Public spaces in Havana Cuba

Five Days in Havana: Part Two

By Elsie Gilmore

In this post, I will examine the public spaces in Havana, Cuba.

Public Spaces

Communism is a very utilitarian form of government. The dictionary definition of communism is “a political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs.” While nice in theory, this doesn’t seem to be how communism plays out in reality.

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Beautiful buildings in Havana

Five Days in Havana: Part One

By Elsie Gilmore

When I travel, my goal is to wander aimlessly in a city to see how the local people live. Since I’m an urban planning wonk and this blog is about urban living, that’s what I focus on in my travel blogs. This post is the first in a series about my trip to Havana, Cuba.

This first post will be about transportation and infrastructure.

Transportation

I can’t comment too much on transportation as I didn’t experience much of it.

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Minimalist travel

Traveling Light

By Elsie Gilmore

As a minimalist, I always aim for traveling light. I try not to produce much waste on my journey. I bring my own refillable water bottle and reduce my footprint whenever possible.

But for my upcoming 5-day trip out of the country, I also wanted to avoid being burdened down with a lot of “stuff.” I’ve trekked around Europe with a heavy pack, and it can be a pain.

I spent many hours researching bags online.

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Things I thought I couldn't live without

Things I Thought I Couldn’t Live Without (But Now Do)

By Elsie Gilmore

Humans have a habit of getting into habits. We often mindlessly continue to do something, sometimes out of sheer laziness toward investigating other options. Last year I analyzed some of these habits and discovered some very interesting things. It turns out that I was wrong about the things I thought I couldn’t live without.

The Night Guard

When I was 16, I was diagnosed with the dreaded TMJ (short for Tempero Mandibular Joint syndrome).

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The Game Begins

By Elsie Gilmore

You may have seen my post on our Facebook page about the interactive card game I’m playing throughout this year. A gift from my niece, it’s called Play It Forward, and it involves interactions with random strangers who then also get to participate in the game. (Was this a perfect gift for me or what?)

The first card I decided to play seemed like an easy one. It was not.

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Addicted to comfort

By Elsie Gilmore

This morning, I got an email from Indiegogo. It’s their regularly scheduled email filled with the latest and greatest campaigns people are raising money for. As I scrolled down the list of fabulous gadgets, I was reminded that people have become addicted to comfort.

The first item I noticed was a key chain.

Addicted to comfort

As its Indiegogo page indicates, it is a “slim, elegant, tension adjustable key organiser that transforms your keys into a neat and organised stack.”

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Lightness of minimalism

Bearable Lightness

By Elsie Gilmore

I just finished reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, and WOW! There was so much in those pages I could relate to. The book is mostly about relationships and the accompanying burdens. The people in the story who got out of serous relationships experienced the greatest feeling of lightness. They no longer felt they were responsible for someone’s well-being and feelings. They had the freedom to be themselves.

On a broader scale,

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Taking social risk

Taking social risks

By Elsie Gilmore

Many things I do are cause for great consternation among my family members. For example going to Europe by myself for several months, voluntarily giving up owning a car for several years and online dating.

I have always loved people, and I have never been afraid of taking social risks or interacting with people I don’t know.

Early on, I had decided to go to the Democratic National Convention to participate in protests as a Bernie Sanders supporter.

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Florida bugs

Florida Bugs

By Elsie Gilmore

Before I moved to Florida, my northern friends always told me they would never move to Florida because of the bugs. I moved down more than a decade ago, and while I’ve dealt with my share of critters, I never felt overwhelmed by them… until this year.

In the past, I’ve dealt with your average crazy ant infestation, fire ants in the yard, an occasional Palmetto bug (aka cockroach), run-of-the-mill spiders and even black widows (which generally stay out of your way).

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We need nature

We need nature more than nature needs us

By Elsie Gilmore

How we benefit both economically and intrinsically from the presence of and our interactions with nature.

One of my favorite sounds in the whole wide world is the sound of bird calls. The bird call that makes me happiest of all is the call of the Barred Owl. When I lived up north, I would lay in bed and hear the Barred Owl. Try as I might, it was impossible to hear this call without a smile spreading across my lips.

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