Happy Presidents’ Day From Capitol Hill

Library of Congress, President's Day 2013, Washington, DC Library of Congress, President's Day 2013

February 18, 2013, Washington, DC: The Library of Congress is one of those close-to- home landmarks I walk, bike, run and drive around regularly, but I’m ashamed to say I’d never been inside until now. But today the Main Reading Room was open to the public — photographs allowed — and that only happens twice a year, so we walked over, waited in the line and wandered inside. The architecture and history in this neighborhood is truly astounding. Happy Presidents’ Day from Capitol Hill.

Library of Congress, President's Day 2013

Library of Congress, President's Day 2013

Library of Congress, President's Day 2013

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Miles From Last Monday: What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Summer vacation, July 2012

August 6, 2012, Washington, DC: Today please welcome back the return of a Monday morning series that’s taken an extended vacation since Neighborhood Nomads went plural. Today I’m bringing back Miles from Monday, a weekly feature about venturing out of the spaces we inhabit during our work week and retreating to landscapes that feel far from routine. This regular dose of armchair travel has a place here on the blog because ‘being away’ has always informed my understanding of ‘being home’. Don’t you always return from a trip with a fresh perspective on your hometown after seeing what else is out there?

After spending the bulk of summer close to home following a year of whirlwind travel, I headed out this week, logging a couple hundred miles since last Monday. Nothing earth-shattering, just a few days of travel through the wilds of Washington, New York and New Jersey. Photos of the people and places I encountered on the other end of my bike ride, train ride and car ride are included here:

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Fluid Roots, Pacific Style

Photo Credit: Joana Stillwell

July 31, 2012, Washington, DC: Growing up along the edges of the Pacific Ocean, Joana Stillwell moved around so much as a child she used to think she didn’t have a hometown. Now she’s certain she has many. The realization came this summer, fresh out of college and selected to participate in a global mentorship program with the Young Photographers Alliance. The theme of the project: Hometown. With guidance from Seattle photographer Stewart Tilger, the fine arts graduate went to work exploring a few of the places she’s lived from behind the lens of her camera. The result: An eye-opening examination of her fluid roots and her fluid thinking about a topic many assume is firmly grounded in just one place.

In typical nomad fashion, I spoke to Joana on a recent afternoon as she traveled by ferry from her former hometown of Silverdale, Washington to her current hometown of Seattle.

Read on for highlights from my conversation with Joana after the jump.

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One Year, Ten Photos

Fanari Villas, Oia, Santorini, Greece, June 2011, Photo Credit: Kate Gallery

“It is there if you just close your eyes and breathe softly through your nose; you will hear the whispered message, for all landscapes ask the same question in the same whisper. ‘I am watching you — are you watching yourself in me?’”
-Lawrence Durrell

June 15, 2012, Washington, DC: The first entry on this blog is dated June 16, 2011. 365 days ago. In reality, the launch of this year-long project is a little softer than that — the idea had been stewing for months, but was birthed in its current structure just as we kicked off our wedding weekend. The first several entries were scribbled down in a blue plastic notebook bought in a Santorini drugstore on our honeymoon before they went live in the blogosphere.

This weekend, in other words, is a first anniversary celebration in more ways than one.

To mark the milestone, the next few posts will reflect on what’s happened here during the course of the year – beginning with a roundup of ten of my favorite photos that emerged from Neighborhood Nomad: One Year of Travel Through My Many Hometowns. I’ve loved having an excuse this year to lug around my fancy camera, test out new photography apps on the iPhone, and document my surroundings through various lenses. Read more to see a handful of the photos that have made an impression…

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Finding Balance in San Francisco

“The sea and pine scented air fills me with hope and the belief that all men and women are made better by a visit to this place. The dream of San Francisco is that humanity might live in harmony with nature but at the same time enjoy the benefits of civilization.

Call yourself down through the centuries and see if it is not here that you will return. San Francisco isn’t just a city, it is a jumping off point to eternity. In an ocean of light, this is the place.

-Sean O’Reilly, “Lady of the Avenues” 

February 22, 2012, Washington, DC: I’ve held onto this passage by Sean O’Reilly for awhile now, ever since moving from San Francisco to Chicago. O’Reilly’s confidence in the belief that we all come back made me feel better about leaving, and I admired the way he succinctly explained the balance afforded to those who experience life here. “In harmony with nature,” we retain a quite physical, active and tangible relationship with the environment while “the benefits of civilization” provide us with opportunities for cerebral, intellectual and artistic expression.

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Neighborhood Nomad: Charlotte of Charleston

Photo credit: Charlotte Elizabeth Photographer

This is one in a series featuring the neighborhoods and living spaces that readers call home. Would you like to participate? Click here for more information about contributing to Neighborhood Nomad.

December 12, 2011: Washington, DC: Charlotte and I first became friends at Hampton Pool in Maryland in 1984. We were summertime friends first, classmates second, and have remained lifelong friends ever since. Charlotte is now a photographer living in Charleston, SC. In addition to photographing weddings, (including ours!), she is a true neighborhood nomad. Photography is her literal lens through which to explore her city and continuously view her surroundings with a fresh eye. I thought it would be interesting to see Charleston through the eyes of a photographer, so I asked Charlotte if she’d like to participate. She was more than happy to oblige.

Read more about Charlotte’s perspective on Charleston (her fab photos included!).

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A Washington Reflection

October 22, 2011, Washington, DC: I set out early this morning on a big red beach cruiser ready to document one of my former Washington neighborhoods. It was the first morning in months my bike brakes were cold to the touch, and a stark line of clouds dramatically divided our city, slicing it precisely down its east and west sides. To be honest, the day grew grayer and more bland as time went by, and I’m still considering how to inject some punch into my photo essay of Dupont Circle. For now, I share the highlight of the morning — a photo snapped from the east side of the Capitol Building, five minutes into my long morning ride.