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  • Kimberly Hula 10:25 am on February 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: customs, depression, travel,   

    If you dissect a bird / to diagram the tongue, / you’ll cut the chord / articulating song 

    “…people with nothing to declare carry the most.”
    ― Jonathan Safran FoerExtremely Loud and Incredibly Close


    Here's looking at you

    Here’s looking at you

    I enjoy going through customs.  I like the confirmation.  A declaration of adventure.  Too often travel ends in a whisper.  I spend hours and days planning a trip.  Dreaming up scenarios: a blue bird London sky; a pop-up Parisian dinner party; the glory of a Tanzanian mountain descent.  I dream these up more than I take them on, but the fantasy satiates.  I  visualize a passport thick as a Thanksgiving belly and friends and new family on every corner of the globe.

    So I always welcome the customs line.  I waltz through there like the queen of all things because I am, if only for a minute, the world’s best traveler.  I am an ambassador of my own memory and I relish in the opportunity to confirm that I put into practice at least one fantasy.

    But it is never as expected.  My travel is calculated.  I buy Fodder’s and Let’s Go’s in the hopes of staying safe.  I go off the beaten path in as much as my mass-produced guide has instructed me to go rogue.  I stay in clean hotels, and fare well with my own language.  This is the stuff my family lives for.  A Disney sanctuary of pre-fab comfort and top-grade assurance.  It has effect.  It gets me to go, go, go when I live to keep moving.  This is good/great/ best less the end result; a mere crawl to the finish line – a hoarse whisper of thanks to whatever locale welcomed me that trip.

    I don’t want to whisper.  I want to yell from that Tanzanian mountain top.  I want to crawl into a yurt without shower and dance in the moonlight and fight for my right to speak at a dinner party.  I suppose it’s the experience I’m after.  The fall without net sensation of really living that keeps me on Expedia and believing, imploring, unabashedly reaching for a customs line that will stamp my passport ‘life well lived’.

    What are we without dreams?  But even more, who are we to scrutinize our best efforts to reach them?  Day in and day out I’m hard on myself.  I’m a lame traveler.  A failed adventurer.  I’m not working the job I want; not making the money I thought.  I’m not reading nor writing nor living.  Not, no, nor.  I allow these as refrains in my daily shower song.  But I don’t want a negative to sing to me.  I just want to dream without consequence.

    That’s what I carry to customs.  The realization of dreams deferred.  The overweight parcels of expectation and regret.  But, if anything, I’m in line, which has to say something.

  • Kimberly Hula 1:10 pm on October 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: beginning writer, bespoke stories, determination, tailor made fiction, writing professionally   

    It’s your attention to yourself that is so stultifying 

    “Do the things that interest you and do them with all your heart. Don’t be concerned about whether people are watching you or criticizing you. The chances are that they aren’t paying any attention to you. It’s your attention to yourself that is so stultifying. But you have to disregard yourself as completely as possible. If you fail the first time then you’ll just have to try harder the second time. After all, there’s no real reason why you should fail. Just stop thinking about yourself.” 

    ― Eleanor RooseveltYou Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life

    I once wrote that I couldn’t small talk my way out of a doll house, and the sentiment sticks.  I’m so terrified of judgement – of saying, doing something that might inspire ire, or prompt people to think of me as a failure, that I don’t do anything at all.  I don’t finish my novels because I’ve convinced myself they aren’t worthy of an end.  I especially don’t share my words for fear that the reader may raise a brow and say, aloud, ‘You’ve spent all this time on what?’

    This is silly.  I should write for the love of writing.  I should share in reverence a craft I’ve come to love.  So I’ll try to do that now.  Scary as it is, I hereby open up shop for bespoke, tailor made stories.  I’ll write with the intention to share.  I’m setting up my own business so I may put myself out there.  Get better by practice.  Learn to love my readership.  And, ultimately, to keep doing that thing I love most.  

    Here goes trying, at least:

    • Tina Heiberg 10:39 am on October 7, 2013 Permalink

      You are so inspiring!! Love this idea!!

    • Kimberly Hula 11:15 pm on October 7, 2013 Permalink

      Thanks Tina! Your support means so much!

    • eatveggiesdrinkwine 6:06 pm on October 10, 2013 Permalink

      What an intriguing and courageous idea, Kimberly — I love it! Looking forward to hearing more about the experience.

    • Kimberly Hula 10:29 pm on October 10, 2013 Permalink

      Many thanks!! I’m excited to keep at it!

