Friday, May 29, 2009


Work has been dull today. I'm not complaining; quiet offices create the perfect environments for a little daydream indulgence.

Why not? I thought. It can't hurt.

I grabbed my Books A Million tote bag, filled with my leather journal, some sunscreen, my bathing suit, a book and two pairs of sunglasses. I sent word to my husband to meet me at the private airfield, where we keep our plane, and he met me in record time. Who wouldn't jump at the chance to escape from metro-Atlanta in late spring? We tossed our bags in the back of the plane, hopped aboard and began our leisurely flight to our vacation home in...

This is the first view of the island.
Seen from my private plane of course (which, may I add, I'm flying)
Approaching our landing pad, ie: the lagoon

This is the back yard.
The hammock is used for emergency naps and creative loafing sessions.

The neighborhood.
Everyone's so friendly here!
And no one minds that the houses are all connected

The neighborhood from up above

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of Bora Bora.
You'll have to excuse me now; my driver is here...

**Ahem: sadly, I did not take these pictures. All photos were found via (search images "Bora Bora"):,,,,, Thanks one and all for posting such glorious photos and fueling my dreams of buying a plane and high-tailing it outta here!!! Whoops! Gotta go..the phone's ringing!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

India: A Photo Essay (Act The First)

At long last, photos from my trip to India! My computer is being a bit flighty, so I'm going to only upload a few pictures at a time. This way, my laptops doesn't implode and you, dear reader, get to indulge me in a little game of "To be continued...". And so, it begins:

I arrived at the Atlanta airport sometime around 3pm.
My flight was not scheduled to leave until 6pm, but the powers that be dictate a smart traveller always arrives at least three hours prior to an international flight.
Smart I may be, but after three hours in those seats,
I've decided that next time, two hours should suffice.
A lone traveller, like myself, killing time on the cell phone.
I actually meant to just photograph the plane framed in the window.
I love the way the sunlight is filtering across the floor.
Just as I snapped the shot, this man walked in front, granting me his silhouette.
Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, France.
The flat, silver disk in the background is the terminal through which I entered
upon my arrival from Atlanta.
It resembles a flying saucer.
Fitting for a journey into the unknown.
My traveling companion:
Blue Bunny No-Pants.
He's posing here beside our Airbus A emergency procedures manual.
Uplifting reading material to say the least.

An amazing aerial shot of Paris.
I was fortunate enough to have window seats going and coming.

The patchwork quilt of the French countryside.

The Alps.

The Caucasus Mountains

A lovely frozen tundra in the middle of the Caucasus Mountains.

This scene took me by surprise.
The top of the photo is the daylight through which I was flying.
The light fades to dark and I was amazed to see an actual line
that separated day from night.
A physical reminder that I was flying to the other side of the world.
(To be continued...)

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Word if You Please

Just an update to friends and any who may be interested: I am planning to post my pictures from India. I sat down, dutifully, last night to do just that. The Internet, however, had other ideas and refused to cooperate. I lost two hours worth of posting effort thanks to a slow connection.


Bear with me a bit longer! Hopefully, by the first of next week, I'll be able to get those up!

Here's to a marvelous weekend!

Journey on,

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Visions of Belonging

(for those of you who follow my other blogs, Learning the Art of Slow & Woolgatherings, I apologize for the redundancy and promise a seperate post in the near future...)

A bit of a vision struck me this morning. No sounding trumpets or angels ascending. Just a quite revelation of truth. We are put here on this earth for a reason, a purpose. I don't believe any one's purpose is the same as the next. We may be involved in similar pursuits, similar things, but what we bring to the table is as varied as our personalities. Little quirks, tiny differences are what make us unique. And through these we bring our own touch of wonder to that which we are called to do.

I've spent the morning checking and updating blogs, as well as creating a new one.And I was at peace. I still am, as I write this post, even though I am at my "day job", sitting in an office, listening not to the birds and the breeze but to the sounds of the goings-on of the internal organs of a computer and software support firm. I am here thanks to a dear friend and the job is filling a need. Is it where I belong? For now, yes, forever, no. But I am able to get glimpses of what is beyond the need.

It is desire that drives us, be it for freedom to pursue our calling or for an afternoon at the beach. We rearrange schedules, make sacrifices, work a little extra here, save an extra dollar there until the day arrives when we can at last sigh and say, "This is it! I've made it."

How far off is that day for me? I shrug. I honestly don't know. But I feel I've made headway, feel I've finally crossed a necessary threshold. The next step towards the silver lining. Until I can at last wake up and say, "I am in control of my destiny" in the way only the self-employed can, I will have these dreams, these moments of wondering when, when, when? Yet I will continue on, plugging away in the moments I have, to make those dreams a reality, and, hopefully, speed up that schedule just a bit.

  • ~ J. Chandler

Monday, May 11, 2009

Through New Eyes

It's always amazed me how even a simple summer vacation romp to the beach can change one's perspective on the entire universe. Imagine leaving your comfortable country and traveling half way around the world and spending two weeks in a culture wholly and completely different from everything you've ever known. Think that would change how you view things? You bet 'cha.

