"I can only say why I wanted to make the movie: to convey what I love about Tokyo and visiting the city. It's about moments in life that are great but don't last. They don't go on, but you always have the memory and they have an effect on you. That's what I was thinking about."
- Sofia Coppola, director of Lost In Translation
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The original purpose of this website was to serve as an archive of all the e-mails I wrote and photos I took during my travels around Europe. But now that I've put the vast jigsaw together, the end result has become far more than just a series of electronic postcards. It's a study of life itself; like Sophie Coppola's masterpiece Lost In Translation, this website provides a poignant showcase of life amidst a foreign culture, and the beauty and magic that can blossom when new people come into your life and become a part of the transformative experience. Beyond simply travelling, getting drunk and marvelling at grand old buildings, my narratives are an attempt to convey that heartfelt desire so eloquently expressed by the American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson:
"I wish that life should not be cheap, but sacred,
I wish the days to be as centuries, loaded, fragrant."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Bob Harris and Charlotte in Lost In Translation.
"Their story, yours and mine - it's what we all carry with us on this trip we take, and we owe it to each other to respect our stories and learn from them."
- William Carlos Williams
"Stripped of your ordinary surroundings, your friends, your daily routines, your refrigerator full of food, your closet full of clothes - with all this taken away, you are forced into direct experience. Such direct experience inevitably makes you aware of who it is that is having the experience. That's not always comfortable, but it is always invigorating."
- Michael Crichton
What started off as mere musing at a bar turned into the most challenging, incredible and, yes, definitely the most invigorating experience of my life. It's difficult to summarize something that physically, mentally and emotionally encompassed so much, but there's no doubt that during those ten weeks in central Europe, me and Paul really LIVED. Speaking for myself, the "direct experience" it provided not only refined me as a person, but reassured me that although life isn't predestined to be so, it certainly CAN be beautiful.... even when you least expect it.
"There are years that ask questions and years that answer."
- Zora Neale Hurston
Although two obviously distinct trips, there's no doubt that the second European Adventure was a child of the first. More than anything, it was an attempt to answer the pressing questions that arose during the first trip, such as Do I belong in Europe? Is the grass there really greener there, regardless of season, region or company? What would happen if I saw Elka again? And could this faraway continent be the backdrop for future years of my life?
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
- Mark Twain
In the end, it was this sentiment that gave to rise to my second European Adventure: a desire to resolve the unresolved threads of the first one, and not waste an opportunity to make a dream - my "European Dream", no less - come true. And so it was that five months later, I sailed away from the safe harbor once more, and found myself in strange and remote places that I never thought I'd see - and had an experience I'll never forget.
Photo gallery of some of the people mentioned.
Detailing all the places I visited but didn't get to take my own photos of.
Evocative and meaningful quotes about travelling.