  • Kimberly Hula 7:10 pm on September 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: japan; tokyo; ramen; salary men; getting lost; getting found   

    This is a place where I don’t feel alone, this is a place where I feel at home 

    japan_tokyo_shimbashi-station_food-stalls_43725 a.m. I found myself unable to sleep in a business hotel of the Minami-Ku district of Toyko, so I thought to walk.

    Of course referring to it this way is misleading. The set up: the suggestion that I travel professionally, and could call out districts in Tokyo by name is absurd. I rely wholely on my husband, who just yesterday answered a friend’s question by calling on our hotel by name and location. He said this in Japanese, and then translated for me, because he is a Japanese man.

    But that doesn’t make this locale any more unknown, and I’m pretty proud of myself for waking too early and taking to the streets. In jeans and an unadorned face I left a silent lobby – taking pains (and because I was hungry, pangs!) to follow the path of my husband from when we first arrived. I took escalators down into the subways underbelly, using as lifelines the still closed shops I saw the day prior. Shops as small as a bathroom – shops with logos in minimalist paisley fonts, and absolute French names, “Le Petite Monseur”, “Rue d’ Arc”, that sat sandwiched between ticket vending machines and early to open- late to close ramen shops. They’d look like an afterthought if not for the slight slice of light breaking through the closed curtain fitted against the door frame. To look in was a show in itself, a key hole diharama of perfectly placed pencil holders and lace outfitted hand bags. The pretty positioning of merchandise – the unabashed need to be seen as something so French – had all the hallmarks of forethought. Somehow this shop, in many different iterations – of different names and with varying doorways – seemed to be everywhere.

    You can get lost in this dawnbreak window shopping. And I did, so much so that when I turned around the subway grew. What was two men in short sleeve white oxford shirts, racing escalators when I first left had grown into a militia of salary men and women! The steady stream of determined faces blanked past me at dizzying speed. With few exceptions I saw man after man after woman, stony faced, moving mechanically toward some turnstile – some running, others progressing rank-in-file. Because I’d returned to trace my steps I was one of very few walking opposite this mass. (More …)

    • eatveggiesdrinkwine 1:40 pm on September 2, 2013 Permalink

      So happy to read of your adventures again, Kimberly! You’re my hero for taking to the streets instead of staying in bed … very impressive. Can’t wait to read more.

    • Anonymous 6:12 pm on September 8, 2013 Permalink

      Sooo…did you make it back!? Kudos to you for venturing out of your comfort zone!! Don’t be so hard on yourself ;)

    • Kimberly Hula 3:29 am on September 11, 2013 Permalink

      I sure did! Thanks for the kind words. I have SO much more to report soon!

    • Chaas 10:50 pm on August 27, 2014 Permalink

      It’s always a relief when someone with obvious expeitrse answers. Thanks!

  • Kimberly Hula 9:24 am on August 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: jelly beans, life worth living, what to do with the time we have, wisdom comes suddenly   

    I regret that it takes a life to learn how to live 

    Because I’m wild for literary quotes this fits:

    “I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”
    ―     Anaïs Nin

    And also, this video.

    The Days of Our Lives

    Silly, perhaps for inspiration to come by way of Jelly Bean(s), but if life has taught me anything it’s that wisdom comes suddenly.  And to always be alert.


  • Kimberly Hula 9:49 pm on August 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    What you give to the world is what… 

    What you give to the world is what it keeps of you.

    -Noah and the Whale

  • Kimberly Hula 9:38 pm on August 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , first time, return to adventure, sailing   

    Red Sky At Morning 

    Except, it was a breezeless day.  “Light” was how the MIT sailing pavilion volunteers referred to it.  They and Brad all but assured me that the boat would do little more than slightly turn.

    Considering the list sequence of activities accomplished in 2010 it’s surprising that I’d approach sailing with such resistance.  But resist I did, from as early as 8 a.m., when I picked up Brad and found myself in a foul mood – primed for drivers seat expletives and Starbucks bemoanings.

    I said that it was a bad morning and that I was irritable but someone Brad was able to coax the true concern out of me.  I was scared of sailing.

    But how?  Why?  Sailing seems so simple – so run with the wind free that it hardly bears fear.  But that same reticence that accompanied sky diving, trapeze swinging, horseback riding, crept in.  I was worried I would capsize.  Or, worse yet, that I might fail to understand the fundamentals of boat manuevering and make a fool of myself – sitting static in water with a boon of proper sailors with bull horns announcing my defeat.

    Brad said that this was crazy.  That is was a freakishly light day and that capsizing was all but impossible, given the weather conditions.  He calmed me some.

