Journey to New York & Whirlwind Week

After leaving Longus snorting.. er.. sleeping happily away at 5:30 am, I stumbled out of my room to grab a cab back to Bangor’s bus station.  The next leg of my overland journey would total 11 hours of bus time.  My call to the front desk the night before was a small victory after losing out on a cheap room at Motel 6.

“Yes, we can arrange a cab for you.  It’s a complimentary cab as our guest at Ramada.”  Sweet relief on the budget.

Come 6:00 am I grew nervous because the bus was due to leave at 6:30.  Greyhound has been known to arrive early.  After cajoling the young man at the front desk to inject some new life into my cab request, it finally arrived at 6:10.

I hopped in barking at the guy to hurry up, when he cheekily pointed out the empty streets.  Heh.  I always get a little jumpy about missing a bus or train, so sue me.

Maybe my panic was justified, once we pulled up they were already loading.  Another mad dash to board before I was left behind with a gigantic statue of Paul Bunyan.

Bus rides for me are punctuated by zoning out, listening to neglected music, or sleeping.  I cannot, for the life of me, write.  That’s how I whittled away hours on the bus, between quick sprints to the restroom or snacking.

Eventually we made it through Massacheustus and onto Boston, where I had to disembark for 45 minutes at South Station.

The few visuals I saw of Boston intriuged me, seems like a place worth exploring one day.  It felt expansive, a city tangled in tradition and loyalties.

Awareness level was down after a spotty sleep, let’s just say I looked less than perky.

After reboarding at South Station, my seat mate was a tried and true easterner, he pronounced it Bawwston.  Made me giggle.  He offered some tips on New York, having lived there for 8 years, even pointed out some neighborhoods as the bus wormed further into the bowels of New York.  Always great to get insider information.

As for the city that embraces action and friction, the last time I was here I was 10 years old!

My childhood memories were many firsts.  I saw my first large scale city.  I unintentionally saw American Gigolo, an R rated film, but was thwarted by my Uncle.  I officially became a woman.  That sticky substance in my pants wasn’t due to a humid summer and unforgiving polyester.  Life had arrived.

So had New York this time around.  When I got to the Port Authority I felt swallowed by an urban snake.  Loud, smelly, brash and bold.  It was fantastic.

It took some coordination to find my cousin.  After some hurried texts and a phone call, we finally met on a bustling corner off 8th Avenue.  A congregation of humans enveloped me, along with the call of the urban wild.  Car horns, drivers stopping and starting, fleets of taxis, concrete buildings thick as a forest, and the people.  Imagine gathering a random cross-section of statistics based on gender, ethnicity, income level and street toughness into one pot of stew.

My first two nights would be spent in Queens, one of the five Burroughs.  As my cousin maneuvered in traffic, we experienced a few near fatal accidents. It felt akin to an intense 3-D film or a hardcore video game.  I had forgotten the functions of big, city life.  Reminder noted.

The Queens Bridge was backed up solid, even on a Saturday night, so we had to take an alternate bridge.  All in all, it took a neat 2 hours to make it to what is common in Canada: quiet, tree lined streets filled with mid-size homes.  Equipped with tidy strip malls, of course.

The final few days were spent in Manhattan with my Aunt and Uncle.  Walking the streets destroyed my feet, but lifted my resolve.  I had promised myself to do 1 thing a day, not waste time.  It reminded me of those first threads of planning this dream trip.  Life shouldn’t be wasted, yet we do.  Time is precious, but we spoil it.

Grand things were seen.  The old favorites of Central Park, gawking at Times Square, art appreciation.  The newness of meeting fellow travel bloggers.

America has always struck me as a place of extremes.

New York is a beast to reckoned with.  The subway can be a quagmire, the congested air a stress on the lungs.  But what I saw in all this division is a common thread.  People will help (except cabbies).  Numerous times I observed a native assisting another native, showing them how to navigate Canal Street or 86th and Lexington.  Even which subway to take back uptown.  It wasn’t just me, a very obvious tourist, but each other.

