more often than not i find my eyelids settling at half-mast on monday afternoons as i’m faced with nothing more inspiring than a dry to-do list and a my finger mindlessly tapping on open tabs on my computer. it’s in these moments when i allow my mind and my heart to wander back to places that have captivated me, if not for inspiration just to salvage my own sanity. this past monday, as it often does, my heart led me back to the algarve region of portugal, one of the most beautiful and enchanting places i’ve ever visited. my eyes began to consume image after image when i finally landed on a thorough and inspiring conde nast “introduction” to the area. and as i drank down every word and explored every pixel and breathed in my own memories, again and again and again, i came across a fascinating anecdote of a historical conquest that occurred in the area, that has found itself legendized as a common term in portuguese- sebastianismo. a word that was born from a story of exploration, of desire, of hope- lost.
king sebastião embarked on a crusade to battle the moorish kingdom of morocco, hopeful, willing, and determined, and soon after embarking the entire undertaking was a disaster– outnumbered, outsmarted, and out of options, they were defeated and Sebastião himself was lost among the sandy shores; a revered and promising king met his untimely demise in the craggy, unforgiving intercontinental coastline. from that event was born the term sebastianismo, meaning a failed venture or forlorn hope. such a palpable, fragrant term, born from glory and ending in failure and
what gives us, in all it’s 6-syllable complexity, one very tangible reason why we travel. because to have hope in itself is a rare gift. to believe in yourself, to put a dream in motion, to invigorate your senses, to contain within yourself the unshakable belief in a mission, to seek the unknown, to move, to try. and then even if you fail, if you find yourself lost, if you lose that hope that blindly mobilized you to begin with- at least you had such a gift to begin with. because stagnation, and not some easily defined nemesis- stagnation is the enemy.
what is home but a familiar pulling at the heart. who is family but people, by nature, to whom we are drawn and thus necessitate their comfort, shelter, grace, and presence. and what is homesickness then but an insatiable desire for an intangible past, a physical nostalgia, an endless and familiar dream.
i’ve recently come across this (by nature) unspeakably charming list of words for which there is no direct translation in english. they are feelings we all have, carried in our heart and experienced often, and there is ultimately nothing lost in translation. I forever find myself entranced in the beauty of languages that necessitated the development of these words.
this one, in particular, hit me.
a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past
there is simply no explanation as to why i have left pieces of my heart buried deep in so many places. and it isn’t given voluntarily, it is taken. split from me and taken and consumed entirely. in places, it has been buried between sturdy cobblestones and enveloped into the ether of incomprehensible sunsets alike. in people, it has remained in conversations so deep that it’s a wonder only my heart and not my entire physical being was left there in the depths of a significant verbal exchange. and in relationships where perhaps your heart is only a token of the wholeness that you have given.
it’s involuntary and yet entirely accepted, because to give your heart in such unspoken discernment signifies a recognized respect, a visible beacon, a palpable sanctuary, a home, there.
a home there for your heart.
it happens in that first glance of the tower, likely through thick parisian fog and a blesssing for being so, because if seen any clearer it would shatter you completely. it happens when hearing the call to prayer in istanbul, the surprising harmonization of turet dwellers and worshippers alike. it happens in that last look at prague, and its painful fading into the distance feels as if you held the paintbrush and you alone dimmed each pastel rooftop and shimmering river and glowing streetlamp as it all fades, with permission it seems, into the distance.
it’s hiraeth. for which your heart breaks and then mends and then aches and then seeks.
never settling and always wistfully or painfully seeking.
and then home is something is felt so much deeper. and family are those people who are a constant and impenetrable presence. and love… love is a fucking earthquake.
hiraeth is what we seek and fear from travel. and thus, unquestionably, the reason why we do.
built to replicate the iconic crab houses in maryland, this place has endless decks, bushels of crabs, buckets of beer, and relentless sunsets every single night. except instead of having the chesapeake bay or historic baltimore (euphemism!) as a backdrop, you get that magical and proud point where the east river meets the hudson and lady liberty reminds you that this city (and country!) is so fucking dope. oh and there is putt putt. yep.
24 reed st
if you haven’t had enough shellfish, this no-frills lobster joint offers the best and most affordable lobster dinner in town. huge bonus if you’re a sports (especially patriots) fan- they project games on a big screen in the back and game days are respectfully energetic but non-douchey.
284 van brunt st.
cacao factory + whiskey distillery? plus coordinated tastings of each? yep. whiskey made in the style of traditional tennessee bourbon. nibs on nibs of cacao. gogao!
214 Conover St.
paper, textile goods, and housewares shop from british designer that is guaranteed to have on hand the next perfect gift you need. walk in, be nearly disorientingly charmed.
392 van brunt st.
surprisingly savory sweets in a charming little nook of a bakeshop. try: everything.
359 van brunt
meats so tender they’ll make even the toughest new yorker fall apart. this is the best carolina style barbecue i’ve had north of the mason dixon line, and it just feels good to be in this place. go. eat.
454 van brunt st.
a winery on the pier in the east river looking out onto our shining metropolis and everything beyond. tours, tastings, events, sunsets – all of these things are available to you here. go, my friends. and partake.
175 Van Dyke St
the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.
this description that fits so well everyone who inspires me.
every morning in taipei started with the same understood priority, the same frenzied mentality, the same shameless need- get pork buns. of course this task was quickly followed on our mental itinerary by “check out hidden taiwanese morning market” and “visit taipei memorial hall” or “hike up to breathtaking view of skyline at elephant park” and “stroll around xinyi district” “share bottle of wine to get the nerve to check out taipei 101.” but first, always, the pork buns.