The Year in Travel


If you’re on Facebook (ah the demon facebook, how I love yet hate you) you have probably seen that game “The Year in Status”. It takes two status updates from each month of the previous year and makes them into a huge collage, and gives you a great snapshot of what was on your mind as the year went by. I’m proud to see that my Antione Dodson obsession popped up in multiple months.

I thought I’d do a similar snapshot of all my travel from 2010, to see how many of my travel goals I met and think about my fantasy trips going forward. In chronological order, then, I give you:

2010: On The Road.

January – Columbia and Hartsfield, South Carolina – February – West Palm Beach, Florida, and Jobos, Puerto Rico – March – nowhere, sadly – April – Franklin, Indiana, and Anderson, South Carolina – May – Flowery Branch, Georgia – June – stayed home – July – was supposed to go to Brazil, but wussed out – August – Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Montreal – September – still in Canada, plus somewhere in South Carolina AGAIN – October – London – November – Paris, Brussels, Oslo, and Stockholm (18 hours each) – December – Tampa, Florida (wanted to go to the Bahamas, but nooooo)

Not as much as I expected, actually, and not a patch on 2008, when I actually forgot where I lived at one point, but not to bad. It helps to bear in mind that I travel a lot for work, and so at least half the places listed were work trips – hence the London-Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam-Oslo-Stockholm throwdown that wound up the year, seven – no, six – cities in nine days. I now know what bands on tour feel like. And some of the Georgia travel was not very far, such as Flowery Branch, which is all of an hour from Atlanta, but was for work, and helped me go to a place called “Out of my Mind” for two weeks.

Pressing forward to 2011, here’s the travel dream list:

February: Puerto Rico, for our annual couple’s week away
March: Morrocco, a trip I’ve been trying to take for three years
Sometime in the late spring: St. Lucia, just because I can
September: India
December: Bahamas or the AVI for christmas

In the same 12 months I have to: work, so as to PAY for all this; move, as my boyfriend is buying a house and I will be relocating there; go to NYC to see the Met for the first time in 10 years; go to Canton, Ohio, to see the football hall of fame (low priority) and go down to Tampa, Florida at least three times to see my folks, who live there, because I promised I would, and so that when I go to the Carribean for Christmas no one can complain. They’ll complain anyway, but their arguments will be invalid. And ineffective.

Where are YOU planning to go in 2001?

By the way, the photo at top is of Greenland, taken as I flew home from the rock n roll Euro Tour in November. You can actually see the mountains poking thru the snow. So I guess I can claim to have been there, too?

Photo of the Week: Happy New Year! Edition



Sending you off into your first workaday Monday of 2011 with some floral fireworks, courtesy of the Farmer’s Market stalls in Montreal. Bright, colorful, and non-noisy, unlike real fireworks, which might upset some of the still-hung-over among us. Not that I’m judging, or looking at you, Pickles.

Happy 2011! In the words of Kito, from the epic – epic! Step up 3 in 3D, I say to you, don’t just make it work – “Kick some ASS!”

Photo of the Week: the Quick Like a Bunny edition

view to sea



This is a short and sweet entry, as I am suddenly realizing that my upcoming trip to see friends in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is coming up in ten days and I have done exactly zero planning, and today I found out I am flying to Kansas City next Wednesday. Hope Delta doesn’t lose my luggage this time.

Halifax looks fun, though, and will hopefully get me out of the godawful Georgia heat for a week. I’m ending up my trip in Montreal and flying back from there, so I’ll get a nice cross section of Eastern Canadian-isms. (My flight to Halifax includes a hotly anticipated two-hour layover in Detroit, which is a cross-section I could do without.)

Photo! This is from Puerto Rico, the view north out of the El Yunque Rainforest (only rainforest that is part of the USA! Go see it!) down through the mist to the coast, which you can just see in the distance. If you are going to IslaVieques – and you should be, right now, and if I weren’t going to Halifax I’d go with you – the entrance to the rain forest is on the right hand side of Highway 3, right before Luquillo. That’s right, the only American rain forest has a drive-thru! Because that’s how we roll. Literally in this case.

Go there. You’ll thank me.

Photo of the Week: the Chill Out, Already edition




Whee! Hard to believe that a mere 5 months ago I was going out to my yard and marveling at everything being covered by snow and ice, like all the trees were being dipped in that jar that you made rock candy with when you were a kid. And that in 2 months it will be fall, and I will be able to go outside without an oxygen tank and/or a personal dehumidifier, and breathe the cool air of autumn. I love the south, but by god I am so glad that I live in the part that has seasons, as opposed to Florida, where I grew up. There they have two seasons: summer, and not summer. Summer is when you stick to the tarmac in the parking lot. Not Summer is… summer. But less sticky.
A friend of mine sent me a photo of snow in Yosemite he took a few years back and said he was meditating on it to cool the brain. Here’s my version (his is much more artistic and, also, in focus). With everyone going nutty in the heat, I figure we can all use it.
Meditate, be calm, chill. Repeat.

The Big Move





So my boyfriend showed up last night with the news that his ongoing struggles with his bank to get pre-approved for a home loan have finally borne fruit, and he can start making offers on houses. This worries me.