As I hobbled from the Metropolitan Museum of Art today, chomping on a pretzel what surrounded me was a spiritual glow.  Sunset was approaching, a nippy wind touched my skin.  I was heady with a city that affects you, whether negative or positive.

My short, adult stay confirmed something: I love New York.

Travel blogger in photo: Shawn of Rerunaround.

By |October 29th, 2010 |Categories: New York |16 Comments

What Your Big Sister Never Told You About Travel

Today’s guest post is by Jessalyn Pinneo of Diary of a Wandering Student.  More and more, young women are tossing away fear and taking up the challenge of overseas travel.  Many are doing this alone.  It’s something I eagerly applaud, but young women need more than encouragement.  What’s absent is the honest advice that your loved ones might exclude.  Jessalyn explains.

Sister llama's

When you tell someone you’re thinking about traveling over the summer break or after college, they usually want to talk about what a great time they had wherever you’re going or how envious they are that you’re heading somewhere they’ve always wanted to visit.

What almost no one talks about is the awkward side of travel, especially for young women heading off on extended trips. But we’re going to fix that!

Think of this post as a no holds barred guide from your big sister, what she should have told you about traveling if she hadn’t been so excited about your trip. (And guys? Think about all of this before you complain about peeing behind a rock again. Dude, you have it so easy.) Some of these tips have a solo traveler bent to them, but they all apply to any kind of travel as a woman.

1.  Lose the Self-Consciousness

In the “normal” world, we spend a lot of time worrying about what other people think. When traveling, you expend more than enough energy getting from place to place, communicating in an unfamiliar culture and keeping yourself safe without worrying about what you look like or who’s going to notice your B.O. when you’ve spent the past 13 hours on a bus and haven’t had access to a shower in days. Do what you need to stay safe and moderately comfortable, and don’t worry about how many people may have spent half a second wondering why you needed to ask directions to the bus station half a block away.

2.  Aunt Flo isn’t Going Anywhere – Plan Accordingly

Remember that beach trip you took when you tried to use a tampon for the first time and you couldn’t get it out and hyperventilated in a dirty beach bathroom for twenty minutes? (No? Maybe that was just me…) Getting your period on vacation is never ideal, but when you’re going to be traveling for more than a month, it’s a fact of life. Whether you use pads, tampons or The Diva Cup, do your research on which of the places you’re visiting will sell them and decide if you’re okay trying out unfamiliar brands. If not, figure out what you’ll need and pack it (gallon Ziploc bags or even plastic grocery bags are great for keeping everything in one place and cutting down on the space taken up by the original packaging). As an alternative to packing six boxes of Tampax, nail down one address and the dates you’ll be there for every few months in your itinerary and arrange to have care packages shipped by a friend or relative. If you can, buy what you’ll need before you leave, box it up, address it and just leave a reminder with your friend of when you’d like it dropped off at the post office.

3.  Voulez-vous Coucher Avec Moi Ce Soir?

If you’re single and traveling for long periods of time, it’s likely that you’ll meet someone you’re interested in (even if the only phrase you’ve mastered in his or her language is “Excuse me, do you speak English?”). Attraction doesn’t necessarily require much forethought, but staying safe does. If you take hormonal birth control, it’s a) a good way to be sure of the date of Aunt Flo’s next visit and b) a step toward protecting yourself during your fling with a flamenco dancer. Whether or not you’re on the Pill, condoms are next on the list. As with everything else, condom customs and availability vary from country to country, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be 100% comfortable (and 99.98% safe) with what you and your partner are doing when any kind of sex is involved. So pack your preferred brand and be sure to pull one out early on in any sexual encounter. And honey, if he won’t wear one or pretends not to understand, he isn’t worth your time, just like at home.

4.  Keep Up With Your Medications

The most common questions about medication for women revolve around the Pill, so let’s start there. Places like Planned Parenthood in the U.S. will let you buy up to a year’s supply of birth control pills as long as you get a pap smear first, and many pharmacies now offer a three-month supply of the Pill as a standard option with a valid prescription. Pharmacy prices vary (and generics are always cheaper): expect to pay anywhere from $10-$30+ for a one-month supply or $20 and up for three months, depending on your insurance situation. Funding for clinics like Planned Parenthood varies drastically from one region to the next: in California, you may just be asked to make a voluntary donation of whatever you can afford for the pap smear and the Pill (if you can provide a valid California address), while in Virginia you’ll be responsible for the full cost of the exam and $25+ per Pill packet. The bottom line, with the Pill or any other medication, is that during an extended trip is not the time you want to have medical or prescription issues, so discuss your trip thoroughly with a doctor beforehand. He or she should be able to answer any of your questions about medication and general health while traveling, and give you advice based on your personal medical history.

