Monthly Archives: November 2011

2012 Ticket #indie30

Today is the final prompt of the BootsnAll indie writing project.

Where are you going in 2012?  Why is that place great for indie travelers?  

Somewhere cool.

Stay tuned.


One Word #indie30

One word is the 29th prompt of BootsnAll’s indie travel writing project.

What does travel mean to you in one word?

I couldn’t have written this any better. Take a read at what Adam Seper says. I concur.


Love affair #indie30

Love affair is the 21st prompt of the month-long BootsnAll indie writing project.

When we travel, our senses are heightened. We feel more alive and we’re more free to do things we might not at home. We can be who we want. There’s an air of urgency to everything we do – we know our time here, in this place, and with these people, is limited. If we want to do something, we have to do it now. It’s no wonder then that many travelers have relationships on the road. Tell us about a “special someone” you met while traveling. 

My love affair on the road is with the city of London.

It was my first time crossing the pond, and I was moving there. For six months. As soon as I arrived, I had fallen in love.

I knew my time was limited and I wanted to experience as much as I could. So I did.

I loved everything about the city. I loved Trafalgar Square, I loved trying to figure out the A to Zed maps, I loved seeing the little schoolgirls walk two by two in their school uniforms on their way to school in the morning, I loved the history. I loved the accents. I loved the pizza place on the corner of my street that would invite me in, pour me wine while I waited for an order I hadn’t even placed. I loved the Crunchy candy that you could find in the vending machines in the tube stations. I loved walking in the spitting rain. I loved going to pubs and I loved eating crisps in lieu of dinner. I loved jacket potatoes (remember, I was broke). 

I loved the National Portrait Gallery. I loved the Tate Modern. I loved crossing the Thames every day from my flat in Battersea. I loved buying a monthly pass because it meant that I lived there. I loved Covent Garden. I loved peeping into the open windows of beautiful flats in Notting Hill on my way to work in Holland Park. I loved walking on Oxford Street pretending to be able to afford the clothes inside the shops.

I loved the proximity to the continent. I loved riding in black cabs. I loved meeting new people and making new friends. I loved that I learned to bartend and I love that I was unemployed. I loved that I handed out flyers on the street (now I loved that, not so much when I had to do it) and I loved that I found a job with wonderful people who helped me explore the city I loved. I loved London.

Now that I’m a worn-down exhausted city-dweller, I wonder if I would still love London. Me thinks yes.

“No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” — Samuel Johnson


Home #indie30

Home is the thirteenth prompt of the BootsnAll indie writing project.

For some people, no matter how much they love traveling, there’s always no place like home. Other travelers make their homes wherever they happen to be. Tell us about your home – where is it and why do you consider it your home? 

This is an easy answer. Home is where my toiletries are in containers larger than 3 ounces.


Transit #indie30

Transit is prompt 22 of the November BootsnAll indie writing project.

How’s this: NYC subway –> AirTrain –> plane –> bus –> train –> bus –> rental car –> Siena, Italy

I had found a great deal – JFK to Milan for the boyfriend and I. Our southernmost destination was going to be the Tuscan countryside. The nearest airport was Florence. Second closest was Rome. Oops. Or not.

We had left late afternoon from Midtown Manhattan. We took the subway to the Air Train to catch our Milan bound flight.

Once we arrived in Milan on our overnight flight (keep in mind the boyfriend doesn’t do well on overnight flights), we had to jump on a bus that would take us to the train station where we would catch a train to Florence.

The train ride from Milan to Florence was just shy of three hours, and when we arrived in Florence, we actually had to get on another bus to go to the airport to pick up our rental car.

Then we had to drive (keep in mind I don’t drive stick) to the Tuscan countryside.

We were checked in late afternoon. We walked around Sienna and had decided to head back to the hotel to eat at the restaurant in the basement. Sounds gross, but it was a Tuscan basement with cafe tables and cobblestone walls. The meal was delicious and the proximity of the bed we were to crash in was well well worth it.

In case you got lost on all the modes of transport, here it is:

NYC subway –> AirTrain –> plane to Milan –> bus to Milan train station –> train to Florence –> bus to Florence airport –> rental car –> Siena, Italy


Budget #indie30

Budget is the 18th prompt of the BootsnAll indie writing project.

