Vermont Adventures

 Here are a few pictures that were taken during a quick trip to Vermont this past June. Vermont’s beauty stems from its serenity and simplicity, which I hope comes across in these photos. 

 

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Hubbard Park’s tower in Montpelier

 

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 A quiet trail.

 

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Vermont’s infamous mountains at dusk.

 

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Cruising on the dirt backroads.


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 Looking down on Montpelier.

 

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The view from Cliff St.

 

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Looking out over Lake Champlain.


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Beautiful sail boats.

 

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A bike path runs along the bank of Lake Champlain.

 

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A family farm.

The Places I’ve Known

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Going back, calmer and more cautious than ever before. Previously, I had never been nostalgic, but in my so-called first home nothing was mine. I had nothing to miss, nothing to be nostalgic for. You can imagine that being broke, in a job you cannot stand and living a life you that you don’t necessarily want would make you dream of anywhere else.

A charge I am equally guilty of is not appreciating where I call home. Make no mistake, home doesn’t have to be the town or the house where you were born. Home is where you feel the safest, the most comfortable, and more importantly, it has to be yours. Every now and then being dragged back to my “first home” makes me feel many different emotions. I wish I could say that any of them were happy ones. Memories of happier and simpler times flicker in the back of my mind, but the main slide in the projector is a deep feeling of detachment and separation – from the people, the way of life and most importantly myself. I noticeably can’t act myself here.

Where I call home is a crappy one-bedroom apartment. One of my cabinet doors in the kitchen is currently sitting to the side of the fridge, forgotten in its concealed nook, unintentionally creating an open, almost modern, hippy look of exposed dishes stacked in no specific order. Squirrels and rats control and take ownership of my air vents, and in the entry way there is linoleum tile covered in dirt and leaves leading to a steep flight of stairs equally covered in debris. Black almost charcoal looking streaks cover the walls and posters that I’ve hung with colored duct tape will sporadically fall on your head. Two chairs in the living room, a mattress on the floor in the bedroom, a three mile walk to work every day, and a mile and a half hike to the store complete what I call home.

When I first moved in there was me, a plate, a cup, a fork, and a duffle bag with clothes. Not a lot of clothes either. I sat on the floor my first night alone, tears beginning to run down my face at how stupid I was for making such a rash decision based only on love and no actual cognition. Two days ago I would’ve told you that I don’t care about that crappy one bedroom apartment, but everyday we get wiser, and every day we are able to look back at the mistakes of yesterday. I always thought I never had a home, but I was wrong. My home is that crappy one bedroom apartment. They say ‘home is where the heart is’, to me that means home is where the heart stays.

How Can We Start Over Without Destroying Everything?

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I never thought I would be concerned about finding a job. I especially never thought I would have to go to college. Being born on the poor side of life, going to college seemed almost like an unnecessary luxury, but as we all know it has basically become a modern day requirement.

 

In 2013, nydailynews.com published an article saying that over 40% of college graduates were either unemployed entirely or underemployed in fields unrelated to those that they spent so much time and money to work in. The unfortunate truth is that degrees in programs such as English and history can really only lead to teaching jobs, which is fine and everything, but that means that everyone within your major is vying for the exact same job as you. It’s similar with degrees in anthropology, music, fine arts, and philosophy. Unfortunately, this is causing people to stay in school longer, going to graduate schools and doctoral programs, to increase their shot at landing the job of their dreams. All this really does, however, is put a halt on actual life and existence in the real world.

 

To recap, you have to go to college, but after spending all this time and money, good luck finding a job right off the bat. Then, the answer must be more college, right? Yeah of course… that makes sense. If four years and tens of thousands of dollars didn’t quite cut it, then two to four more years on top of that will definitely do the trick. Oh wait, “won’t that cost even more money?” you ask. Yes it will.

 

Sometime, not too long ago, a switch occurred that caused a bachelor’s degree in just about anything to become basically equivalent to a GED, a master’s degree to be viewed as a high school diploma, and a Ph.D. to be held in the same regard as a measly bachelor’s degree. Now, with your brand new doctorate that took eight plus years to achieve, you expect a fat check every week right? Somewhere in $90,000 a year range, or higher? It makes sense. If you have to be in debt for the first half of your life, you probably expect to make some real money out of it eventually. However, even Ph.D.’s are almost unemployable, unless you are able to find work at a university that can afford to hire you. But, at least they’re better off than their buddy with the bachelor’s degree who probably won’t do any better than a customer service or retail job.

 

Well, I guess it’s a good thing there’s always trade jobs: carpenters, construction workers, mechanics. The only problem with this impression is that these jobs are often unofficially designed for people who didn’t want to, or couldn’t afford to, go to college in the first place. Now they too are finding themselves out of work because people who can’t find jobs with degrees are moving in.

 

If only a reset button could be hit. Or maybe society, the federal government, and educational institutions will one day understand that if you are making college a requirement like high school, then it should be free like high school. Is there any way to recover from this? Is there a way to not have someone with a master’s degree in engineering working as a cashier at the supermarket, and a way to prevent the guy who dedicated his whole life to becoming a great mechanic from losing his job to someone with a degree? I don’t have an answer, do you?

The Bucket List (and why you should have one)

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Life is short, too short. It’s over before most of us ever get a chance to appreciate it. Financially, most of us are held back from many of our dreams. I know I can’t afford to take a sporadic trip to France or a random luxurious vacation to the Maldives, but in a somewhat naive manner it’s what keeps me going. To put it bluntly, if you have nothing to look forward to or accomplish, then you have no reason to continue living.

As a kid, your bucket list probably had ‘rocket to the moon’ and ‘become President of the United States’ somewhere near the top, which I’m sure set you up for mass disappointment. But you’re an adult now, and a slightly more realistic bucket list can help you prioritize what you want to get out of this terrifying and all too brief journey called life.

Crazy? Maybe a little. Will it happen? I hope so. Does it matter? Absolutely.

Here’s my personal list:

1. Find and marry the woman of my dreams (life sucks, it’s better with a partner)

2. Live in an actual city (I’m a small town guy)

3. Travel to Europe (Amsterdam, French Riviera, Italy to name a few)

4. Live in another country

5. Play cards at a casino in Las Vegas (hopefully win too)

6. Settle down with a family (dog, kids, picket fence… the whole nine yards)

7. Go to Bora Bora, Tahiti, Fiji (I’m not picky)

8. Move out west (the east coast in the States is too damn humid)

9. Live within walking distance of the ocean (this might be a little far fetched)

10. Die without any real regrets

 

You can’t press rewind in life, no do over, no nothing. Today will never happen again so make it count.