Rico

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