Auckland, New Zealand

December 25, 2016

Flashbacks: Paris and Japan

As a lot of the world celebrates various incarnations of Christmas, I thought I'd take a minute and just say thanks.

Thanks for coming along on these adventures, and joining me every Sunday for another trip around this ball we share in space. Wherever you are, I hope your day is filled with joy, and the people you love.

For our last flashbacks of 2016, I've got letters from what are honestly, probably my two favorite homes of the year: Paris, and Japan. Enjoy. :)

From Paris: My time in Paris was a mix of falling in love with the city all over again, absorbing the terrorist attacks, and jumping into Ink and Feet full time. Here are my favorites:

Bad Surprises and Good Opportunities - Just after I arrived in Paris, the company I worked for suddenly closed up shop, and I made a decision - make a big leap. Nice, France, and a Hand Up - On the evening of France's independence day celebrations, terror attacks hit Nice. This is a view from Paris, the next day. Oh, those French Vacations - France is famous for its vacations, breaks, and time off. But it turns out they're with good reason. A Last Stretch of Summer - Summer pulling to a close in Paris, and a moment of perspective on who and what we are. What I Learned From a Straight Razor Shave - An unexpected lesson from a French straight razor shave.

From Japan: Japan is a country I've wanted to live in since I was a kid, and it didn't disappoint. There's a stillness to Japan, a sense of clarity that I find unmatched. Here's my favorites from Kyoto.

What I Found in a 700-Year-Old Zen Garden - Sitting in Tenryƫ-ji Temple, I found a powerful answer to how it is you keep a garden unchanged for 700 years. The Extraordinary - A glimpse into my favorite neighborhood restaurant, and the extraordinary that's hiding in the details around us. A 1,300 Year-Old Poetry Slam - On Culture Day in Japan, I biked across town to a Kyokusui-no-Utage event. It turns out to be a millennium-old poetry slam. Oof, What a Week. - Finishing my book, the US elections, and a tool I lean on to balance it all out - mindfulness. The Beauty of Things that Don't Last - On a perfect note to finish, the wonderful concept of monoaware - the beauty of things that don't last.

Next week, we'll be back to our regularly scheduled letters. I hope you've enjoyed looking back over the year as much as I have. :)

Be well,

-Steven

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