5.  Be the Smart, Self-Aware Woman You Are

Part of traveling successfully as a woman is luck, but most of it is paying attention to the situations in which you put yourself. Trust your intuition: if something feels off, even if you can’t figure out why, get away from whatever it is that’s triggering your internal alarm. Keep your senses on high alert, especially if you’re traveling alone. This means keeping the partying to a minimum, too. There’s nothing wrong with having a good time, but you can’t stay alert if you’re looking at the world through margarita goggles. Stay at least one drink below your limit at all times (if you don’t know your limit, it’s best to keep it to one or two drinks in an evening) and never, ever let your drink out of your sight. If you put it down for a second and turn your back, consider it opportunity cost and order a fresh one or switch to water. Staying so in tune with what’s going on around you can be tiring, but staying safe and making your trip an experience you’ll never forget for all the best reasons, rather than the worst, is worth it.

Most important of all: don’t forget to enjoy every moment! Even the ones that don’t go as planned. Worry about the details and get them sorted out before you go, so that you can focus on experiencing new places, people and cultures once you get started. The memories you make when traveling are priceless, and you’ll keep them forever. Each day of travel is a once-in-a-lifetime experience; revel in making the most of every one.

About the Author

Jessalyn is a student in the classroom and of the world.  In 2011, she starts her post-graduate work in Australia.  Join her current and upcoming adventures at her site or talk to her on Twitter: Nomad_Student.  P.S. She also gives terrific advice!

Photo: Bailey Rae Weaver

By |October 27th, 2010 |Categories: Life |25 Comments

Flight Risk in Bangor

The Acadian bus pulled out of New Brunswick in the twilight of afternoon with a small crew of people.  The only passenger I noticed was a hefty, black fella in saggy jeans snoring heartily beside me.  His head was swathed in a dark bandana of skulls.  Oh my, some kind of badass on the premises.

Immersed in what little iPhone coverage was left until the States, I was surprised to find myself smack at the Maine border by 5 pm.

My attitude was laissez-fare, but I also haven’t been across since passing through Seattle on route to Brazil, about 2008 or so.

The bus pulled up to the border crossing window.  The driver turned, a weathered face caused by his easy going nature and too many cigarettes.

“The officers will board the bus and then instruct us on what to do after.”

With only 6 of us on the bus this won’t take long.

Two men in stark uniforms boarded, formed two lines, rear and front, that met in the middle – to me.  I handed in my neatly completed declaration card and passport, told the pug nosed one the purpose of my trip.

Each passenger rattled off their respective stories until all the cards were collected.  They announced that we had to leave all our belongings on the bus and go inside to get cleared.

The building itself mimicked a sterile bank, the color of polished whale bone.  We filed in lining up like a gang of bank robbers approaching our opposites – the bank tellers.  In this case, just hand over the passport and we’ll let you into our country.  I couldn’t help noticing that all the officers fit a profile.  A wall of pasty, stern faces violently plunged into intimidating uniforms formed a bizzare chorus line.  I almost laughed at the image of stir sticks in coffee.  It was obvious these guys didn’t get out in the sun much, probably produced in border cop labs, neatly categorized by number.

Border cop #241 started drilling me with questions, I gave him the same spiel.  He repeated the protocol to make sure my answers were consistent.

“What do you do for a living?”

“A travel writer.”

“For who?”

“Myself.  I’m a freelancer.”

“And why are you going to New York?”

“Visit my cousin, haven’t seen him in 30 years.”

“And when are you returning to Canada?”

“Uh, well… I’m probably going to London after that, have to attend some conferences, then I’m probably going to India after that… so, could be June or later . ”

“Probably or do?”

