In the spirit of peace, these are the things that made me feel happy and calm this week:
• I'm typing this on Thursday, during my flight back from Los Angeles to Houston.* I had a great time in LA, connecting with a few friends I hadn't seen in a while, but didn't have a chance to take any photographs. So I decided to look through old photographs that I had on my laptop, to see if there were any I hadn't yet shared with you. The little beauty above was a friend I made during my trip to Ethiopia. Isn't she lovely?
• Los Angeles was surprisingly cold on this trip, making for awesome frosty-window-writing.
• When I got into the car for my trip from LAX to my hotel, my driver turned down the volume on the satellite radio station -- jazz. "Sorry," he said with an apologetic smile. I learned that he was a musician himself (percussion) from Mexico City. He has travelled all over the world playing gigs, but his favourite music is jazz, particularly bossa nova. He played in Havana, Cuba ("a photographer's dream," he said, when he learned about what I do), and Rio de Janeiro, Brasil ("I visited the restaurant where Girl from Ipanema was written -- I was so emotional," he sighed).
Two days later, my driver from my hotel back to LAX was an Ecuadorian woman who ran away from home at 14 to marry her 17-year-old boyfriend. They've been married for 38 years. He called while we were on the road, and before she quickly got off the phone, she said quietly, "Te amo, mi rey. Te amo." When she hung up, she said to me by way of explanation, "My husband. He worries about me," with a smile.
I love meeting beautiful people when I travel.
• Paul Salopek is following the ancient path of human migration -- walking 21,000 miles in total. A journalist for National Geographic, he says his journey is "a project about storytelling" -- and I have to say, the associated images and audio interview are really riveting. It sounds like such an adventure.
• Impressed, the iPad app that allows you to make beautiful photo books with your images, used images from my trip to Paris last year to launch their limited edition "Black Tie" photo book template. I was very honoured, to say the least. Check them out (it would be a great way to preserve those #lookforthelight or #NaPhoPoMo images you've been taking!)
• Finally, a little late, a calming playlist for December, featuring, of course, a little jazz and a little bossa nova, in honour of my very cool drivers in LA. Listen to it while you work or at rest, but for best results, have a warming beverage and/or a fire nearby.
Click here or on the image below to enjoy.
Have a great weekend, friends. (And don't forget: signed copies of The Beauty of Different are on sale -- just in time for the holidays!)
* I know airline wifi isn't new, but it still blows my mind every time I board a plane and it's there. We live in marvelous times, people. Marvelous times.
"No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."