BootsnAll Travel Network

The end…not.

January 17th, 2011

It has been more than 3 years since I last updated these chronicles, and I broke a few promises about stories I meant to tell and photos I meant to share.  But, man oh man do I have news that hopefully will make up for all of those broken promises.  Naturally, because I have a Masters thesis I need to be writing, I am instead visiting these records of my old escapades.  It is essential that instead of writing for my thesis I inform you that I am engaged.  Yes, I am engaged.  The travel junkie is settling… sort of.

It likely won’t come as any surprise that the wonderful, egalitarian man I am engaged to does not share my citizenship.  I have even mentioned him in this blog in the past.  I met him during my 3.5 month trip through Europe, Morocco and Turkey in 2006.

I find this pretty amusing (as well as exciting, nerve wracking and wonderful).  Why?  Let me give you the story…

On May 16, 2006, while on a plane from Zurich to Barcelona, I wrote in my journal (Yes, I filled 2 journals while traveling in Europe in addition to this travel blog):

…I was feeling stressed, bummed, overwhelmed on my flight to Zurich, but as soon as I arrived, I felt a million times better and began wondering about my future.  Where to live, what to do.  I don’t want to travel as much anymore in all honesty.  I want to take short trips and settle in one place from which I take those trips… Right now, I want a whirlwind romance with a hot European boy.  And I want to eventually fall in love with a European and move to Europe (or else move to Europe and fall in love/not fall in love but just have fun with a European boy). This summer will decide that–that is the change that will occurThat is the crossroads, the meaning, the goal of this summer.  We shall wait and see.  In the meantime, I plan to do laundry, take a shower and a nap…

(Maybe I’m psychic or do I just follow my dreams…?)

So in August of that same year, I visited Camilla in Denmark and met a few nice Danish men (who hit on me in their subtle Scandinavian way, so subtle that I couldn’t tell they were hitting on me at the time).  I got the email address of one of them, and we kept in touch for a while.  In the fall, I asked him for his friend Michael’s email.  Michael had been the most friendly and willing to speak English of those Danish men.  His friend should never have given me Michael’s email ;).

Michael has since told me he thought I was very weird at first since I was always available online while I was supposed to be working (He didn’t know I was chatting with more people than just him, or that I am a typing whiz).  The following August, Michael came to the US and, of course no trip to the US is complete without a visit with the travel junkie.  We had our first “date,” and on the day we parted, we didn’t think we’d ever see each other again (or at least he didn’t think so…).  In Slovenia, he was the one who called me.  A while later, I admitted to him that I had come to like him and discovered he felt the same way.  I traveled to Denmark in December and we’ve been together (while apart) ever since.  SAS should really thank us, since we have single-handedly supplied them with at least $10,000 in profits.

Three years of quad-annual pond-hops, daily skype dates and spontaneous emotional breakdowns later, we have decided it’s not enough, we want to live together and be together.  He will be moving to the US in 2012, and who knows where we will wind up in the end.

Six years ago, I set off in search of the home I never had, and I have found it in him and the friends and family, old and new, who have stuck with me through this journey.  I can’t wait for our next adventure.


Week 3: Slovenia Part A

October 30th, 2007

When I first arrived in Slovenia, I was unimpressed and growing more pissed off by the minute. I didn’t know where my hostel was, I didn’t know what bus to take and I couldn’t find a taxi. I finally did find a taxi in an obscure place outside the train station, and after some consultation with the other taxi drivers standing around having a cigarette, he figured out where to go. He spoke no English, Spanish or Italian, immediately exhausting my language possibilities. But he got me to my hostel for 5Euros on the meter, and three flights of spiraling stairs later, I was happy to put down my bag at Fluxus Hostel.

The following morning I was not happy. I was homesick, lonely, I desperately wanted to go home; I even started searching flights out of Ljubljana. It wasn’t the city itself, or the people. I actually really liked the city, and so far the people had been friendly. It was a walk I took up the hill to the castle under a shower of yellow leaves that triggered it. Where was the dog that was supposed to be yanking at my arm as I climbed the hill? Weeks of hiking the mountains in Maryland with my mutt, I was alone with an empty feeling in my stomach and a lightness on my arm. I was done traveling alone. I still am. As I sat and watched the dachshunds and terriers stroll by, I realized how much I love my friends and family, how attached I am to them, and how I can’t and don’t want to travel alone anymore. Of course, this is by no means the end of the travel junkie, it’s just the end of the sola travel junkie. From now on, I’m traveling with a purpose, to visit the people I love, to travel with the people I love, to work, to study, to live.