    We started the class with little instruction and were asked to set up our boat.  Thankfully Brad’s a skilled sailor and he talked me through the stunsail knot – the bow line set up – the rigging and checking.  With his expertise I felt like a real deal.  I stood cooly by my boat imploring the class instructor to let me take the wind.  I thought it could really be as simple as moving forward.

    Not so fast, as we were subject to some warnings and ‘safety’ instructions.  We were then led outside, subject to a minimalist demo and told to queue up to sail.

    At this point I thought (to myself) ‘ I have no idea what I’m doing but I’ll try ‘ .  Then some anxious volunteer with no capacity to explain himself asked me to demonstrate tacking.

    Kim_sailI tried.  He got irritated and corrected me.  His corrections were nothing but a jumble and I tried again.  His irritation doubled and he spouted some quick, incoherent directives that I couldn’t understand.  I tried again only to meet the same fate.  Just as he was about to go down the same rabbit hole I gave up and switched seats with Brad.  I said I wouldn’t skipper – that I felt stupid.  Brad, trying to make the best of the situation took the helm (?) and we pushed off to sea.

    Well to the Charles River.  Brad demonstrated turns and manuevers.  It was fun having him in control.  We sailed like we’d been doing it all our lives and I really felt one with the water.  When we again docked it was my turn to skipper the vessel.  I felt good about this go.  I took the tiller and steered us in the direction of a bright orange buoy.  I turned and switched seats as instructed, but no sooner than I did that did the wind carry and the boat feel like it would soon capsize.  The rush of wind – the power of a hand polished vessel fighting resistance – took hold and I panicked.  I dropped the tiller.  I dropped the sail.  I started to scream, “Brad fix it!  I can’t do this!” only to have Brad completely assume control.

    This is embarrassing – to type and to relive.  We were in no imminent danger.  The worst thing that could come of that situation would have been us veering off course, but it felt like a personal failure.  I sucked at sailing, and because of this, I had NO INTEREST in follow up laps.

    We were given opportunity to skipper again and again but each time I declined.  And with each decline some volunteer, or the instructor, or the instructor’s assistant would ask why.  The incoherent man mentioned earlier bothered me further but asking me to again assess my failures.  It seemed so simple!  Everyone seemed to be getting it!  I can not say what was wrong with me except that all the attention and all the misadventures left me little choice but to cry.

    It was a sunny day and I wore sunglasses so few knew, but still the association stung.  I felt like I’d ruined sailing.  Everything that seemed so free and wild and exciting about it was now permanently imprinted in my mind as a chaotic springboard to crying.  I was relieved when we were called in for further class work.

    Class made me more anxious.  The instructor, trying to explain the mechanics of sailing, only succeeded in demonstrating all that could go wrong.  We could capsize.  We could hit our head on the boon.  All the arrows and angles he drew on the board meant nothing to me, less a promise of my inability to comprehend.  I could only focus on my failure.  I knew I didn’t want to take the boat out again. (More …)

  • Kimberly Hula 2:47 pm on August 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: accomplishments, , bucket list,   

    Autumn blew the quilt right off the perfect bed she made 

    “To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” (From an introductory speech at a session of the Académie Française, December 24, 1896)” ― Anatole France, Works of Anatole France

    Time has past but this site is just as welcoming as when I left it last. In all honesty, it’s hard to come back here. To be reminded of the risks and recklessness that permanently imprint all of 2010 in my memory. Because I want that again. I want to feel alive and adventure-full and interesting and capable. I want to run screaming from my desk job and pick up an axe and work as a lumberjack. Or swim with the dolphins in some exotic locale. I never did milk that spider or join in on a wine crush. So it’s painful, being reminded of what was – seeing that 2010 was too many years ago and that the momentum died.

    Well it’s all great and good to get nostalgic, but I’m going to spare you further complaints. This stems – the site visit, the thinking, the brooding – from a deep seeded restlessness. My husband has been away on business in a foreign locale. He’s waist high in work but I can’t help but envy the adventure potential. He’s living abroad! He can try new foods and see the world from new angles! And even while he’s pulling all nighters and begging, imploring really, to come home, I want only to join him and soak up some other sun. That helps with sleeping – dreaming of another life, thinking of all that could be if I would just get up and be it – but in the end I’m awake more than I am asleep and if I want to make beautiful my everyday I should do just that.

