My Trip to Armenia and a New Header Photo

You may notice that we have a new header photo here at Get a Leg Up.  You’ll also notice that I haven’t posted anything in over a month.  The two are loosely related–here’s the explanation.

I went to Armenia for a while at the end of August.  It reminded me how my perspective changes when I leave my element and go far away.  When you’re out of your element, “your element” seems pretty far.  And for those who don’t know (most people ask), Armenia is far, far away.  As-in, Minneapolis to New York to Moscow to Armenia far.  In fact, since I get the question a lot, here’s a regional map:

When I returned, nobody could remember where I went, for what are I suspect four primary reasons:

  1. Nobody knows where Armenia is
  2. Armenia has been a part of other countries and states for much of their history (i.e. USSR)
  3. Armenia is smaller than Maryland
  4. Nobody cares where anybody else goes

I think the change in physical location was only half the reason for my changing perspective–the other being obvious cultural differences.  But for much of the trip, I felt like I was looking in on my life, rather than out from my life, if that makes any sense.  I enjoyed revisiting decisions I’ve made regarding career (past and future), work/life balance, and so on, because I seemed possessed of a certain clarity that only comes when I separate myself from the day-to-day chaos of whatever fire needs dousing.

And that’s what I want this blog to do.  When forced to write out my thoughts and ideas, I have to add organization and clarity or they won’t make sense to anyone but me.  And I’m happy to report that I often change my mind or alter my thoughts on a topic because of the time I took to carefully consider my approach to writing about it.  Heck, sometimes I even research new ideas while I’m writing away.  And that’s what gives me a perspective different from the one I live with every day.  And that’s why I changed the header photo.

The old photo was a close-up of dew on grass.  Almost the opposite of perspective.  And it was a stock photo that came with the blog theme, and though good enough for a while, I’ve always wanted my own picture up there.  I wanted a header that means something to me, and to the blog.

Two weeks ago I was up on the North Shore of Minnesota, and experienced another perspective swing.  Today, when looking through my photo folders, I would a picture of the North Shore I took in Hovland, MN maybe 8 years ago.  It’s perfect.  Hovland is about 15 miles south of Canada on the shores of Lake Superior, and about 5 hours away from Minneapolis.  A good retreat, and far enough to change my perspective.  Further, the picture is a landscape, which helps speak to distance-as-precursor-to-perspective.  And it’s a nice picture, too.  Taken in the bitter heart of winter, as I recall, but I love Minnesota winters.

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