Well, one of the three Danish Michaels I know, called me at the hostel and that took care of my homesickness. Damn it, I was going to enjoy the last sola trip if it killed me! So the next morning I went to the information office and booked two tours to visit the rest of the country that weekend and then headed off to have lunch. As I sat at the window of Julian, eating my ravioli, I watched a group of boys drinking cokes outside. They were probably in their late teens and whenever the waitress wasn’t looking they would give her a quick up and down at the most crucial points, and quickly meet her eyes when she turned around. Smooth. I had to laugh and wonder how often that happens to me as one boy’s eyes followed her rear end as she carried an empty plate back inside.

And then my eyes noticed a familiar face, and I sat with my fork in the air long enough to have these thoughts… I know him. Wait a minute. Something’s weird. Oh, right, I’m not at home. So, how do I know him. Oh my god, is this someone from school in Slovenia? Who is he? What’s his name? Who’s that with him? I know that girl. Oooh, I know who he is. He’s the guy from the hostel in Zagreb! So should I run out to meet them? Wait, no, the waitress might think I’m running off without paying. Ok, I could leave my bag here, but what if it gets stolen? It won’t get stolen. Alright, I’ll leave it here and tell the waitress I’m running out to catch them, could she watch my bag…. so finally I put down my fork.

I had to run to catch up, because you might imagine with that many thoughts they had walked pretty far. So here I was running up a cobble street in Ljubljana wondering, wait, what are their names?, waving my hands and ultimately shouting Whales! to get their attention. As you can imagine, they were from Whales. So we made plans to meet at the triple bridge at 8:30…

to be continued.

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Oktoberfest Visuals

October 18th, 2007

I’m going to save the little sliver of dignity I have left and post only a sample of Oktoberfest.

At about 10am in the Hofbrau beer tent…
pre-damage okt

Some time after 10pm back at Camilla’s apartment…
post-damage okt

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Week 2: Budapest and Croatia

October 9th, 2007

I forgot to mention an observation I made at Oktoberfest while I was sitting at a table with 5 Danes, 2 Swedes and a German, so here it is…  I had the darkest eyes at the table!  So odd that my olive-green/amber eyes were actually the darkest there.  I guess that’s Scandinavians for you.  They didn’t think it was the least bit strange.


I wish I’d given myself more time in this city.  I really liked it.  I actually liked it more than Prague.  Prague felt like Busch Gardens it was so clean.  Budapest on the otherhand felt lived in.  My first full day there some Aussies informed me that the Rubik’s Cube convention was going on that weekend, so I crammed into a cab with 3 Aussies and headed to the convention center where we met 2 more.  We got to meet the American entrants and watch a roomfull of people with ridiculously good spatial memories solve Rubik’s cubes blindfolded.  The world champion did 15!  We were there a day early or we would have gotten to meet Rubik (the cube’s Hungarian inventor) in the flesh.

Once we decided we shouldn’t spend all our time in Budapest watching the Rubiks wizards, I headed off to the castle with two of the Aussies and later ditched them for a dinner cruise by myself.  As I sat waiting, I began to notice an inordinate amount of couples.  Was I the only lone on there??  I sat alone at a six-seat table, waiting for the cruise to start, and 2 men who looked to be in their 50’s approached the table, asking in Magyar if they could sit.

As it turned out one man was Hungarian and the other Italian so they spoke in English together.  They were engineers on business.  The Hungarian man offered me wine saying it was rude in Hungary to toast at a table when not everyone has a drink.  I listened in as he told the Italian about the city, about how each bridge was designed, and how all the bridges were destroyed during WWII.  He said the Hungarians built their castle as a fortress, but never once defended it from within, in fact, he said, they attacked it themselves on two occassions.  The first was when it was taken over by the Turks and the second I can’t recall.  Budapest has been remarkably rebuilt considering the beatings it’s taken.

