I’m back! Sorry for the radio silence last week, all, but sometimes you just need some time to get your life back together! I had run a little behind on stocking up posts, partly because I’ve been working on a mammoth week in Scotland itinerary and partly because that dreaded double whammy of writer’s block and feeling insufficient hit me hard.
Has that happened to you? You’re rolling along, working on a project you love and that you’ve generally felt you do well, and then all the sudden BAM! That little lying voice creeps into your head and starts whispering that you’re not good enough, you never will be, you’re embarrassing yourself, no one cares about what you’re doing, etc.? I’m sure I’m not alone, especially among those of us who have started our own businesses, risked a career change, decided to pursue a new hobby, or embarked on any number of other new adventures. It’s bound to happen at some point, unless you are blessed with incredible and unwavering self-confidence (what’s your secret?!), and especially if you’re doing something challenging and worthwhile.
Anyway, I’m now back on the content creation wagon, working and praying hard to keep that lying dragon at bay, and ready to share some exciting new posts with you in the coming weeks. It also helped that Monday’s post was about the Yukon, a place near and dear to my heart that brought back such special memories as I was writing it and made the work more of a nostalgic pleasure. Adding to the joy of the week, M and I also booked a trip (!!!) on Monday (more to come on that), and he had a couple of days off for the holiday so we’ve been able to enjoy some bonus time together.
Apart from all that, here’s what else I’ve been loving lately!
With the World Cup in full swing, it seems like everyone is talking about soccer. While I will confess that I am not normally a close follower of any particular team, I do enjoy watching the sport and really love the spectacle that comes around every four years in the form of the World Cup. I love how it’s something the whole world gets behind, perhaps even more so than the Olympics, and I love to see all the national pride on full display as people cheer on their countries’ teams.
It’s also a great season for M. He played soccer through college, supports our local MLS team, the Philadelphia Union, and also follows the Premier League pretty closely. One of his favorite things about the game is how the ability to love and play it it transcends race, ethnicity, religion, economic status, or just about any other factor you can think of. He loves that kids in poor towns can use rocks for goalposts and fashion a ball out of plastic bags to enjoy a game just as much as their wealthier counterparts playing on manicured fields.
This series of photos from The Atlantic highlights just that: that soccer (or football) is a sport loved round the world and in defiance of any differences that might set us apart. In it, you’ll see people of all ages playing the game on pitches made of everything from ice to asphalt. There are fields on the top of high rises and floating on water, girls wearing shiny uniforms and kids kicking with bare feet. It’s a sweet testament to the sport that brings us together more than any other.
I find volcanoes fascinating, and I confess that it’s a bit of a bucket list item of mine to witness some form of volcanic activity. The next best thing, however, is to observe this wonder of nature via video.
This high-definition timelapse film of Kilauea in Hawaii is just what its description says: mesmerizing. It’s just over three minutes long, and the footage of the lava bubbling over the ground is fascinating to watch. To think that this is molten rock that has spewed from the depths of the earth to create new, otherworldly landscapes is mind-blowing. We truly live on a remarkable planet, and I love that there is so much about the earth that can still leave us awestruck.
A lot of families have traditions around the 4th of July holiday, and mine is no exception. In fact, our tradition is probably pretty similar to yours: get together with family and friends, wear patriotic colors, enjoy some good food, and set off some fireworks.
Where my tradition differs, however, is the number of fireworks that we set off. This year, it was about 12,000, all perfectly choreographed to music.
For over twenty years, my family have been volunteering on the “pyro crew” for the Central PA 4thFest, a huge Independence Day celebration and fireworks show put on in State College, Pennsylvania, every July 4th. Over the years, we’ve seen the show grow from an impressive community display to one of the largest in the nation. An all-volunteer crew works year-round to put together every detail of the day, which not only includes the famous fireworks but a parade, 4K, food vendors, multiple stages with live entertainment, and much more.
Folks serving on the pyro crew put in almost three weeks of work in the hot June and July sun, assembling wooden racks, setting up tubes, dropping and wiring firework shells into the tubes, and making sure that everything is perfect for the 4th. Then, we turn around and clean it all up on the 5th and 6th.
Over the years, the crew has become a family, a special group of friends that we see once a year to complete this very special and unique project. We work hard together, share a lot of laughs and good-natured teasing, bake in the sun, then sit back on the night of the 4th to watch all our hard work go up in literal smoke within 45 minutes.
I’m probably more than a little biased, but no other fireworks display I’ve seen (including some of the big names) has come close to the scale, choreography, and enjoyment of our humble 4thFest. We shoot off an average of five shells per second during the first forty-two minutes of the show, then ratchet it up to over seventy-five shells per second for the ninety-second finale, all perfectly timed to music. It’s unbelievable, and I’m so honored to be a part of it.
I can’t wait for next year!
That’s all for me this week! I hope that you and yours had a happy Independence Day, if you happened to celebrate, and that my Canadian friends had a great Canada Day as well! See you next week!
What have you been loving lately?
Have you been watching the World Cup? Who are you rooting for?
If you’re American, how did you celebrate the 4th of July?