New Ways of Navigating Familiar Territory part three: Old Things Can Get New
Nisalda Gonzalez takes us on a walking tour through an already familiar city with the intention of rediscovering with new eyes. continue down her path in the third installment of her ongoing series.
Old Things Can Get New
I'm a creeper. I love lurking, watching, listening, observing. One of my biggest pastimes when traveling is walking. I go out walkin’, after midnight, out in the moonlight, just like we used to do-- Okay... just kidding... focus… When I’m somewhere new, I walk for hours, typically before or after the main part of the day. I've said it many times: there's something about being up and out when the world around me is asleep and before it wakes. It provokes a feeling I can't describe. The atmosphere, the energy, the sounds are different than when everyone is on autopilot going about their daily routine.
One of my favorite places I’ve visited is Budapest in Hungary, hands down. There, I went for a serious night crawl looking for culture, taking in the night life and following sounds. I've done this many times in many places, but that city kept a piece of my heart. Something about its history, its people and its authenticity won me over. For being old, it felt so new. Hence, it inspired this month’s adventure. I decided to go for some night crawls here in Los Angeles, because a lot of people see this place the way I saw Budapest. I can make this old place new again, right?
I walk a good amount in my normal life, but I don't find myself exploring very much anymore, especially on foot during off hours. I go to the same hideouts and climb the same ol’ trees. I love my spots and I’m grateful to have the escape options, but to capture what I described above, I thought it best to scrape the actual city. I chose to perambulate Venice, Hollywood and my own neighborhood.
Venice: This turned out to be an interesting choice. I've gone a million and one times. I've gone alone, with friends, for work, for play, to walk, to skate, to cycle, to eat. It's a great place. It's a bit gritty and hosts an eclectic range of people. What made this visit different was the intention with which I set out, which was to be a tourist again, to see it from a new angle and try to notice new things about it. Did I? Yes. I noticed an absence of judgement. I laid my back on the cold, smooth pavement at the bottom of the empty skate bowl and noticed how its cement walls blocked out enough light to reveal stars overhead. When I walked the strip along the sand, I felt an odd sense of community. I've always thought of Venice as a go-to spot to kick back and be by the beach. It's definitely that, but also home for a lot of wandering free-spirited folk. It's a place to be an individual and live outside of social norms. I developed a deeper appreciation for it.
Hollywood: Oh, Hollywood. I still hate it. This experiment only confirmed my distaste after seeing obnoxious drunks and rowdy crowds stumbling along the dirty sidewalks where unstable has-beens yelled nasty comments at passers-by. I got heckled for money and parking is an absolute bitch. (I got a parking ticket. 73 Washingtons.) Forgive me if I'm being close-minded. It just had different energy with which I did not vibe. And I promise I decided all of that before finding that citation tucked under my windshield wiper. I now, however, have a gem for when I’m craving giant, fresh-baked cookies. Found that in Hollywood. Oh yes… There’s always a win.
As for my neighborhood, I fell back in love with it. I've been living this on-the-go lifestyle for a while now. Like most people, I've been watching the days come and go while I go through the motions in this cycle of work and errands. Because of this, my neighborhood became the place I'd return to after a long, mindless day and not much more. I don't like that. Taking a night to walk along crooked sidewalks paved in front of beautiful, fairytale homes, noticing how the trees create canopies over the clean streets and seeing fallen leaves and flowers naturally blanket the ground allowed me to feel tranquility and good mood circulating with the breeze. It restored my appreciation for this mundane and for what I have here. I let myself be present. So simple. So perfect.
It’s nice to be reminded that inspiration is all around. And look at me... I didn't need to book a flight to find it.
Nisalda was born in Brooklyn, NY to Dominican parents and raised in the cow fields and woods of central Florida. Her interests include acting, music, nature, art, travel and world culture. Currently based in Los Angeles, follow this late bloomer and her adventures at: