Sunday, June 12, 2016

Tragedy in Orlando: Strength and Solidarity




image by Stephen Wilson

A madman decided that the lives of the LGBTQ2 community in Orlando, some of whom were out on a Saturday night enjoying life on their own terms, should die because of who they are. Someone woke up and decided - that day, that night, that they simply weren't fit to live on this planet, breathing the same air as him. Someone - and he will not be named in this post, made that terrible decision and stuck by it with deadly resolve. This wretched, twisted, sad excuse of a human being, killed and injured people celebrating life in their own space, in the sanctity of their own world. These men and women were not in a public space, they were safe in their world with others just like them. I should rephrase that last paragraph and say that they were 'supposed' to be safe in their world. He took away that safety. As a member of the LGBTQ2 community, you look for that space, you crave that space, that shelter from a (very) hostile world. To be free, with others just like you. The gunman massacred these men and women, and took that safe shelter away from them and so many others.

Thoughts and prayers are not enough. There are not enough words, gestures and actions to help understand just how awful, how horrific this incredibly selfish, evil act of pure, unadulterated hate is, particularly to the LGBTQ2 community. The emotional and physical damage the outcome of this act will do to the community, to families and friends, the shockwaves as it reverberates around the globe, is overwhelming. But it is a reminder that for every victory we in the LGBTQ2 community make in the world, for every step forward we take, there are people who are just as determined, just as vigilant to see that we are pushed back, that want to see us die for who we are, who we fight to be, every single day of our lives.

I am saddened and absolutely heartbroken at the loss of life of my LGBTQ2 brothers and sisters. But for me, I won't be cowed or made to feel afraid to be who I am. He won't win because we are strong, I am strong, and made stronger by the show of love and solidarity both within and outside the community.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

New York: a visual feast for the senses


Just as there are people who would lap this video up, there are individuals out there that would think the sounds and sights of this video are anything but a visual feast. I think that's the point. You can absorb New York, and then you can decide whether the noise, the constant movement, the frenetic energy are things you want to handle, or remove from your system.

I run towards this energy. I soak it up. I want to be in that New York state of mind, and this video is my visual bookmark whenever that state of mind beckons.

Oh, and a suggestion? You must put this video's audio on blast to truly feel the magnificence that is New York!



video by James Mauro and Stephen Wilson

Stay tuned - New York stories and pics on the way!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Escape to New York




image courtesy of Stephen Wilson

It's that time of year again. It's that time to hit the road and partake on an eagerly anticipated journey. It's that time for A Hungry Man to once again leave familiarity and escape to the concrete canyons of New York. Oh, how I relish trips to the Big Apple, almost like a cake lover licking the plate after a particularly delicious strawberry shortcake dessert. Great, now I want cake!

Last year was so much fun being re-introduced to the city that I had sadly lost touch with for over ten years. That is a crazy amount of time away from a city that I love more than my own hometown. Now although it's a reunion of sorts, this year promises to be different, not only with a change of travelling partners (goodbye sister dear and hello there partner Jim!), and there will be more of an emphasis on the theatre side of New York than the culinary, but no need to fret, the opportunity to experience all that is New York food will definitely be covered. Yup, I see you there Eatily and don't you worry, I'm coming to see you too.

Look for posts to come over the next few days, and in the meantime how about you take my hand and we'll take a trip down memory lane with last years visit to New York - click here and here to read all about it!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

I Wish U Heaven Prince Rogers Nelson




image courtesy of fandeprincemj.skyrock.com

It's never really been my thing to talk about the deaths of celebrities, especially on this blog. Life is hard enough without having to report about something or someone that you barely knew other than the image they choose to present to the public.

But when it happens to someone who played a key part of your formative years, you can't help but mention, remember and honour the memory. With the recent deaths of David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and now Prince, all legends, all incredible accomplished musicians and artists, it honestly feels like a constant punch to my childhood and teenage heart.

Prince was a big part of my teen years, and with my friends we went crazy when 'Lets Go Crazy' hit the radio. We danced every New Year to '1999', and still do. 'When Doves Cry' is implanted in the brain. And 'Purple Rain'? It was THE song of the 80s. It was played at every school dance, it was all over the radio, it was the song of a generation.

As I grew older and really began to check and collect his extensive back music catalogue, there are so many funk/R&B jams that stand up to anything played today. I was and still am, very sorry I didn't have the opportunity to attend one of his amazing concerts, but I will always have the music.

He has left one hell of a musical legacy behind, but it's one that I will continue to honour and treasure.

Prince Roger Nelson June 7, 1958 - April 21, 2016

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Adios Mexico: See you next sunset



image provided by Stephen Wilson

I woke up on my last day in Mexico to the sounds of the ocean. From my room I had direct access plus the incredible view of the Pacific thanks to patio doors that opened wide and let in the sights, sounds and very fresh air. You can either sleep well to that, or wonder to yourself; "Just how angry can an ocean get?" Or both. In this case, I chose to think of it as a peaceful sound, and it is truly gorgeous to watch the waves crash onto the beach.

Now I had mentioned a few posts back about sharing a story that involved my swimming in that same water. Or trying at the very least to attempt to swim in it. I will state that the first few attempts were disasters. The surf is not fun when the waves are high and strong. Oh it's great for surfers, but for regular folks? Not so much. Tell me who enjoys being tossed around like rag dolls or worse that literally sinking feeling that you might just be pulled out into the deep, dark waters? I shivered myself just reading that. Truly not for the faint of heart.

So it was on the last day in Mexico that one more attempt was made to navigate the waters. I am happy to report that my partner and I did it and even better? We survived! The surf was very calm that day and wow, what a change to the swimming environment. It was enjoyable, refreshing and a reminder to make sure, in the future, to swim in a place that has a quieter surf. After that experience, I just had to ask the staff at Rancho Pescadero if swimming is encouraged at the resort because we all know what it means to assume something. Short answer? Not really recommended. Apparently if you walk a few kilometers up the beach from the ranch there is an area suitable for swimming. Oh well, live and learn right? Holidays are not just about fun but also about mistakes. And learning from them. I think.

Another part of the trip that was oh-so-pleasurable was waking up to a basket at our front door. Just a basket you might be asking yourself? That was pleasurable? Boy you’re an easy to please traveller aren’t you. But wait, not so fast. This wasn’t just any basket. Inside the beautifully hand woven basket contained a delectable light breakfast of Mexican coffee, a plate of fresh fruit with watermelon, melon and pineapple slices and a freshly baked scone. Trust me, enjoying the contents of that basket on your private patio, with the warm wind and a view of the ocean is just about the greatest way to start any day. Leave the room? Ha! Not with this sort of treatment, but leave you must and it was worth it, if only to just sit by the beach, listen to the waves, watch the whales in the distance(!) and just gather your thoughts

To revisit a theme, I have to reiterate my thoughts about travel and in particular, my personal view that it is as much about learning as it is to have fun. Travelling means you will have highs and lows, but the most important question you should ask yourself is this: what did you learn? Did you pick up a language, or even just a simple phrase? Did you sample the cuisine, or just taste a local delicacy? Did you engage with the local population, get to know the people, who they are, what they do and what they think of their country (and you visiting it). It's a chance to expand your boundaries, your knowledge, and to see that life is not just confined to your front door or the trips from home to work and back again.

Live life. Eat life. Change your life and escape to something new, something exciting when the chance arrives. I know that when sun, sand and sea beckons, my bags are packed and my mouth is ready to say “Hola Mexico!“ Until then, Adios, until I see you again.


image courtesy of James Mauro