engaging lately…{10}

In no particular order, I read to learn, escape, and be inspired. (Now that I think of it…that’s why I travel, too!) Which makes the old adage true:

I bookmarked this on audio yesterday:

“Neuroscientists have been trying to pin down for years what it is about travel that alters us. How it effects mental change. Neuropathways become engrained, automatic, if they operate only by habit. They are highly attuned to alterations, to novelty. New sights, sounds, languages, tastes, smells stimulate different synapses in the brain…increasing our neuroplasticity.”

from Maggie O’Farrell’s I Am, I Am, I Am

For starters, I’m paying closer attention to my senses as part of My One Word in March–so my ears perked up at her list. And, I find I’m dreaming of global travel again. Not planning–but it’s good to be dreaming of new sights, sounds, and languages again.

It gives me a…spark…you could say.

Which comes as quite a relief!

Because I’ve not done a great job with spark recently…as has surely been evident here! (Thanks for sticking with me.) But I felt it twice yesterday–once, when I took 15 minutes to update my reading journal, and again when I booked a modest motel room in Holbrook, Arizona.

It doesn’t take much–but what a contrast.

A contrast to the drain I’ve felt lately.

Echoing O’Farrell, our neuropathways become engrained, automatic. I think the emotional drain was becoming…engrained!

Could taking 15 minutes with a book journal, which I haven’t done in weeks, be alteration enough…? Could an old-school motel room on Route 66, instead of a standard hotel off I70, be novel enough…?

By contrast, yes. I think so.

It’s not about size or scope or grandeur. It didn’t take booking a 90-minute massage or a transoceanic flight. Simply engaging in something a little different…outside the lines of where I’ve been coloring…was enough to create spark.

Or stimulate different synapses in my brain.

(Same diff.)

P.S. About that book journal–

I’m reading my way through three authors, print or audio, no particular timeline, no particular order–and for no other reason than they’re fantastic storytellers. Maggie O’Farrell, Liane Moriarty, and an all-time favorite, Elizabeth Strout. (I especially like the Australian accent, so I’m inclined to listen to most of Moriarty.) Yesterday, I spent fikatime updating my lists and found I’m halfway, or so, through each. Since much of the spark comes from browsing…choosing…then checking the library catalog…I’m in no real rush to actually finish.

P.P.S. And those travel dreams–

My brother and I were looking at this Icelander’s tour and dreaming up where to meet. (Sad to see Kyiv, and the rest of Europe, on the archived schedule.) I’m thinking about Puerto Rico; Elsa’s always thinking about France. We’re taking a new-to-us route to San Diego at the end of the month, and we’ll make our last drive from Yarrow Street to the cottage in June.

Adventures are in store, for sure.

Within the scope of what’s available to you these days, where do you find alterations…novelty…spark, however big or small?

5 thoughts on “engaging lately…{10}

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  1. First – I love Maggie O’Farrell and her book, I am I am I am is so very good. I have been thinking more about travel too, no plans yet but dreaming is a good place to begin. And I have been back in my book journal this week, so inspired by the Love Medicine conversation. I also moved the furniture around because that is my favorite way of shaking things up just a bit.


  2. Day dreaming is always good, is it not? As is absolutely delicious travel memories…. (I have brought some amazing travel memories to the forefront of my brain and have loved looking back at my much younger self!)


    1. Novelty is a great way to re-energise and get some spark going. My husband and I loved the bit of route 66 we travelled, and the motels we stayed in. So sad we didn’t get more adventures like that. I am trying new things when I can at the moment, sheer joy of ending lockdown.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kiddo and I have daydreamed about visiting England and Paris; I think we’ve been doing this since right before COVID, when we had just gotten our passports and were pondering how to use them. We’re not ready to make such big trips just yet, but I hope we won’t have to wait too much longer. As for right now, I’ve found that just slightly altering the route I follow on my daily walk is surprisingly delightful. That I can still find a different way to cover the same area even after walking nearly every day for two years is rather astounding!


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