“Sorry sir, I do have a flight booked.”

“From where to where again?”  Christ, it’s always ‘again’ with these guys.

“I have a flight from New York to London, then London to India.”

“And do you have these itineraries with ya?”

“They are in my laptop bag on the bus.”

“And where is your home?”

“Uh.. I had an apartment, don’t really have one right now… ”

“Okay, okay… so tell me this again?”

Do you ever have moments when you know damn well anything you say or do will only sink you further?  My voice finally pushed out the words in a less choppy pace.  Then again it was repeated.  Too late.

“Awwlright, I’m gonna check this out, so I’m taking your documents with me.  Please wait over there.”  He gestured to a stiff, uninviting granite bench.  The other passengers had beat me to it.  I was the only one detained during questioning.

As soon as I sat down, my goal was to not appear ruffled, once you start sweating buckets or muttering “assholes” under your breath it only reflects poorly on the detainee.  I jumped into a conversation with a compact elderly fella and bandana man for distraction.  The dialogue steered towards something about Tim Horton’s being a franchise and who else was one.  Ooh, I could feel it.  The seething.  My face flushed with boiled blood.

Sure, my answers were vague at first.  But why was I still left with a sense of violation.  My eyes couldn’t help straying to the parked bus.  It seemed like an eternity of conversation between the driver and pasty officer #241.  Finally they both disappeared, but my spidey sense detected what was next.

The Homeland Security flag hanging above was an angry exclamation mark, bringing me to the brink.  Knowing I was being filmed, knowing that dough face was rifling through all my belongings.  Because certainly a 5’1″ Asian world traveler is a red alert security risk.  It felt this close to an ultimate failure.  Less than 25 minutes after crossing the border, Jeannie will be  hauled off the bus and kept in a tiny, airless room for hours answering intimate questions to pasty upon pasty.  I want my lawyer.  If I could afford one.

A single question entered my mind: is the world truly more dangerous or are we just more paranoid?

A stack of borderphiles came in from the biting Maine air and announced we could go.  My guy wasn’t among them.

My internal sweat ducts dried with relief.  I sprang up, when the one who resembled Bela Lugosi gestured me over. “You still need your documents back.”

I peeked over the teller desk, noticing my itineraries and business card lying next to his high-tech keyboard.  Along with my precious passport.

“I see you found what you needed,” I said icily.

#241 went through everything.  Every single piece of my life.  That violated feeling returned fiercely.  In true childish form, I leaned forward, propping myself up on an elbow, my index and middle finger supporting my cheek, secretly giving him the two-finger bird.  Secretly hoping their effing cameras were capturing it.  Yeah, I like to play with fire.  If I kept this up, a lawyer would be the last of my worries.

#241 suddenly appeared.  He drilled me more, claiming the London to India flight was AWOL.  Jet Airways, buddy. In case you’ve never traveled before, Indian carrier.  He finally took the gas off scrutiny and tapped the brake.

“Awlright, just so you know when entering the States you have to be nonblahblahblah.”

“I have to be what?”

He sneered, flicking his eyes at my business card.  “I don’t know how you make money doing this.”

“Well, I’m also a travel blogger.  Heh.”

“Nonblahblah is if entering the United States you have to be gainfully employed and must have a residence.  Since you have a ticket booked out of New York, I’ll let you in this time.  Have a good trip.”

Canadians, take note.  Claim you have a residence even if it’s your mother’s. U.S. border patrol do not like nomads.

After that ordeal, we finally set off towards Bangor.  A mini-squabble ensued with hefty, black fella.  He insisted I was worried about the border crossing, I held my tongue.  Nobody wants to hear criticism from a person who just entered their country 5 minutes ago.  He claimed it should have been fine, because I’m Indian.  Noooo, Asian.  Indian.  Asian.  You have cheekbones.  I stopped talking.

The Maine landscape is a continuation of New Brunswick, bushels of trees singed with the grand colors of fall.  What is different are the polar extremes of abandoned, spooky farmhouses and Texas sized homes with oversized cars parked in the driveways.  Not sure what is worse, a haunted farmhouse or garish displays of wealth.  Either way, it makes sense why Stephen King uses Maine as the setting for several of his bestsellers.  There’s a definite blank canvass and oddity to the air.

