Despite a desire to continue my travels, I convinced myself that Antarctica & South America would still be around in a year or so and decided to head back to the US from Europe to grow my business, see friends and family, and catch my breath. Inspiration propelled me during my entire journey, and my entrepreneurial drive was in full gear. After a successful 2013 session, Parks and People hired me back for the month of July to teach their students GIS so I headed back to Baltimore to pick up where I left off. I was graciously given a room in Hampden and it was a great new perspective of the City. For the previous 5 years I lived in Federal Hill, and welcomed the differences I found in this northern neighborhood: forested running paths along Gwenns Falls, quirky shops, hipsters, and delicious food choices on the Avenue. The neighborhood felt more isolated than my previous residence, but I was lucky that the current client was located withing walking distance. Plus, with a bike and the bus line you could be right back downtown. It almost felt as if I had never left.
During my few weeks back in Baltimore, I attended a wedding at the Museum of Industry (a very cool space), I caught the Mike Dillon Band show at the 8x10 (scared that date away!), attended Baltimore Data Day (many smart people in this City!), enjoyed the Believe in Music Festival in Oregon Ridge Park (amazing music, great cause), rode a borrowed bike in the epic Baltimore Bike Party (bike party!), caught up with friends, and enjoyed great training sessions with 22 of Baltimore's youth. Baltimore had so much going on in both the social and entrepreneurial scene that I never had a free moment. I was even invited to sit in on a great new Hack Baltimore radio show called All The Pieces Matter. A great month for sure, and probably the best I could ask for to start to transition back to this lifestyle.
Many people have asked - "What's it like being back?". I have to admit, it has been quite a transition... I was used to showing up in a place - unsure of language, culture & location of a warm bed - and just figuring it out a day at a time. I went from living out of a backpack, putting on my 'go-to' dress and going, to opening a dresser and thinking "what do I want to wear today?" I went from not knowing where I would find breakfast to walking into a grocery store and being baffled by all of my options - I could put food in a refrigerator and it'd be there in 2 days! Drinking water was safe, yet there was still a filtrated pitcher of clean, cool water in the fridge should I chose to partake. There was an air conditioning unit in my bedroom, a door that closed, a double bed that did not deflate. I was not afraid of bed bugs or scorpions. There were no elephants, no roadside noodle stands, no high speed trains, and no smooth talking Mauritian musicians. I set an alarm on my teaching days, showered in the morning, and wore clean clothes every day. I felt spoiled and lucky. My sense of place and person was so upside down that jumping back on the road seemed like a great option.
There was little mystery to it all, yet everything seemed slightly different. Cars drove on the right side of the road. I did not fall asleep worried about the history of the guy in the room next to mine, and whether I should barrier the door. There was a dog in the house, but she did not have rabies... Weirdest of all? People knew who I was - no more incognito. I walked into the restaurant of a friend, and it was all hugs and catching up. I ran into former colleagues at coffee shops and on the street. I saw old friends at music shows. I didn't say "Where are you from?" to anyone for an entire week! It was incredible, and after missing this for nearly a year it made me realize how very special community can be. My levels of gratitude for life and notably the people I came back to are flying high, and my biggest hope is that I can maintain a predominate attitude of appreciation in my life. Charm City, thank you for a warm welcome! It was a great July, and I have a feeling our relationship is not quite over. Next stop? The City of Brotherly Love... there's a room in Philadelphia calling my name!
Combining a passion for travel, the desire to make a difference and a love of maps, MaggieMaps was born. A place to share stories, resources, and a way to inspire and support others in realizing their individual travel dreams.
WYPR: Interview on 'Baltimore's Future' with David Warnock
Baltimore Social Innovation Journal - Winter 2015
OpenStreetMap US: "Say Hello to Our Argentina Scholars"
Unless otherwise noted, all prose, poetry, maps and photography posted on this blog are Copyright 2013 Maggie Maps
Blogs I like