He pointed out the technical university where he used to study and he observed that it felt like only five years ago, when in fact it had been far longer.  “Time is an unbelievable substance.  It flows from your fingers and then it is gone!” he remarked.


Zagreb is a beautiful city, also well preserved.  It sits at the foot of the mountains, and the tiny streets wind up and down hills.  My ability to write is so rusty, I don’t think I could do it justice here in words.  I’ll post some photos when I return to the states.  But, let’s just say Zagreb is what I always imagined Europe would look like, well, aside from the American missionaries who evangelized me in the park.  If god truly loves me unconditionally, he shouldn’t need two people to trap me while I read on a bench and preach to me, thank you very much!

Anyway, Split was also quite nice, though very touristy.  I didn’t spend much time there.  The bus ride to the city was gorgeous with its classic dry, shruby Mediterranean mountains against the Adriatic.  When I arrived and saw the tourist mayhem, I considered hopping back on the bus or ferry and going somewhere else, but I decided, what the hell, I’ll give Diocletian’s Palace a chance.  It worked.  Standing among Roman architecture still in use, abutting Venetian houses, also still in use, with passageways designed for people my size, I was reminded of Barcelona so I decided to stay the night, and I decided to treat myself to a hotel overlooking the sea.  It was quite nice, the mediterranean feel without the sexual harassment that comes with some of the other mediterranean countries.

Alright, I don’t feel like writing more now.  I’m in Ljubljana, a few days earlier than planned.  I’ll explain later.


Week 1: Oktoberfest, Praha

October 6th, 2007

Ok, so the cold is on its way out, no pnemonia, deafness, blindness, brain infections of any sort, although I have gone back to having weird dreams of my grandmothers flying away in planes without me, volcanoes erupting in Fiji, going on a date to see a really bad play and walking out in the middle, etc., Jung would have a field day, but that`s not unusual for me. So anway, travel, right, this is a travel blog…

So I have my health back… I won`t write everything as I ordinarily would do (so Camilla claims), but I will summarize the main highlights thus far…

Oktoberfest: despite warnings from all family members, I managed to get drunker than I ever have before, though not ill. Myself with 5 Danish guys in faux leiderhosen… it was a lot of fun! I did also manage to lose my wallet, passport, a hat and pair of socks. The passport we found in Camilla`s bag, how it got there is a mystery. Luckily I had my ATM card in my pocket instead of my wallet. So yes, bring on the taunting, not like I haven`t already gotten plenty… (Rasmus did put their tram ticket in the microwave and it caught fire, I`ll have you know, so I`m not the only one!)
Although, I did manage to lose quite a few things, some of them odd… I did also manage to obtain quite a few things, most of the odd. A pin as an honorary member of Club NonSoloBirra from Milano. It was a men`s club, its members around the age of 45-50. I spoke broken Italian with them, and they adopted me as one of their own.

I also discovered a king of spades in my pocket, yet another mystery. And other than that, I won`t talk anymore… no need to incriminate myself further. If you want to know more, you`ll have to ask. I may or may not tell, though I probably will.

While I was sitting, drinking in one of the tents at about noon with the guys (I was pretty much the only girl there), a group of American girls walked in, unaccompanied by any men…. they got quite the welcome. Like dogs to meet, all the men in the tent (thousands probably) started howling and clapping. It was Italian weekend, so, true to the stereotype, the men in the tent were really rowdy. I told the girls to run while they still could! They looked rightly confused and nervous.

Prague: I spent three days there, the first day I slept for about 13 hrs, did laundry and otherwise bummed around feeling feverish. In the evening I finally got myself refreshed and headed out with an English girl from my hostel to get dinner. She had quit her job, dumped her boyfriend, sold her house and hit the road for a three month trip, and she was sleeping in the purple room with me.

Next morning she was up and out before I was, so I wandered off on my own. I found my way up to the castle, and took a tour, wandered the gardens and felt a bit lonely in the romantic atmosphere. There were plenty of places perfect for kissing and holding hands.

That evening I went on the ghost tour of Prague. 400kn. The guide told us right off the bat that the stories were all mostly false and the group surpressed laughter as she emphasized the blood on the stone steps in her thick Czech accent. We weren`t spooked and were starting to doubt this woman, that was until a couple of the girls shrieked and I spotted a man in a bloody mask and apron holding a butcher`s knife. From that point on, we were checking every corner and the face of every passersby. They all seemed to be wearing knowing smirks. I`ll have pictures later.