The blanket of night was upon us once we reached town.  I vaguely remember passing by the giant Paul Bunyan statue, several motels and freeways.  Didn’t help I was tired, fighting a nagging cold.

It was pitch black by the time we pulled into the small Greyhound station at the edge of downtown.  I tried to line up a complimentary room at The Charles Inn, a mere 5 minutes from the station.  My bus to New York was an early 6:30 am boarding call, ouch. The Charles Inn was fantasy, email tag doesn’t conjure a cushioned bed in a boutique hotel.

Loitering at the Greyhound station was out since they closed at 6 pm, so I turned to my back up plan – Motel 6 off the I-95.  The only glitch was cab money.  Didn’t really want to spend it.  That’s when I turned around and my debate opponent from the bus piped up.

“Anyone wanna share a cab to the Motel 6?  I got the 1-800 number.”  Charles Inn. $83 per night.  Motel 6.  $45 to $50.  Like many women before me, I settled on the lesser choice.

Our cabbie was a snappy gal from New York, so we gabbed about what I should do there.  Bandana or hefty had a name, Longus. We decided to stop at Shaw’s to grab some food.  Longus revealed he carried around a hotplate and that he traveled for work frequently.  In what, I asked.  Transport.  You know, like the movie The Transporter.  You’re no Jason Statham with hard abs and a penchant for mute, but satisfying sex.

Sure enough, Longus bought chicken, crab, and greens.  I thought he was joking.  I chose a limpy tuna sandwich and some questionable sushi.

Once we reached Motel 6, the night got more interesting.  Booked solid.  There didn’t seem a particular reason why.  Calls to Super 8, Howard Johnson and the like produced the same result.  I pulled out the Air, started Skype calling any hotel the Motel 6 clerk could think of.

The Ramada at $129 per night.  Smoking room, two double beds.  Totally available.  Longus was a fairly dense, but easygoing fella.  But he was stressing a bit, claiming that even if you have a reservation with Motel 6, they don’t honor it.  I encouraged him to stop offending her.

He asked if I wanted to share.  Not really.  Not because I felt scared, just weary.  Sizing him up, he was innocuous.  Besides, I could outrun anyone who constantly had to hitch up his sagging pants.  Even with a bum knee.  I just wasn’t up for conversation, but there wasn’t really a choice.  Sleeping on cold pavement or a warm bed peppered with static conversation.  Take it.

We had to walk across the highway to get to the Ramada.  It was a miracle we didn’t get splattered on the highway.  After Longus experienced some minor payment issues on his credit card, the room keys were handed to us.  I settled into free wifi, while Longus started up that chicken in the bathroom sink.  Got to credit the guy for ingenuity.

Hoping the TV would be a buffer zone, we flipped between Coyote Ugly and some teen horror flick.  Travel tests your limits, Longus tested mine.  We swayed from tenuous banter to blocked communication.  He kept calling me baby.  I asked him to stop.  He said Montreal sucked because of bad kids.  That made no sense, since bad kids exist everywhere.  My mostly open nature just couldn’t find that common ground.  I finally had enough of Coyote Ugly and the continual barrage of conversation circles.

Time for bed and silence.  The room reeked of chicken.  That’s when I realized how easy it’s been in Canada.  They’ll be another Longus.  Or future hairy border crossings.  Or I might be Longus in the next situation.

Clutching my iPhone and sinking under the covers, my rattled head drifted to sleep with this amusing thought… Welcome to America, home of the brave Longus began snoring.

Photo: Marion Dross

By |October 25th, 2010 |Categories: Bangor |42 Comments

Twas the Best Night in Halifax…

Twas the best night in Halifax, when all through the pub

I met Candice and Cailin after catching some grub.

The streets were on route to a Saturday night party,

While conversation and drinks proved deliciously hearty.

Halifax was originally an Acadian village;

Till the English arrived bringing pain and some pillage.

In time it was settled, then others arrived

Leaving a modern day Halifax historically uncontrived.

