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Volume 15, Issue 28 ~ July 12 - July 18, 2007


Changes of Latitude and Attitude

Here at 38 degrees 44.64 minutes latitude, 76 degrees 33.59 minutes longitude, things look pretty much the same — despite occasional surprises like the unicyclist who just crossed the bridge over the creek outside the window.

Change your latitude, and you change your attitude.

That’s the mind-expanding experience of travel. That’s the reason summer comes as a blessing. It brings vacation, when we vacate our usual ways of being for opening our eyes and seeing. Through the open mind, new possibilities blow like evening breezes.

Yes, we’ve just been out on vacation, visiting new minutes of latitude and longitude on Chesapeake Bay. On our journeys, we visited the sister towns of Solomons and Oxford. Each place showed us new ways to live more richly and sustainably — and have a good time.

Don’t you love it, for example, when you visit a spot that’s made the most of its place on Earth, as Solomons has with Calvert Marine Museum and Oxford has with its ferry that takes you from here to there. Places like that you can imagine yourself living. Except you’re so eager to get home and try out the new ideas you’ve picked up like souvenirs.

We’re not the only ones freshening up our attitudes.

Columnist Steve Carr has been traveling, too. His trip to Niteroi — Annapolis’ newest, Brazilian, sister city — crossed degrees as well as minutes of longitude and latitude. The experience filled him so full of ideas that instead of his usual column, he wrote a feature story three times as long.

Sister cities do that to you, he explains this week. They blow your mind. Fresh thinking is why Annapolis has such a big family of sister cities, 10, stretching from South America (Niteroi) and Canada (Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia), to Africa (The Gambia) to China (Hunan) and Russia (Kronstadt) across Europe (Talinn, Estonia) to France (Rochefort) and the British Isles (Dumfries, Scotland; New Port, Wales; and Wexford, Ireland).

Many of the latter of those sister cities are stops on Annapolis Mayor Ellen Moyer’s month-and-a-half summer vacation — after she ships across the Atlantic. Talk about changing attitude. She’ll be going all the way to where longitude begins, at Greenwich, England. Annapolis won’t look the same when she gets back. She’ll see how our capital city shines, but also how it can do better. That’s the kind of vision we need to live a public life that’s rich and sustainable.

Like Moyer, like Carr, like us, you’re probably changing your own latitude and bringing home your own suitcases full of new ideas. We’re hoping you’ll share your souvenirs. Write your bright ideas for sustainable living in about 250 words. Send them, and a picture of you or what you’ve seen, to With your inspiration, we’ll launch Changes of Latitude and Attitude as a new occasional column.

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