Gypsy Bits and Bytes

I’m nursing a serious headache tonight. Everyday a new thread is woven into my travel tapestry. My brain is exploding with constant ideas as each one arrives. While some of this is old news to a few of you, much of it are newfound discoveries to me. I decided to pull a few bits and bytes of the week into one post, in an effort to keep it straight in my head, if not yours.

Bits and Bytes

  • First off, I’m famous! Ted Beattie, a writer for Rolf Potts’ site Vagabonding, zoned in on the concept of post-millennium travel in the article A Parrot in Your Pocket Who Twitters in Your Ear. Ted wrote about Twitter, a platform that melds community and technology into one. So true. I’m an eighties child, so technology included fat, clunky keyboards with a green screen and Atari video games. Remember those? Ted’s article reminded me how I live in both worlds. I enjoy writing in a journal just as much as participating in our hashtag team #RTWsoon. Naturally, my little photo appeared along with Travels of Adam, The Adventures of D, and Twenty-Something Travel. Didn’t someone on Twitter say that travel bloggers aren’t humble? Possibly.
  • Oh, and monetization. If you’re new to the site creation biz like me, it’s time to get excited about two roll-outs.  Dave Lee of Go Backpacking fame is starting a new resource for travel bloggers  – Travel Blog Success. The official opening is February 1. The other is A Little Adrift’s launch
January 29th, 2010|Categories: Life|Tags: |19 Comments

Gypsy Wednesday – iPhone Love

Welcome to Gypsy Wednesday! Every Wednesday, I’ll strive to highlight all the juicy morsels related to travel and beyond.

One night my girlfriend pulled out a Christmas gift to herself – an iPhone.  She began showing me the functionality, flipping through apps, talking excitedly. Meh – I was unmoved. A cell phone is a mobile tool that I can use to text, talk, or have close by in case of an emergency. That’s all.

We dropped the subject and moved on. The next time I saw her, she extracted it from her coat pocket to demonstrate another new app. I actually paid attention. The screen responded to her light touch, “Uh, look at this one, if you’re lost you can use the compass. Or this wifi finder, in case you want to surf.. ” At the end of our social outing, I almost snatched her phone and stuffed it down my pants. An iPhone is the equivalent to electronic masturbation. My lust for this gadget was cemented.

Why I Love It

The truth? I seriously get lost easily. Of course, on this journey I intend to get lost on purpose, but if I end up directionally challenged in Bangkok, a compass could come in handy before I’m ravaged by mangy dogs. Another reason, my fears about staying linked to the world or friends has run out of steam. Here is a product that offers me options in a singular device.

Basic iPhone Features

Without even touching upon apps, a basic iPhone 3G exhibits a terrific starter template for the tech-savvy traveler:

  1. Video Camera: I can shoot, edit, and share all from the phone. Wow!
  2. 3-megapixel camera: My informants tell me the
January 27th, 2010|Categories: Travel Tips|Tags: , , |20 Comments

Why Haiti Matters

I’ve been remiss in not reporting anything about Haiti. My boss reminded me acutely the other day.

“A bunch of structural engineers might head down there to assess if buildings are safe for occupancy.”

“Oh, are you going?”

“I would.. but.. I’m not worried about crumbling buildings falling on me, I’m more worried about the violence.. you know, if they think I’m rich they might get aggressive.. it just doesn’t seem safe. So no, I’m not going.”

I typically enjoy my boss. My entire department is generally good humored and less conservative than one might assume. Instead of ignoring his comment, it nagged me, sat very wrong in my belly.

That’s when Malcolm X sprang to mind:

“We declare our right on this earth…to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.”

My boss’s stance differs from what I’ve witnessed in the travel blogging community.

Julie Schwietert, current managing editor of Matador, has worked tirelessly to piece together updates on how people can contribute. Key posts are Haiti Volunteer Trip and What You Can Do to Help.

Shawn of rerunaround, purposefully derailed a pleasure trip to Japan to devise a relief project.

The most inspiring has to be GotPassport’s article Clarity. Aye is forceful with her position, “Are we losing followers because we are tweeting nothing BUT Haiti Issues? Then so be it! Go walk out the door, you’re not welcome here anymore.” Finally, a woman

January 26th, 2010|Categories: Culture|Tags: , , |9 Comments

Decluttering Update

I am elated to announce the loft bed sold! Here is the beast:

You have no idea, the trials I went through. Ad after ad, a fleeting promise when someone came to view it. Toying with me.

