Baino recently took part in an “interview meme”, and she kindly gave me some questions so that I could play too. So, that’s today’s post taken care of!
What is your favourite pastime/s?
Exploring new places. I am addicted to travel… no, wait. I hate travelling. I am addicted to arrival. I love the thrill of stepping out of an airport into a city I’ve never been in before – seeing the taxis lined up outside, the people chattering in the local language, the city skyline and nearby buildings, the big sign saying “Welcome to…” in about a dozen languages. It gives me the most delicious feeling of anticipation. I love going into towns and villages and just wandering aimlessly through the streets, taking pictures and getting lost and trying to work out how things are done in this neck of the woods. In fact, just last night I read the perfect description of the thrill I get from exploring somewhere new:
Is there anything, apart from a really good chocolate cream pie and receiving a large, unexpected cheque in the post, to beat finding yourself at large in a foreign city on a fair spring evening, loafing along unfamiliar streets in the long shadows of a lazy sunset, pausing to gaze in shop windows or at some church or lovely square or tranquil stretch of quayside, hesitating at street corners to decide whether that cheerful and homy restaurant you will remember fondly for years is likely to lie down this street or that one? I just love it. I could spend my life arriving each evening in a new city.
– Bill Bryson (Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe)
[PS – I also enjoy blogging, reading, cooking, picnics, and watching entire seasons of TV shows in one weekend.]
What about the world around you saddens you?
Lots of things. Vandalism. Hatred. Drug problems. Bigotry. Death. Cruelty. And when supermarkets move everything around and it takes ten times as long to find what you’re looking for. That destroys me.
What about the world around you delights you?
Again, lots of things. See answer to first question, for a start! Old towns and villages with cobbled streets and pastel-coloured buildings. Funny signs. Baby animals. Hugs and kisses. When I have a whole conversation in French. Nice comments on my blog. Sushi. Gorgeous views. An unexpected card or gift. Someone doing something stereotypical of people from the region/country I happen to be in – like French people greeting each other with kisses in the street, or Germans drinking from big giant beer glasses with handles, or New Yorkers flying around in honking yellow cabs, or a Swiss cow wearing a bell around its neck. Cocktails. Hearing songs that were in the charts when I was a teenager. And many more things. I am constantly delighted by the simple, everyday details of life!
How important is the environment to you?
Erm, not very, to be honest. I know that’s a terrible answer. See this post from a couple of years ago for further elaboration. I know I should be more concerned, but I’m horribly apathetic and “meh” about it. I know people who are at the other extreme, where their whole lives have been taken over by The Cause, and their homes are glorified recycling plants. Perhaps there’s a “normal” level of caring somewhere in the middle?
If you had a million dollars, what would you spend it on?
After sorting out The Parents with a nice little early retirement package, I would keep on doing what I’m doing*, only on less of a shoestring budget! As in, I could go out for dinner and try lots of local cuisine in nice restaurants, and buy silly souvenirs to send to friends and family, and take more guided tours, and sample the coffee in every café I come to, and visit more museums and galleries and the like, and move from country to country more often. It would be nice to be able to do more in the cities that I visit. But being broke and nomadic is still better than being rich and stuck in one place, for me! Even if I haven’t got two cents to rub together, I’m still free to wander along Old Town streets of an evening. You don’t have to be rich to enjoy that!
*I’d just like to note that it must mean that a person is truly happy when they realise that for the first time ever, they are able to answer this question with “I would just keep on doing what I’m doing” instead of listing a lot of wistful, unfulfilled dreams that are apparently dependent on having lots of money. If you gave me a million dollars right now, I can think of very little that would change in my life. I wouldn’t settle down and buy a house now – not for all the money in the world!