There’s spirit and home pride, all through the air,

Enjoy the Economy Shoe Shop, or Maxwell Plum if you so dare.

Or sample Greek feed at Opa, there’s plenty of cheer!

So the next night I staggered after drinking some beer.

And went back to Jimi’s mischevious and all,

We dared each other to slide down the stairs, but what if we fall?

We laughed and laughed, squealing like kids

Reminding me that travel is never the skids.

It brings wonder and innocence,

Bridges the gap of dissonance.

There should be more weekends like this,

When I meet new friends and experience bliss.

Goodbye Halifax, I’ll be back for sure

Your shoreline and beauty is part of the lure.

By |October 22nd, 2010 |Categories: Halifax, Nova Scotia |11 Comments

Nomadic or Static, What’s Better?

Today’s guest post is by Chris Backe of Chris in South Korea.  He examines the pros and cons of moving constantly versus staying put.  No matter what kind of traveler you are, there is always two viewpoints to the equation. As usual, I love your opinions in the comments, so sound off!

As an expat of 2 1/2 years, I’ve found living in one country to be a wonderful adventure. Reading blogs like Nomadic ChickNomadic Matt, and Everything-Everywhere remind me that there are PLENTY of adventures to be had across the world. In fact, I’ve sometimes thought about the advantages and disadvantages of staying in one country for the mid-to-long term (say, 6 months or longer per country).

I’ve lived in South Korea since March of 2008, teaching English to stay in the country legally and make money. My passion, however, is traveling, writing, and taking photographs; in fact, I make it a point to get out to one new place, event, or festival every single week. That’s taken me all over Korea, out to its furthest reaches, but it isn’t quite the nomadic lifestyle. At the end of every trip, I still go back to a school-owned apartment in the Seoul area.

Whether you want to travel like a nomad or just travel while living in a foreign country, it has to be a part of your lifestyle. The conscious decision must be made: ‘I’m headed out to [insert here] on Saturday and I can’t wait!’. Maybe that becomes your Facebook or Twitter update for your friends, family or followers.

Advantages to staying in one country:

  • You really get to learn the culture, the people, and perhaps even the language. Living as a local helps me appreciate the locals’ grocery shopping habits, which vendors have the best street food, etc. There’s simply no other way to get the insider scoop on a place than to be there and see it for yourself.
  • You become self-sufficient. You’re out there learning things on your own, or with help from a guidebook. While it’s always nice to have a local guide, you’ll find it a bit more difficult to retreat to a safer / more comfortable place if things get too weird.
  • You get off the beaten path. You’ll have ample opportunity to ask the locals about the places they enjoy, then find your own way there. I’ve discovered more than a few places not found (or barely mentioned) in guidebooks because they were fairly well-known by the locals.
  • You get to know the locals – and expats – on a deeper level. That pizza place down the street knows you by face, and occasionally throws you a little extra something (“ser-bi-suh!” or “service!” the Koreans call it) for being a loyal customer.
  • You help establish a reputation for foreigners in that area. This is one case where the ‘advantage’ is actually for future travelers. You complained loudly about getting ripped off by the taxi driver? Maybe he’ll think twice about trying that with another foreigner. Your keeping your hotel room clean (or not partying until 3am) makes it easier for the next person to get a room there.
  • Stability – even a modicum of it – feels good. The feeling that things aren’t going to change from one hour to the next is a nice one. I still have an innate need to travel – which being in one place has allowed me to do at least once a week.
  • In-person opportunities. While quite a few opportunities have come because of an online connection, others have come because of meeting someone at a bar, at the grocery store, or by being able to meet someone in person. A conversation that might take days over e-mail happens in minutes in person. Also, bouncing ideas off a real person feels so much more fun than the computer screen.

