Can we make room for opportunity, inspiration, and contemplation on our travel to-do list?

Our past trips were well planned – with a robust “to-do” list of restaurants, museums, and shops to check-off as we moved along.  That was then. Now, as we drive across the country, we have a weak “to-do” list. We’re enjoying taking opportunities (not always obvious ones) as they present themselves to us.   Usually, we find them more interesting than prescriptions in the travel books.

A case in point was an evening in Houston.  Our friends, Steve and Peggy, took us to Rice University’s campus to see a work by James Turrell, called “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace.  This visit had not been on our “to do” list.  The approach to Skypace was certainly not like any other building we’d been in before.  Grass was banked up around the perimeter with tunnels cut through to enter the interior space.   Walking through the tunnel gave us the feeling of entering a contemplative, light-inspired space.

From seat on lower level

From seat on lower level

If one inspiring building was good, two was better.  The Rothko Chapel, also not on our “to do” list, is a highly recommended place to visit in Houston.  The stated purpose of the chapel is “inspire people to action through art and contemplation, to nurture reverence for the highest aspirations of humanity, and to provide a forum for global concerns.”

The Broken Obelisk by Barnett Newman was centered in a reflecting pool outside the Rothko Chapel. The beauty and calm of this space prepared us for entering the chapel to take time with its paintings.  These fourteen paintings by Mark Rothko were commissioned specifically for the chapel.


Had it not been for Steve and Peggy presenting these opportunities to us, we would have missed an inspiring evening. We’re trying to learn how to open ourselves to opportunities even when our friends aren’t there to point the way.

March 2013

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Trip across the US - 2013 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Can we make room for opportunity, inspiration, and contemplation on our travel to-do list?

  1. Good post. Thank you. We have gotten to the place where we schedule “days off” during our travel. A day to just sit and read a book, get a massage or read a book.

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