“Oh, it’s perfect. I love the wood. It’s a twin right?” Sister, the ad said double! Don’t you read English??

“I want it for my son’s room, and from the pics it looks spacious underneath.” So close.. yup, it’s ginormous – take it!

“Ohh, but it’s too large for his room.” Insert appropriate %*&@ here.

It can’t be that difficult to sell one item. Maybe it’s Vancouver, could be post-recession guilt to spend money. At this rate, I’ll be selling stuff from my hut in Goa.

Now I’m working on unloading an antique chair and an Asian inspired coffee table.


If you know anybody that adores ancient furniture drop me a line.

My life is composed of sale items now.

  • Books.
  • Clothes.
  • Couch.
  • Donate old computer.
  • Television and DVD player.

What’s most surprising is my emotional reaction as each piece departs. That antique chair, I use to fawn over it, couldn’t imagine parting with her. Today, my attitude altered to a nonchalant shrug. I can buy a new chair someday.  And why am I assigning gender labels to objects? Frankly, I never sat on the chair, it’s shoved in a corner, used primarily for storing books, bills and bags.

Each sale lightens my spirit, every cent earned leaves me tasting freedom. It’s nothing short of fantastic! If you’re currently undergoing a declutter, are you experiencing the same emotions? Tell me in the comments.

January 24th, 2010|Categories: Life|Tags: , , |6 Comments

10 Reasons Why I Suck As a Travel Girlfriend

There could be good reason why I’m single.

  1. I always pick nonsensical, dangerous destinations where you could be decapitated or kidnapped for ransom.
  2. I snore. So loud you’ll open your eyes expecting a 300 pound truck driver next to you. It’s ten times worse when I’m inebriated.
  3. I’ll always make you taste a dish first, in case of parasites or hair.
  4. If I even catch a glimpse of a rat, and let’s face it rats multiply across continents, I will shatter glass with my screams, thereby embarrassing the crap out of you.
  5. I’ll force you to carry the heavy gear. Cause I’m cute and can get away with it.
  6. My sense of direction is tragically bad, which leads to hilarity and serendipitous encounters – NOT.
  7. My bladder is the size of a kidney bean. Example: I demanded that a Thai bus driver stop in the middle of nowhere so I could take care of business during a precarious ride towards the Cambodian border.
  8. If you hanker for an erotic massage after a long day of traveling, forget it. My ex use to call my fingers bone spurs.
  9. I tend to wander aimlessly in markets. Welcome to two new emotions – annoyed and frustrated.
  10. Self-catering? What’s that?

Photo source: Perfect Getaway (2009).

January 22nd, 2010|Categories: Life|Tags: , |26 Comments

Panic Attack

Some days I court the dark waters of panic. Last night was a doozy.

This might crash and burn. Back to the cubicle.

What if monetizing my site is a fool’s errand?

Sure I’ve been previously published (not paid), played with writing since teenage-hood. Frack – what if nobody hires me??!!

I could be too old, unable to hack long days and nights on the road.

I really really really need more savings.

My god, I could end up adrift in Burma with two cents to my name!

And… begin hyperventilating.

My intentions with this site is to pump you up. Then why am I admitting all of this? Because I’m human. At times I must check in with myself.

Our current world is cluttered with apps, digestible articles at 500 words or less, and time limits. This kind of environment leads to reactive decision making. Pressures surround us, so mindless actions follow in a snap.

The last thing I should do is proceed based on hate. Abhorring my job or criticizing people for purchasing homes or cars is wrong. Knee-jerk posturing is pointless and eventually harmful.

As I forge new friendships and am flummoxed that Nomadic Matt asked to be my friend on Travel Blog Exchange, I live with doubts, swim in fear.

Just when I contemplated throwing in the towel, a new reader sent me this email:

“I understand completely.  I am also older, yet keep thinking I need to get out of my job and travel. I admire that you had the courage to do this. The North American cube routing seems hard to give up.  Nice, safe bland life that it is. I feel I would regret leaving it,

January 21st, 2010|Categories: Life|Tags: , |16 Comments