The Ground Beneath My Feet

When I walk around town, I make myself look up so I can admire roof lines and old architecture. But sometimes I need to better appreciate my view looking down.

Standing in a lobby of a an Art Deco building.
Standing in a lobby of an Art Deco building.
Walking down some marble stairs.
Walking down some marble stairs.
I love the vintage-style tiles in my bathrooms.
Vintage-style tiles in my bathroom while I stand at the sink.
Several months old, I still think the concrete is beautiful.
Standing on my driveway early in the morning.
My favorite part of working in a city is walking around over my lunch breaks.
Walking around in downtown Cincinnati over lunch.
We've recently refinished the hardwood floors in my house so walking barefoot is the new norm.
Walking barefoot through my home.
Standing in a driveway in Detroit, Michigan, visiting my Great Aunt Ceil.
In Detroit, Michigan, visiting my Great Aunt Ceil.
I walk two adorable dogs - practical shoes only so I can keep up with a Boxer and a German Shepherd.
Walking Ellie, a German Shepherd, and Lennox, a Boxer.

Post inspiration here.

Mother Nature At Her Best in Nepal: The Himalayas, Waterfalls and Rivers, Rhinoceroses, Monkeys and Roosters

I returned from a trip to Nepal last month and when I went back to work I had people asking me, “What was your favorite part?” There are some vacations where this is so easy to answer. With Nepal, it was a sort of visual all-you-can-eat buffet of Mother Nature’s greatest work and it’s been hard for me to point to just one thing and say, “That! That was the best!” There are certainly parts I enjoyed more than others, but when I try to articulate them, they sound so lame. So my answer is: Everything I got to see in Nepal. That was my favorite.Over the course of twelve days in Nepal, we visited six different cities. Somehow, we managed to have a good mix of urban and nature, with a little bit of small-town scattered throughout. We saw the highest mountain in the world, the first national park in Nepal, the birthplace of Buddha with structures dating back to 623 BC and lots and lots of animals, which I always love. We were able to wander through small towns, survive the busy streets of Kathmandu and challenge my asthma diagnosis with more altitude changes than I ever expected. (Those portions of the trip were heavily sponsored by Prednisone.)

Baby Monkey Near the Pashupatinath Temple
We spotted this baby monkey near the Pashupatinath Temple. There’s a whole series of photos and his facial expressions are great.
Pink Powder Puff Tree Flower at the Green Park Chitwan.
There was a Pink Powder Puff Tree growing on the grounds of our hotel in Chitwan. The flowers are gorgeous.
In Chitwan at some animal preserve, I got to pet a baby rhinoceros!
In Chitwan at an animal preserve, I got to pet a baby rhinoceros! When you would pet him, he’d let out this deep sigh and his ears would flick back and forth, which is why they’re blurry in the photo.
River in Nepal.
Just your standard roadside beauty in Nepal!
View From the World Peace Pagoda in Pokhara.
This was the view out the front door at the World Peace Pagoda in Pokhara.
Hang Gliders in Pokhara.
These crazy people jump off the Himalayas to go hang gliding!
Phewa Lake in Pokhara.
Once it stopped raining and we finally got to see it, Phewa Lake in Pokhara was stunning.
Rooster at Swayambhunath, also known as the Monkey Temple.
I like farm animals as much as exotic and this rooster was ridiculous, strutting around Swayambhunath, also known as the Monkey Temple.
This post originally appeared on Kate’s Point of View. © Kate. All rights reserved.

A Lesson In Stepping Out

While we were in Nepal, Wonder Boy, Frankenstein, Outside and I all took a chartered plane ride past Mount Everest. We had figured that this trip would be the closest we would ever get to the Himalayas and that none of use was likely to ever hike to Mount Everest. But a plane ride? Well within all of our skill sets.We woke up early so we could be flying at first light. I had seen photos from a friend’s trip and she had gone on a similar flight. Based on her photos, I was excited for the photography opportunities. I had my camera ready to go!

When we got on the plane, I was disappointed to see that my window’s view was partially blocked by the plane’s wing. But with careful careening of my neck, I could still get a wing-free picture. In between snapping shots, I tried to take in the view. To absorb everything I was seeing. But just like the window was blocked, my mental state was partially blocked by my singular focus on getting some pictures.

I’ve been going through my pictures from the trip and have learned a valuable lesson. While I was busy trying to take good photographs, I should have been more focused on the great view. Because you know what? My raw photos aren’t good. They are streaked and blurred by whatever was on my plane window. The plane’s wing makes many appearances.

Heavily edited in Photoshop, I have some that look okay. But I’m not sure any of my handful of photos match in beauty, even close, what I know I saw.

A view of the Himalayas, as seen from a flight by Mount Everest.

That leads me wondering if I got my money’s worth. Or at least everything I could have from the experience. I’m not sure. If I didn’t, though, it’s my fault. The flight wasn’t about what I could see through my viewfinder. It was what I could take in and embrace. That flight was about seeing individual homes in remote areas of the Himalayas. It was about getting as close to Mount Everest as I’ll ever be. It was about being in awe, and a little incredulous, of anyone willing to climb those mountaintops. It was about seeing Mother Nature in one of her finest acts.

That flight was about a singular experience. I regret that I wasn’t able to step out from behind my camera for a while longer and enjoy it more.

That’s a relatively inexpensive lesson for me to learn, in the grand scheme of things. The same thing applies to me hiding behind my phone screen being “social” or sitting behind a computer screen “interacting” with people. Not everything has to be captured and documented. Not everything needs proof. The experience might be so much better than any of that and all the proof I need is stored in my head.

This post originally appeared on Kate’s Point of View. © Kate. All rights reserved.