While blazing sunsets, towering mountains, and white beaches proclaim their majesty too loudly to be ignored, there are subtle things, no less delightful, that bring joy to those who experience them: a fresh bowl of watermelon on a hot summer day, a squirrel searching for a place to hide a nut, raindrops running down a window pane. We can find small joys everywhere, so long as we keep our eyes and hearts open.
One of the many pleasures of being part of ARV is hearing the stories of staff, clients, and community members as they travel, dream and hope. We wanted to create this magazine as a platform for these stories to be shared, without advertisements, in a way that provides an enjoyable reading and visual experience, while building on our deeply curious and inspiring community.
Rain is necessary, beautiful, and life-giving. While rain on a nice warm day can be refreshing, with puddles in which to splash and clouds under which to dance, sometimes, it can be harsh, soaking into your soul and leaving you shivering from the cold. This issue is for the people who saw someone in need, and provided relief and a safe haven from the storms without and within.
The unpredictability of life can provide us with unexpected moments that transform into some of our fondest memories, from exciting discoveries on back roads, to stumbling across a deer on the mountainside of Ireland. As you read this issue, think about the lovely treasures, both physical and emotional, that have surprised you and enriched your life. Check out the website for the magazine: <https://www.ethnospheremagazine.com/>
In our constant endeavor for perfection, how fortunate are we that beauty exists equally in the imperfect? The nature of life is cycles and change. In each experience, no matter the flaws or the impermanence, strive to bask in the beauty, and in each human, just as flawed and impermanent, do the same.
Each heart finds freedom in its own way and place. For one islander, it is experienced while holding her breath under the ocean for as long as her lungs can withstand. For a spirited young man in France, it is in the thrill of parkour and stunt work. For a traveling couple, Cades Cove teaches them lessons on freedom. Read their stories, get lost in the photography, and let your mind ponder what it is that makes your own heart feel free.
Seldom while traveling does everything go perfectly smoothly, and speed bumps and obstacles along the way are unavoidable. While some are more catastrophic than others, very few are funny in the moment. They can certainly make for great stories and lots of laughter after. This issue is all about laughing at the mishaps of travel and sharing that particular kind of joy.
With all life comes loss, and with loss, its companion: longing. Whether it's the loss of a brother, youth and an able body, someone you never had the chance to meet, or the longing to revisit childhood or see your country restored to prosperity, these phenomena are an inescapable part of life. In this issue, we explore this aspect of humanity in hopes that, by sharing the unique ache in each of our hearts, we may find the beauty that exists within the pain, and comfort in the universality of the feeling.
What sets your soul ablaze so fiercely it cannot be ignored? In this issue, we explore stories of people who pour their hearts into what they love, from a chef embarking on a new professional journey, to a photographer sharing his photos and insight, a twenty-eight year old pursuing his dream of becoming a professional football player, a gentleman from Indiana traveling the country tasting every pork tenderloin sandwich he can get his hands on, and a short story of the daughter of Icarus on her quest to reach the pegasi. We hope these stories remind you to chase your dreams, and never give up on your passions.
We may never travel to Tir na nÓg, the land of eternal youth and joy in Irish mythology, but a similar magic exists in our world. In this issue, we see it in a couple, just a decade shy of a century, who decides to start a new adventure, in a woman returning to a special place from her grandmother’s past, in three men connected by road trips decades apart, and in a beautiful garden kept alive by the love and hardwork of volunteers, along with two short stories inspired by Irish fairy tales. We invite you to make yourself a cup of tea, sink into a comfortable couch, and settle into the magic.
In the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, “Not all tears are an evil.” Commuovere is an Italian word which means to be moved to tears, in a heartwarming way, by someone or something. Join us in our second issue and read the stories of a husband and wife who moved to the United States from Italy to create a better life for their family, how the implementation of the 4-day work week has impacted and shaped the lives of the ARV team, and the touching experience of rescuing baby sea turtles. We hope this issue reminds you of your own moments when the tears you shed were from more than sadness.
In this issue, we explore new beginnings and drastic life changes in the stories of two people who united through their grief and set out on a sprawling adventure, a former homeless man/cocaine addict who turned his life around with some help, and a new employee as she starts her journey at ARV.