There are a few disadvantages of staying in one place, of course:

  • It’s too easy to get comfortable. Even signing a one-year contract as an English teacher leaves you feeling a little more locked in than before. Nomads may have jobs, but the feeling of ‘I can leave anytime I want’ is probably a comforting one.
  • It can feel limiting, especially if making money or a job obligates you into staying somewhere. One common solution has been to make money blogging, consulting, or selling e-books – money that can be earned almost anywhere in the world. Of course, being an English teacher is one job you can do in many countries across the world.
  • Learning about one culture can make you forget about your own – or the hundreds of other cultures out there.
  • Leaving your new ‘home’ may feel like you’re letting people down – and the longer you’ve known them, the harder that connection will be to break. No, of course you’re not breaking the connection forever in this era of Skype, e-mail, and cell phones – but physically moving away definitely changes the relationship.

At this point in my life, being in one location works well for me. Korea is still a foreign country in many ways; plenty of unusual customs, interesting people, and exotic places to fling myself to. Since the country is so small (about the size of Indiana for the American readers) and so well connected, it’s possible to make a weekend trip to almost anywhere in the country. Make it a three-day weekend and a number of neighboring countries open up to you.

I’m sure I’ll have a different perspective if I get to the point where I can travel more freely – I’ll get back to you in a year or two :)

About the Author

When Chris isn’t writing about his weekly adventures in Korea, he enjoys swing dancing, long walks along the Han river, building a better expat community in Korea and making money.  Sorry ladies, he’s taken. Twitter: @chrisinseoulsk.

Photo: B.Tse

By |October 18th, 2010 |Categories: Culture |18 Comments

Gypsy Bits and Bytes

Goodness, haven’t done one of these since May.  Here I am. With some site news and articles or people to pay attention to.

Bits and Bytes

  • Even though I’ve embarked on my trip, a dose of inspiration never hurts.  Fist pumps go to Caz and Craig’s post I’m Not Afraid to Take a Stand For My Dreams.  Caz’s passion for music and fondness for Eminem’s comeback song I’m Not Afraid sends a clear message: remember your dreams and live them before it’s too late.
  • Gary Arndt’s honest interview with Thrilling Heroics’s creator Cody McKibben left me questioning the validity of lifestyle redesign.  At 27:30 Gary emphasizes the responsibility of that niche to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.  Do you agree?
  • Travelers constantly write about being the the victim of a robbery, but what are the ethics when someone else is robbed?  And their actions could affect others in the vicinity.  Ayngelina’s excellent post on a situation in Colombia poses the question.  What would you do?
  • Speaking of lifestyle design, I just discovered the fab Simon Black.  His site Sovereign Man communicates practicalities on how to deal with banking overseas, finances, or how a country’s economy operates.  Ain’t that useful sauce to pour over your nomadic dreams!
  • Even though Matt Long’s article Travel and the Thirty-Something Midlife Crisis was published last June, it’s still very relevant to my age group.  I refer to it now and again to trace the path of my own life.  How Generation X bubbled with yearnings for something beyond how our parents worked or lived, yet unsure if we should proceed, let alone give ourselves permission.  It’s a touching, brave article.

Nomadic Chick News

  • My little site was named one of the top 150 Travel Blogs for students.  Pretty good for this old gal.  Then in the same two week span TravMonkey compiled Google’s top 100 Travel Sites, thankfully I made it.  Avoided the guillotine again.
  • The Canada tour is about to end.  Child Haven, the organization I’m volunteering with squared away my India visa.  Next week I bus to Maine from New Brunswick and onto the Big Apple.  There I’ll meet up with some travel writers and bloggers, then spend time with my cousin.  I haven’t been to New York since I was 10 or seen my cousin in 30 years!  Heady reunions lie in wait.
  • After New York, I’m off to Copenhagen to participate in TBEX Europe.  At a glance, the speakers and workshops look amazing.  Stay tuned for updates on that event.
  • From Copenhagen,  I plan to attend the World Travel Market in London from November 8 to 11.  It will be exciting to meet some folks I’ve been interacting with for months.  Oliver of Bloggers Unite, Andy Jarosz of 501 Places, and The Explorateur to name a few.
  • Finally, on November 12 I’m bound for India and my 3 month volunteer stint.

All my chip consuming, cookie eating in New Brunswick is about to drastically change.  Keep following along as I dispense tales of Delhi belly, heat stroke and much more!  Until next time.

By |October 15th, 2010 |Categories: Life, Uncategorized |14 Comments
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