Every traveler has a budget; for some it just might be higher of lower than for others What’s your style? What do you spend very little on and what are you always willing to pay more for?

I’m willing to splurge on experiences. After all, what’s the point of being somewhere if you can’t take it all in?

Sleep = bed and breakfasts keep the cost low, and get you more immersed in the local life.

Food = eating in markets, or restaurants that locals frequent are usually much cheaper, and better, than tourist places, or places with menus in many languages, or in key tourist locations.

Experiences = and well worth the splurges.


Along for the ride

“We all like to think that we have some control over the events in our lives, and a lot of the time we can fool ourselves into thinking that we really are in charge. But then something happens to remind us that the world runs by its own rules and not ours and that we’re just along for the ride.” – Taken (Sci-Fi movie)

Be thankful for what you’ve done, where you’ve been and where you are going this Thanksgiving.


Quote #indie30

Quote is the 14th prompt in the BootsnAll indie travel writing project.

I wrote about my favorite travel quotes in a recent post.

Since they are great quotes, and worth repeating, here is the post in its entirety once again:

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Check out Matador’s 50 most inspiring travel quotes of all time. My personal favorites include:

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener

I love this next quote and I hope my writing gets this across. The unknown allows us all to experience things outside of our comfort zones. When taken out of that familiar setting, something as simple as buying a knee brace will require effort and patience to get it done. It’s the lack of familiarity, and assumed ease, that makes the experience – behind door number one, two or three that much more exciting.

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson (who is one of my favorite travel writers)

I have mentioned this quote in a previous post

“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clifton Fadiman

And this quote applies to life in general, it is not exclusive to travel.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain


One day #indie30

The prompt for the BootsnAll indie writing project is ‘one day.’

I can’t limit myself to just one because I had two perfect travel days this past year.

1. Seeing my grandma’s face light up when I surprised her in Florida this past July for her 81st birthday.

2. Seeing my sister freak out when I showed up in Arizona earlier this month to celebrate her 30th birthday weekend.

Both times I had trouble sleeping all week in utter excitement. As each of the flights neared their destination, I had butterflies in my stomach and couldn’t wait to get on the ground!

The excitement from the plane was similar to how I felt when I was getting ready to land in Ushuaia, but that was excitement for the unknown. These surprises were known. To me. I knew that by making a surprise appearance, I would make two very special women extremely happy.

That’s the magic of air travel.


Kindness #indie30

Another prompt from BootsnAll’s 30 day indie writing project: kindness.

I have encountered so much kindness on my travels…

1 – After spending a day hiking the Petito Moreno Glacier, I busted my knee but good. Self diagnosis: Knee brace! So that evening, the owners of the b&b where we were staying no only gave me several ice packs but taught me the word for knee in Spanish. At the pharmacy, the lovely ladies kicked the male pharmacist out of the back room and they patiently helped fit me.

Yes, I was in the back of the pharmacy with no pants on as these women were checking to see which brace would fit me best. They also helped me walk around the pharmacy which was probably no bigger than a small New York City studio apartment to ensure that I purchased the right medicine…thankfully the spelling of ibuprofen in Spanish is very similar to that in English. The pink liquid with the cartoon on front was the dead giveaway that it was for kids…just what I needed.

2 – I did need the ibuprofen and knee brace for the horse back riding we would be doing later that day. I had never ridden a horse before, and certainly never attempted to ride a horse with a busted knee. I was very nervous and I asked one of the women at the b&b if I fell or hurt myself that she would join us in the ER. She agreed. Thankfully she didn’t need to and I survived. Just knowing that we would have back up in the ER for my Spanish made me feel a little better.

3 – In Croatia, we were heading to hike Plitvice Lakes National Park on the only rainy day of our trip.

We met a couple at breakfast in the kitchen of the b&b who had hiked the park the prior day and were heading out to their next destination. The boyfriend and I had not even thought about raincoats, and this couple easily handed over their plastic ponchos to us.

The unexpected kindness that one encounters on travels certainly adds to the experience and the memories. Sure, we still got soaked, and yes, I was still petrified of landing in an Argentinian emergency room but the unexpected kindness that one experiences is never forgotten, as it becomes part of the story from the adventure.