My plane landed Friday afternoon around 1pm in Atlanta, GA. Funny, I don't remember Georgia ever being so green! I was dazzled by the colors: green, pink, white, blue, yellow. Where did they come from? Had they always been there? How had I failed to see them? And if they had always been there, what changed so that I was now so aware of them I had to wear sunglasses? Perhaps it was all that time surrounded by the browns and tans of India.

Don't get me wrong! India is vibrant. Her people are colorful, their clothes are an explosion, a riot of pattern and hues; a feast for the eyes. India is a feast for the senses, all of them, even that enigmatic sixth sense many speak of but can never fully explain. But there is a layer of sepia that lays over all this feasting, a hunger than penetrates everything, everyone, even if you're fully fed and well watered.

I guess I didn't notice it while I was there. I was too busy taking it all in. I didn't even write as I'd planned. I didn't want to miss a thing by sticking my nose in a notebook or my eyes behind a lens. After the initial jet lag has worn off, however, I see that for all their smiles, and hello auntie's, India is hungry. Hungry for what? That may take a few more days to chew on before I can properly put a voice to the observation.

I saw effluents driving BMW's. I saw beggars holding naked babies. I saw children, half clothed, beaming with white smiles, running up to me just to shake my hand. And I saw the sad, tired eyes of a women carrying a large load of bricks, balanced precariously atop her head. I spent the majority of my time with a gaggle of orphans who have no idea they are lacking anything at all! They are happy, they are whiny, they are playful. They are like any other 3 or 4 year old you may meet anywhere in the world. And of all the things I saw, of all the impressions I brought back, they branded me the deepest. We are all the same, deep down, beneath the layers of color and culture. Take a 3 year old from India and put her in a room with a 3 year old from America and I guarantee they would play happily for hours without concern of their differences. As I sat on the marble floors of their room, watching them run around, giggling, I realized that all anyone needs is a place to belong. Be it a penthouse apartment, a ranch house in the suburbs, or a three room orphanage in a forgotten part of India.

It matters not where we go. What matters is what impressions we return with. If an adventure can not alter your perspective, can not change your reality, can not open your eyes to a deeper more vibrant current, one that has been flowing all around you all along, then our travels were in vain. We travel not to acquire stamps on a flimsy passport; we travel to experience, to open our eyes, to broaden our horizons. We travel to acquire stories. And we travel, ultimately, to return home a new person. To pepper our day to day life with the astonishment that there is a whole world out there beyond our comfort zone. If we travel with these things in mind, we will grow large enough, I believe, in order to embrace the whole world and hopefully, change the lives of those around us.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monkeys Riding Rickshaws

And no, I didn't just type that to get you to do a double take and read this post, though that would have been a good idea. I was riding to the orphanage this morning and sure enough, I saw a rickshaw, riding the opposite direction, with two monkeys hanging off it. I'm guessing they belonged to the guy smiling at them in the back seat, but I could be wrong. Maybe he just liked monkeys? Maybe he was in shock that two monkeys were muscling in on the back seat of the over-crowded rickshaw?

India is full of strange sights, at least strange in my American eyes. Cows are everywhere, and they are not behind nice little fences in lush green pastures. They lumber along beside the cars and motorcycles, in between the houses. They munch on scraps and garbage, or just sit and watch the world go by. The monkeys don't just hitch rides on rickshaws. They climb around on walls, wander on iron railing, and mingle with the hoards of people who meander on the sidewalks. They look innocent enough, but there's something about monkeys that leave me feeling a bit creeped out. Don't know why; I guess it's just that monkeys always look like they know things. That's always disconcerting in an animal.

Coolest animal I've seen yet has been a camel. I've only seen him twice (and I say him because I'm convinced he's the same one because both times I saw him on the same road pulling a cart). I've even named him. Pete. Pete the camel. I sure hope I see him again before I leave so I can get a picture of him. I had no idea camels were so tall!

There are also water buffaloes here. Not that I've actually seen one, except on my plate. Yes, I have eaten water buffalo! It's really good. It tastes a lot like beef, but is a bit gamy and kind of chewy, but it's really good. Especially when it's used to make beef pickle. Just another Indian delicacy.

Speaking of Indian delicacies, ever tried curd? Imagine watery rice with soured milk chunks floating around with some onions and tomato chunks. They say it helps settle their stomachs. If that is true, I'm most definitely NOT Indian. Not that the really pale skin and propensity to sunburn didn't give that away. I was doing so good with adjusting to Indian food, until I was hit with the curd. Yikes. It beat me and it beat me hard. And I don't feel bad about it. Not. One. Bit.

I have learned something about food on this trip, though. It's one thing to enjoy ethnic foods in the comfort of your own home, where it's safe and you're eating it only because you've made a choice to. Put yourself in the actual culture, without a choice of food, and it takes on a whole new meaning. Suddenly you find yourself surrounded by different smells and tastes. You're taste buds are opened to a plethora of sights and sounds that they would never have experienced should you choose to forever remain in your living room eating take out. Sure, you may order from a very authentic Chinese restaurant down the street, but at least once in your life, step out of your comfort zone and try out life on the other side of the chopsticks. Or in my case, the fingers. There's no silverware in India. Unless your western. Then they produce silverware and strange, crinkly napkins out of thin air. Besides, unless you live on the streets in Delhi (or belong to a very strange circus family), you'll never see monkeys riding a rickshaw in your living room.