It’s a great way to start thinking each day, and fits with today’s challenge part of the Indie Travel Challenge theme of “Seeking Pleasure in the Simple Moments and Details“, which asked us to think of something that would make us happy, and then go do it.
After I woke up this morning, (and had coffee of course, which always makes me happy), I asked myself,
“What would make me happy today?”
Sitting in the park on the corner and writing. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for the last week, so that’s where I am right now.
A few houses down from my current apartment is a small park which shall remain nameless. It’s in a safe area, with few tourists, and I want to keep it to myself at least for a little while longer.
This particular morning, a flock of about 100 pigeons have claimed stake on the park’s statue, like little gang bangers hanging on a corner, staring people down, and meandering around aimlessly like they own the place. In the park are a few solitary people reading their phones or just watching the day. There’s a group of young men here to let their dogs play and a few older guys deep in conversations I can’t understand.
A father helps his 2 year old son ride a large plastic, and what i’m assuming is his first, tricycle. The father smiles at me as I get caught smirking at the son’s obvious confusion to the function of the pedals. (Every time the son’s feet move the pedals, his eyes widen, and he quickly throws his feet to the ground, and begins Fred Flinstoning the trike forward. He’ll get it eventually).
A big, freshly groomed, golden, floppy haired dog is having great fun not so much chasing, as strutting through the pigeons, tormenting them for his own amusement. Some unknown gaggle of creature screech from the palms above me – not sure if they are yelling at each other, or at me.
Everyone in the park just does their own thing, enjoying the cool, overcast morning, while I, in true stalker fashion, leers in the corners watching and writing things down. But no one minds. And no ones pays any attention to the obvious foreigner in the park. There are so few in this area, most locals don’t look at me as a tourist or treat me as such. I also find people here are way more patient with my Spanish and help correct it than in the high-tourist areas. But I digress.
In honesty, there is nothing exciting happening this morning in the park. No pop-up bouncy castles and horse rides like on weekends. No creepy carnival sounding marching bands practicing like on weeknights. No farmer’s markets, church bells, or a half-drunk, old women swinging her shawl as she dances down the middle of the road outside the park.
But I’m happy here. I’m outside, and the birds and dogs amuse me. These morbidly obese pigeons coo and waddle up to me inspecting to see if i have food. I’m surprised they can hop up stairs, even less get airborne, as they are almost as wide as they are tall.
And as much as my original plan was to just sit and write, I feel an increasing pull to go photo the pigeons. Because today is all about what makes me happy, and annoying menacing looking birds by throwing my camera phone in their face would make me ecstatic this morning.
So I’m off.
Travel isn’t always about the biggest adventure, or making mundane mornings, like this one, sound like the climax of a suspense thriller. Some of the best moments in travel happen when you stop, sit back, and learn to appreciate the simple and small details.
Details like, if you’re going to hang around a bunch of pigeons, you will, inevitably, get pooped on.
About Dani Blanchette
I am a freelance travel and music photographer and creator of GoingNomadic.com.
I love music, food, and exploring cities without guidebooks. I’ve flown a helicopter, hitchhiked down the east coast USA, and once snuck into the back of a zoo (in Serbia) and pet a lion.
I am always up for an adventure, and sometimes I videotape them.