I came to traveling late in life. I was in my mid-40s when I took my second trip to Europe. I feel very much at home in Europe. My first European visit was with my fellow high school French students; we went to Paris and northern France. As with most teenagers I was more concerned with my appearance and what others thought about me than with what I could learn and gain from what was around me. That has changed. Today, I research thoroughly the destination and absorb the place once there.
Although I have such a strong love for Europe, its history, art, culture, food and people, the place where I feel most comfortable is Fire Island Pines, only 55 miles from New York City. This photo of the beach at 9am, taken at the start of the 2008 season in May, sets the mood for the peaceful isolation that I have felt in The Pines since my first visit in 1984. Because the island is free of vehicular traffic (except for police and construction workers), accessed by passenger ferry only, it is a world apart. This narrow spit of sand on the southern shore of New York State’s Long Island is where I feel closest to nature and closest to God.