    First, the list. I’ve done this before and I’ve no shame in constantly amending and revising and striking through all the things I’d one day like to do. I don’t think bucket lists are for the birds. Or, if they are, I think they are for the colourful quirky toucans, or the high soaring hawks. They are for the birds that make a mark in the animal kingdom and I’d love nothing more than to have their wingspan. So I put together a bucket list – initially of things I once wanted – a carbon copy of lists of old. This got tedious because I kept striking through so much of the list sequence. I’d see that I wanted to trapeze swing, only to cross it off the list because I’d been there, done that. Well that gave me pause. And pride. I’d done so much! For the life that I was leading in comparison to the life I now live I’ve collected experiences and anecdotes and smiles and sobs at an inordinate pace.

    So I owe it to my collective past, to the friends and blog community who cheered me on to not only list what can be, but what was. As intimated by my favourite movie in my favourite way, ” the book says we may be through with the past, but the past ain’t through with us” and how fortunate for me! If the past is indicative of what the future holds, I best insure myself, because it promises to be a wild ride. (More …)

    • Jody 8:49 pm on August 2, 2013 Permalink

      Thank-you for this update. You’ve inspired me too. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the dailyness of life. We can have adventures by making them a priority and making it happen! Thanks!

  • barrettje 12:34 pm on January 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Fast, easy, fun – 13.1 

    My adventure this week was a very cold, very challenging half marathon. I’ve run other halfs before, but never when the starting temps were below freezing and when I was recovering from a 12-week bout with the Whooping Cough.

    The original idea was to run a half in my town. I’m not much of a runner in the everyday sense of the word. The road doesn’t call to me. I never feel the desire to lace up my shoes and go for a run. Honestly, I only took up running as part of my weight loss journey. But I do love organized runs. I like being in the group at the starting corrals as everyone stretches, sets their watches, etc. I love the sound of my feet and hundreds (or even thousands) of others hitting the pavement. I love to read people’s t-shirts and to see crowds cheering on the runners. Mostly though, I love the finisher’s medal. Something tangible that says I just ran 13.1 miles.

    So this last weekend I ran the Austin 3M Half Marathon. It was a cold start – 26 degrees with the wind chill. My fingers and nose may never forgive me for the pain of that first mile as my body heated up from the workout.

    Just over 6,000 other people had the same idea I did. Once I got running though, I felt far worse for the spectators. They had to be freezing. At least I had my body heat to keep me warm.

    I was very out of shape but I finished in a decent time and I felt good about getting my year off to a healthy start.

    But mostly, I just loved getting my medal

    I can add it to the others I’ve already collected and those still to come as a reminder that every step is a step toward my health and happiness.

    • Amy 7:01 am on March 22, 2013 Permalink

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  • barrettje 10:34 am on January 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Adventure 2: Ice skating 

    I am accident prone. And not just a little. I am constantly covered in scrapes, cuts and bruises. As such, I tend to avoid those sports (anything but running really) that might lead to some new injury. Consequently, I’ve always shied away from ice skating but in honor the new year, and new adventures, I decided to give it a try.

    My local Whole Foods has an ice skating rink on the roof every winter:

    I arrived just as one session was ending and the ice was being prepped for the new group:

    I donned my skates and scooted around the rink (basically gripping the wall the entire time) but had a blast.


    My husband came with me and while he is a good skater, he humored me and stayed by my side until I’d had enough. After I had my fill, he zipped around a few more times and then bought me a hot chocolate.

    I won’t be a proficient skater anytime soon but I did enjoy the experience and may try it again next year.

  • barrettje 3:54 pm on January 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Austin Polar Bear Plunge 

    Wasting no time getting started with a new year of adventure, and embracing my new-found spontaneity, I saw a post about Austin’s Polar Bear Plunge on January 1st so I decided to make it my first “plunge” into this new year. Sorry for the pun, terrible I know, but I couldn’t resist.

    At 10:00 in the morning I threw on a bathing suit and headed to the local swimming hole. A swimming hole is the best description. Barton Springs Pool is a man-made pool that exists as a channel of Barton Creek and is filled by water from the Barton Spring.

    The water maintains an even temperature throughout the year so while it was chilly when I first jumped in, it warmed up after a few laps.

    And, I certainly wasn’t the only person to usher in the new year this way. About 100 other brave sould joined me.

    I would definitely make this a yearly tradition, and maybe some year I’ll even take the plunge in a cooler climate.

    I hope you all had an equally fun start to the new year!

    • Kimberly Hula 3:59 pm on January 2, 2013 Permalink

      Ah, this reminds me of my first adventure! Congrats on doing it – nothing like a near ice bath to jump start the new year!

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