surfing in a cemetery

{listening to lightmares – passionate places}

a toast is in order.

last minute / late night decisions are unlike those made during sound mind and sunny day. is it true that our deepest desires come forward in the smallest hours? it took all of thirty seconds for me to plan a birthday trip, my birthday trip to oslo, norway- to see the avett brothers in august. the best part? {as though it could get better} the maximum capacity of the rockefeller music hall is 1,350, which means that i will be 1 dancing drop in a puddle of 1,350 avett-lovin’ norwegians. meanwhile in the states, their shows are selling out months in advance in concert halls that hold upwards of 10,000 people. is it strange that i’m excited to be going alone?

“you could stand, swathed by groups and mobs or hold hands with your partner, look both further and farther for the endless quest for company. but no one’s in your head and by the time you translate your thoughts, some essence of them may be lost..”

in the meantime, i recently spent some time in a cemetery and walked out with five new cohorts. like i mentioned in my last post, couchsurfing will be a huge part of my life in london. for the first time in such a long time, i feel connected to the rest of humanity. connected to people.
{such as those lovely individuals from poland, italy, peru, and spain}
to music.
to art.

like a bird in a cage, i broke in and demanded somebody free it, flowers cascading down a brick wall

i trekked to east london last saturday and after inhaling a tuna sandwich near the mile end tube stop, rushed down overcast alleys to attend an event i discovered on cs. this particular meetup involved hunting for clues, searching out and crawling around ancient gravestones, and absorbing information about life in london in the 1800’s – all in one of the most beautiful cemeteries i have ever roamed. what could be more up my alley than a treasure hunt in a cemetery?
very little, i must say.

not only are couchsurfing events a great way to explore a city, they are the best way to meet fellow explorers- brave, adventurous people willing to show up to pubs/ libraries/ concerts/ outdoor movie screenings/ coffee shops/ picnics/ parties/ cemeteries completely alone. {sometimes just knowing one other person} all for the sake of adventure. all for the sake of opening your mind {and sometimes home} to another person who, like you, is doing the best they can. i like to think am absolutely convinced that the entire couchsurfing project is implanting a good deal of trust back into our ever-growing-untrustworthy world.

now, onto the tower hamlets park cemetery..

cemetery in london, beautiful cemetery, gravestones, tower hamlets, east london


the flow of clue-hunting-couchsurfers and locals alike was organic and very, very fluid. when i arrived, pulse slightly pounding, i noticed that a small group had already left in search of their first gravestone goal: the tomb displaying the name of johann bullwinkle. “am i late?” i asked a guy and girl who were not much older than me and obviously running the event, passing out maps and explaining the premise. “no, we were hoping that people would come at different times.” [it’s no fun going on a treasure hunt through a maze of flowers and stone when you are close enough to look ahead at the group that has already found what you are searching for.]and so i left, on my own. and so the minutes passed. i used my map {nicely and lovingly printed on thick, soft paper} and watched and wandered, sometimes asking others for advice and at other times, supplying it to strangers. the age groups of my fellow seekers varied from lower twenties and upwards.  i occasionally joined forces with a women that could not have been much younger than my own grandmother.

people ask me about my college experience {what few years i have} and i always speak very highly of the community college i was enrolled at for just over a year and a half. the value of my time there was paramount in comparison to the semester i spent at my state’s leading university. lifelong learning is just that – life long. the diversity i encountered at the community college directly impacted the seriousness with which i tackled my courses. unlike living on a campus with thousands of faces, correspondingly dressed in only dozens of ways, here was the kinship i never could develop at the university. i still seem to find myself relating to people from all age groups and this event was no different.

binding a book made from clues, hidden in a cemetery

{we were told that after collecting our clues – which made up a short story of a man who lived in london – they would help us bind them together as a complete book}

book binding, needle and thread

{little did i realize that the organizers would have such beautiful supplies for binding our little books, lovely hand pressed covers and detailed leaflets for placement inside}

at this point in the process, after hours of intermingling merriment among the dead, i was no longer alone. together with me were virna from italy, pédro from perú, tomasz from poland, and beatriz & víctor from spain. out of politeness on their behalf, english was prominently spoken during our get-to-know-you process but for once in my life, i was with an entire collection of people whose native tongues were not my own. i would not have minded listening to some spanish or portuguese – in fact, i would have loved to be on standby for parts of our conversation, out of respect and a desire to pick up bits and pieces. but they insisted that we stick with english. they were all very kind, and different from one another, and yet the same. we all had one huge bit in common – a love for travel. our adventure then continued on to a pub {where i did my best to finish a strongbow – my taste buds detest carbonation} and from there, we just, simply, wandered london. i saw places i had not yet seen, restaurants i would come back to, and people from all around the world.

i am still grasping to understand how i could feel so at home
when i am physically so far from it..

here is my finished project and a glimpse into it’s lovely paper-depths.

hand-bound book made at a couchsurfing event

{finished project}

hand pressed and home made, couchsrufing, book binding, needle and thread

{hand pressed silver ink}

mushroom picture in homemade book, clue at the bottom, couchsurfing event

{the shaking hands were carved into a great number of tombstones here}

eventually, we ended up on brick lane – how have i never heard of this neighborhood before?

graffiti on brick lane, london, travel, art, illegal art

{no wall or surface was left unscathed by some form of art}

vinyl sale in london, brick lane

{i’ll be back}

graffiti in brick lane, london

brick lane, london, street art, wine, drinking

{left behind}

saturday was definitely a day worth writing about. not to be confused with almost every other day here, which is also most definitely worth writing about.. i cannot wait to spend more time with the wonderful people i met.

until next time,




“life is short. i need to make the most of it. today’s the first day of the rest of my life. i need to turn my life around. what do i need to do? i need to fall in love. i need to have a girlfriend. i need to read more and prove myself. what if i learned russian or something? or took up an instrument? i could speak chinese. just be real. confident. nothing’s going to change now.”  infinite artistry – lightmares – adapted from adaptation, screenplay by charlie kaufman




featured image:
my mother’s mom.
my very own namesake that i know but never met.
my secret, constant inspiration.
i love you, mom.
i love you, namesake.

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