Ok, that`s enough for now… it`s late here… I`m struggling with the keyboard in Zagreb now in case you`re curious.

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October 3rd, 2007

So, drinking many liters of beer over the course of 4 days while jet-lagged kills your immune system.  I now have sniffles, sneezes, coughs, and a bit of a fever, and I’m dreading that little dry cough that is slowly becoming wetter like a bronchial infection in the making.  We shall see.  Maybe I’ll get a hotel at my next destination and just have a 48 hr sleep-fest.  Maybe I’ll get to see how the doctors are in these latest editions to the EU.  In the mean-time I’ll sniffle while I can’t sleep for the stuffiness and I’ll imagine how nice it would be to curl up on Carro’s couch in Sweden or hop on the next plane back to my warm American bed.  Or else my overactive imagination will go back to 3am visions of pnemonia, deafness, infections in the brain, etc etc etc.  I have to be awake in about 3 hours to catch the train to Budapest; maybe I ought to go back to sleep.

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September 29th, 2007

Camilla has said I write EVERYTHING on this blog.  Well, let me say this… imagine: 1 American girl, 5 Danish guys in Leiderhosen sitting at a table in a tent full of drunk men.  I have stories to tell, just not today.


Travel Junkie on the move again!

September 26th, 2007

Woah, woah, woah… After so many months, the travel junkie is on the move again! Just so we know, I’ve finished my degree; I’ve chopped off all my hair; I’ve been living in my mum’s house in Maryland over the past month, and although I love her very much, I’m glad to be heading out in the world again. In only a few hours I will be boarding a plane headed across the Atlantic. Munich + Oktoberfest + the Danish, Swedish and German friends I made in New Zealand + 2 weeks traveling alone in Prague, Budapest and Croatia = OH, MAN!!!

And seeing as I am trying to milk this whole no responsibilities thing, I’m considering another extended sojourn in the winter, maybe to the southern hemisphere…. beat the winter blues, brush up on my Spanish.

Short and sweet… I’m back!


The London Tim Tam Adventure

April 12th, 2007

You may not know this, but I fell in love when I was in New Zealand.  His name is Tim Tam.  My Danish friend Camilla introduced me to him.  He was always there to provide his wonderful double-coat chocolate comfort when I needed it, which was just often enough to give me a layer of pudge (though I’m sure the pub-crawls didn’t help much with that either).

The “world’s most irrisistable cookie,” or excuse me, “the world’s most irrisistable biscuit,” is how they know him.  He was born in Australia.  His primary ingredient is sugar.  And, lucky for me, he’s imported to London.  It had been almost six months since I was able to down a whole box of Tim Tams in one sitting. I was studying in London (this was back in July), and I had heard tell that there were a few Australian enclaves in the heart of the city. Where were they?

I had a chance to ask that question when a speaker, whose name I can no longer recall (it’s been another eight months since this happened), came to speak at our travel writing class. He talked about American communities in Hampstead, so I figured maybe he knew of a few Australian ones.

“Try Kensington,” he told me.

So I set out one day on the Circle line to High Street and found my way into the beautiful whitewashed Kensington neighborhoods. There was no sign of any Australian shops, though I did find a grocery story that sold American food like tacos and salsa and Oreos. So I stopped in a boutique to ask the women there if they knew anything about any Australian shops.

“Oh, are you looking for things from home?” She hadn’t catch my American accent.

“Um, yes.”

“Well, you might try your embassy. They might be able to tell you where you can buy things from Australia.”

“Thank you,” I replied, excited that I had been mistaken for an Aussie.

I thought about phoning the Australian embassy and starting with a “G’day, mate,” but decided they’d be able to tell. Luckily a Kiwi friend of mine clued me in to a Kiwi coffee house somewhere in Covent Garden.

“Yes, on Berwick Street,” he pointed on a map, and I was able to navigate the winding streets until I found Flat White Espresso Bar. They were closing for the afternoon.

“Do you have any Tim Tams?”

“No. Sometimes we have them on Waitangi Day or when the All Blacks play. But we don’t have them now.”