A little backround: about a year ago, he became obsessed with the idea that he was going to buy one of the multitude of foreclosed houses in our city, so that we could live together, have more space, lower our bills, all that good stuff. (I was originally thinking that there would be a wedding ring somewhere in that equation as well, but I’ve since disabused myself of that notion.) He began working with a banker, we looked at a bunch of houses (from the outside), and he began thrashing thru the paperwork. Since it was his project, I’ve kind of stayed out of it. And that’s where things have stood, for about a year.

Suddenly this mortgage-approval-thingy has been, well, approved, and suddenly the “moving into a new house” idea has become One Step More Real.

I am not at all sure I like this.

I like my house, though it’s clearly too small for both of us. I like the location. I like the neighbors, except for the psychos who made me get rid of my chickens, and they have the sense to keep to themselves. I like that I’m five minutes from the farmer’s market. I like the huge yard, even though I hardly use it, and I like the deep, arching trees that go back to the woods. I like my landlord, who lives in upstate New York and could care less if I keep bees and paint the house purple, as long as I don’t burn it down.

This moving thing, I don’t know. I don’t think it will save money (I’ve moved lots of times, and I can painfully remember cleaning out my bank account to move into this house). I don’t like the idea of adjusting my indoor-outdoor cat to a new (albeit safer) neighborhood. I don’t like being outside the perimeter, like some suburban square. And I will lose my Mexican joint, which is an outpost of the local Los Bravos chain that I eat lunch at at least twice a week. Everyone needs a place like this – the one you go all the time, and they don’t even bring you the menu any more, they just bring you your usual, and you can go in alone and not get the hairy eyeball for taking up a booth by yourself (in fact you have “your” booth) and you can go in looking nice or go all ratty in track pants, claiming you just came from the gym, when everyone knows you actually are coming off a three-day sudafed bender in Las Vegas and you need your fajitas NOW. I don’t like the idea of disassembling my entire life, putting it in boxes, taking it to another place, and trying to reassemble it, only to find that there are bits that you are missing. And they were never things that fit in boxes to begin with.

Probably I am just saying that I don’t like disruptions of my routine, and I should look forward to this exciting new household chapter, full of challenges and changes and positive things. A quieter street! An office that’s not in the living room! Space for more shoes!

I don’t like this… at all.

Rose photo above, from somewhere in Spain. I love the warmth of this photo and the slightly melancholy lean of the roses – are they waiting for a princess? – and I would tell you where I took it but I have gone off coca-cola again, to try to be healthy, and my brain is rewarding me by turning into a sponge, and I’m sucking down green tea in a desperate attempt to stay caffeinated and not sink into the throes of withdrawl. So you’re out of luck. It’s probably in Granada, though.

Photo of the Week: Sausalito Summer Nights edition




Monday! Trying to get this post up before the summer heat utterly, competely drains me of motivation and leaves me on the couch gasping for air, with only the energy to munch TerraChips.

This is a room off of one of the main halls in the Alahambra, in Grenada, Spain. Apparently, where we would put a broom closet or a panel of electrical fuses, the Moors felt the need to put a handmade fountain in a tiny, ethereal space, with zilj tile and a view of the Andalusian countryside. Which we would do, too, if we didn’t need a space to keep those brooms and fuses. This one is a little worse for wear, but I am putting it up because I am searching for a new studio space and the ones I have seen have been, shall we not say, diamonds in the rough. Man, are they rough. So I am using this photo to convince myself that with a little paint and curtaining and TLC, one of them can become the “room of one’s own” that we’re all supposed to have. Wish me luck!

And when you clean out your broom closet to make a niche like this one, bring me the broom. Boy, am I gonna need it.

Oh, and Sausalito Summer Nights is a totally cheesy 80’s pop song that came out one summer when I was in, like , 7th grade. I love it, and you can listen to it here: Diesel


Photo of the Week – now with more daylight!

boat in tunnel



I had a different photo planned for today, a lovely Parisian sunset that was going to perfectly capture the longest day of the year. But when I went to get it out of my digital filing cabinet I found this one, and decided to run it instead.

These are the Bateau Mouches (I am totally murdering this spelling), the big, flat-bottomed boats that you can pick up at various places on the Seine and take a water-borne tour in. They pass the Louvre, the Musee de Orsay, and usually make a U-turn at the Eiffel Tower. Completely, utterly touristy, so of course I can’t get enough of it. The night version of the tour is infinitely better than the day version, since the city is all lit up around you, glowing and romantic. The romantic part is wasted on me, since I always go to Paris alone, but the lighting – c’est magnifique.

This photo is taken just as we slip under one of the many bridges of Paris. You can see on this ride there aren’t many people up top – it was March, I think, and totally freezing – but I once took the very latest ride of the night (yes, I’ve gone more than once) and was grateful that I was virtually the only person on board, since I was feeling a bit of alone-in-Paris melancholy – when at the last instant a herd of schoolkids got on board, at least 25 kids. They all poured noisily onto the upper deck and my first thought was, “AAAAARGH”.

But you know what? they totally made the trip. They were French kids – so much for the theory that no French people ride the boats – and they were so innocently excited, scampering and laughing and going “whooooooo” every time we passed under a bridge, to test the acoustics – that it was like being on a field trip with the Harry Potter kids, a sensation amplified by the pre-teen Hermione look-alike sitting in front of me, whispering urgently in another kid’s ear. I spent the whole ride giggling at (with) them, enjoying their antics, and when the boat nosed up to the dock I was actually sorry to see them go.

But I wasn’t even concious of being alone anymore. And for that, tiny french children, I say merci.