Shop in Adelaide’s Central Market

IMG_9055It is “Throwback Thursday” and this is my last post for my recent adventure in Australia. This shopping experience reminds me so much of the Russian Market in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In my Phnom Penh adventures there were many markets, but the Russian Market was the most staggering. It is still the largest market that I have ever experienced for variety and depth. And the bargains! (sigh)  Alas those photos are stored on various crazy discs and not easily accessible. Instead we will feast on this shopping experience just a block from my Hilton Hotel in Adelaide.

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Adelaide’s Central Market is not a place I would go for bargains. However, under one waterproof roof you can find loads of produce, cheese, bread, meat, used books–you name it–someone probably sells it. It is Los Angeles Farmers Market, a flea market and more all rolled under one roof.

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I especially liked how the vendors called out what they had to offer. It made it more fun and I do think it encourages you to make a purchase. California farmers markets are laid back by comparison and lack the energy of this place. And it is open everyday. I bought used books and some cheese and bread for lunch.

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Who can resist cheese?

 

Seeking a Little Comfort on the Morning After Paris Attacks

Stanely Donuts at 3710 J Street can be counted on to serve up yummy donuts.
Stanely Donuts at 3710 J Street can be counted on to serve up yummy donuts.

I had been making good eating choices all week and even before I knew of the terror attacks in Paris I had decided to get a donut in the morning. I was up early finding solace in a email chat with my daughter. Eventually Lulu’s woeful looks got me up and I took my dog for a walk.  Then I went to the Midtown Farmers Market. Usually the Sweet Dozen food trailer is there serving up donuts. Not today. Then I remembered they were supposed to be at Chocolate Fish in East Sacramento. I was too hungry to bike there on an empty stomach. So I warmed up leftover Thai food and watched a comfort episode of I’ll Have What Phil’s Having on PBS.org.  I watched the Paris episode and prayed for the citizens of this great city: may they find comfort today too. Though I watched Phil dive into fussy pastries and pull apart a messy croissant and it only deepened my craving for the humble donut.

I jumped on my bike and headed to East Sacramento. By the time I arrived the Sweet Dozen trailer was shuttered. No donut. I got in line for one of Sacramento’s best flat whites and I realized what I really wanted was a donut. I plugged “donuts near me” into Google Maps and up popped Stanely Donuts at 37th and J Streets. I could check my P.O. Box, and then stop on my way home.

In my experience the best donuts in California are made by Cambodians. I learned this from friends who work in Cambodia and seek out donut shops run by Cambodians to practice their Khmer when they are in California. Turns out there is a bit of a Cambodian donut cartel once you step outside of the “gourmet” donut world. These are fresh, yummy donuts offered in super clean stores with regular hours. Stanely you have my loyalty!

After a lovely chat with the proprietress (who gave me an extra free donut!), I walked across the street for a Starbucks coffee in a controversial cup and free wifi. Next up: a quick stop at Geographica, a delightful map and art shop where I always seem to find a great gift or something I cannot live without.

I am so thankful for the relative peace in my little part of the world today. Praying for all those caught in conflict around the world today. Peace be with you.

What is a Quest? Lessons from Happiness of Pursuit

My view of Rangitoto from St Heliers.
My view of Rangitoto from St Heliers.

Chris Guillebeau’s newest book, The Happiness of Pursuit, is all about finding meaning in life through a quest. A quest is bigger than an adventure; it is a series of adventures with a clear end goal. It is challenging and requires a sacrifice of time or treasure. The CTI Co-Active Leadership program ends with designing a quest; however, there was very little information about what form a quest might take. This book fills that void.

The book is full of people’s quest examples. I compared their experiences to my own. 5 years ago I needed a change in my life. The stress and the work treadmill were making me physically sick. Knowing that I needed to make changes was not enough to sustain the redesign needed–like expecting to lose weight while working in a donut shop.

I started with a couple of adventures with Habitat for Humanity, Global Village program. This was a normal extension of the travel volunteering I had done before. I focused on Northern Ireland and, based on other volunteers’ stories, I wanted to do a Jimmy Carter Build. Then HFH selected five countries along the Mekong River for the JC Build and I had friends in Cambodia. So I went on a Jimmy Carter Build in Cambodia hoping that the next step would reveal itself.

Set of Hobbit in New Zealand
Set of Hobbit in New Zealand; Lord of the Rings and Hobbit are both quest movies.

This is the real challenge of a quest figuring how much you need to do and how much you need to leave unplanned for the Universe to fill in the blanks. Much of quest begins and moves forward on intuitive hunches.

While I was on the Cambodia build I met a group of really great New Zealand volunteers. This led to taking a group of Canadian and US volunteers to a build in Wellington. By this time I had more than an inkling that my quest was leading me to live overseas.

New Zealand was love at first sight. My quest began to focus on moving to New Zealand. I spent a year “leaving well.” As far as sacrifice, does selling everything you own count? The thrill of fulfilling a life long dream of living in a foreign country for longer than 10 weeks (my previous stretch) was so exciting that it carried me through the wrenching process of leaving family and a house I had lived in for 25 years.

Once I arrived in Auckland, New Zealand lots of things fell into place—a place to live in St Heliers, a kindred spirit bf, and so many great things. Except a job. Eventually my money and Visa ran out and I found myself flying back to Sacramento on Christmas Day, 2011.

This is the end of the third act of a screenplay called “the all is lost moment.” I really felt confused about my quest. I thought it was about creating a new life overseas and yet I was not able to stay. Within a few months I had a new consulting business and still enjoying a lifestyle that included writing. (Much of this quest is chronicled in my first blog http://redesigning49.com.)

My life is largely redesigned. Yet my quest feels unresolved. I continue to plan adventures and stay open to what comes next.

Best coffee in the world is found in New Zealand. Don't call a Flat White just another latte.
Best coffee in the world is found in New Zealand. Don’t call a Flat White just another latte.

Quest Fiction

A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami. Post-modern tale of a mediocre man’s quest to find a special sheep in the mountains of Japan. The magical realism emphasizes the mystical aspects to a quest. It is the yin and yang of quests: doing and being.

The Hundred Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Wind and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. This Swedish version of Forrest Gump is a tall tale that illustrates how one thing in life can lead to another in a good way if you retain your basic optimism and do not over think situations.