“Are there any stores around? Like stores that sell Kiwi or Australian food?”

“You can try the New Zealand House on Haymarket, and I think there’s an Australian store on Maiden Lane.”

It was several days before I had the chance to walk to Haymarket. I had a friend along for the adventure. Little did we know the New Zealand House was the embassy. They directed us to a Kiwi store around the corner. Of course, hailing from Australia, Tim Tams were not available at the Kiwi store.

I asked the woman behind the counter, “do you have any Tim Tams?”

“No, Tim Tams are Australian!”

“I know that!”

We left and headed for Maiden Lane. We stopped in a bookstore to ask directions, but no one seemed to know where Maiden Lane was. As we walked down one street, I overheard two guys talking behind us, or should I say two blokes?

“Those guys have Australian accents,” I whispered to my friend.

“Do you think they’re going to the Australian store?”


“Maybe we should follow them. Here, I’ll open my notebook like we’re stopping to look at it and we’ll let them pass.” She opened her notebook.

“Hey, do you know if there’s an Australian store around here?” I blurted at them as they passed.

“I think there’s one on Maiden Lane, one street over,” one of the blokes pointed.

“Thank you!!!”

In two minutes, we were savoring Double-coat Tim Tams outside the Australian-Kiwi-South African-Canadian store on Maiden Lane. I fell in love all over again, and my friend fell in love for the first time.

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Army Brat Blues

April 1st, 2007

Here I sit, four months away from graduating college, speeding headlong toward yet another transition and some very difficult decisions. Why do I hesitate when you ask me where I’m from… let me list my geographic history. What I have to say may seem depressing, but hopefully some of you, those of you with similar histories, will find it reassuring to know you’re not alone:

0. San Angelo, Texas
1. Ayer, Massachusetts
2. Donzdorf, Germany
3. Bulls Run Pkwy, Bethesda (father’s military service had ended)
4. Missoula, Montana
5. (brief transition at Bulls Run in Bethesda)
6. La Plata, Maryland (elementary school #1)
7. Loveland, Colorado
8. Lakewood, Colorado (elementary school #2)
9. Bulls Run, Bethesda, Maryland (elemendary school #3)
10. *moved everything by UHaul across the country to Seattle, Washington, turned round the next day and returned to Bethesda
11. transition in Laytonsville, Maryland for several weeks
12. Gaithersburg, Maryland (neighborhood later part of Montgomery Village) (middle school)
13. Lone Oak Dr, Bethesda, Maryland
14. Mayfield Dr, Bethesda, Maryland (high school #1)
15. Hartley Pl, Gaithersburg, Maryland (high school #2)
16. Germantown, Maryland (returned to high school #1)
17. Clifton, Virginia
18. Fifth Ave, New York, New York
19. Washington Square East, New York, New York
20. Wellington, New Zealand
21. Apt #1, East Village, New York, New York
22. Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York
23. Apt #2, East Village, New York, New York

(23 is the number of times I have moved, not the number of locations I have lived/traveled).

So if you’re like my grandparents and think I am feeling sorry for myself when I complain of getting tired of saying goodbye… how can you blame me? Where is my home? Where do I belong? Why do I feel so much more comfortable traveling than sitting still? You do the math. I’m an ace at meeting people. Now if only I could learn how to keep the friends I make. But why bother? I will graduate and then I’ll move again, then it’ll only be more goodbyes.

Why do I go on and on about this? Because I’ve been reading about individuals inspired by expats and army brats. “Should I live that life? Should I pick up my children and move to some foreign place? Leave my life behind me?” they ask. Well, let me just remind you of one thing… Should your children leave theirs? Personally I believe one, maybe two moves in childhood can be healthy. It exercises curiosity and openness, it keeps you from taking for granted that feeling of belonging. But it’s still not as upsetting as a lifetime of being a nomad in a world of stationary people.

So what do I do when I graduate? I’m 99% sure I do not want to live in New York City longer than 2 years after I graduate. But that knowledge hurts. Any relationships I make now will likely have to end, so better stick it out alone right? Wrong, that’s a lonely way to live. That’s how I’ve been living. I want to live in foreign countries. I want to settle down. I recently discovered I have been craving real human connection for about 20 years. What should I do? Honestly, I have no idea.