BootsnAll Travel Network

One Safe Place

October 2nd, 2006

I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard this song, but a friend recently included these lines in a letter to me:

How many roads we’ve travelled
How many dreams we’ve chased
Across sand and sky and gravel
Searching for one safe place

— Marc Cohn

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Placemarkers: October 1

October 1st, 2006

Paris, France:
Toni Morrison will serve as guest curator at the Louvre for three weeks beginning in November. The Foreigner’s Home explores how artists confront identity and belonging. Morrison explains it as, “…an idea I’ve been working with about how American writers have encountered and confronted and imagined the other, or imagined who was the foreigner — a particularly interesting query because the Americans themselves were foreigners historically in this country.” More info here and here.

Tuxedo, New York:
Sterling Forest State Park has a fantastic welcome center and a nice variety of events on tap for October. If you’d rather do a hike on your own, the visitor’s center has maps and an interactive model of moderate and difficult trails. I suggest the 4.2 mile Sterling Lake Loop as a nice introduction to the park. It’s a good way to get your barings. One note of caution: hunting season begins soon, so be sure to check with park rangers about trail rules and wear your blaze orange!

Baltimore, Maryland:
Another reason to miss my second home. The Baltimore Museum of Art now boasts free admission all year long. Other museums are free for October and November as part of Freefall Baltimore.

China, Italy, Brazil, Australia:
These are the days I wish I had cable. Discovery Atlas began this evening on The Discovery Channel — did anyone see it? I learned about it at the movies the other day, the preview was spectacular. Each Sunday night in October a different country will be “revealed”. I’ll check out the online videos this week so I can at least get a glimpse of what the series is about.

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Placemarkers: A New Way to Travel

October 1st, 2006

I’m going to try out something new here and see how it goes. I won’t be doing any long-term travel for awhile but I still enjoy having this blog and want to keep it going even though most of my writing (besides Written Road) is being done offline. My curiosity in topics like the concept of home, bookstore tourism and volunteer vacations will continue to thrive whether I’m traveling or not, so I’ve decided to start Placemarkers — a weekly collection of links to interesting tidbits from places around the world, either far away or in my very own backyard.

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Why Go

October 1st, 2006

Every day the good folks at BootsnAll give us a photo or phrase that feeds our love of travel. This quote posted yesterday struck me as especially beautiful:

As you think, you travel, and as you love, you attract. You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.

James Lane Allen

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World Wide Web

September 21st, 2006

My Travels in Europe series over at Written Road is progressing nicely, and it was cool to grab a mention at Gridskipper this week for my European bookstores piece. Larry at Bookstore Tourism gives a nod too.

And one of my photos from Portugal was featured with a new Jeffrey Tayler story over at World Hum today. I haven’t read Tayler’s piece yet but I’m sure it’s a good one.

Thanks everyone!

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Finding Home

September 4th, 2006

I’d spent all this time and energy over the years searching for a home — and home for me, I was realizing, was simply being close to my own ability to love.

-Christy Walker in Ash Wednesday

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Let the Photos do the Talking

August 1st, 2006

Everytime I think about writing something here, I have trouble sorting out where to begin & what exactly to say. So instead, I’ll stay silent for now, and let the pictures do the talking.

I just uploaded as much as I could before reaching my Flickr limit — a hodgepodge from Portugal, Spain and the Czech Republic. (The one above is Prague at sunset sometime in April. Click on the photo to see more.) I think I may breakdown and treat myself to a Flickr Pro account, but not until next month.

For now, it’s back to the tasks at hand…getting settled, finding a job, and moving forward. Enjoy summer everyone and I’ll be back in September.

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Photo Finish

July 22nd, 2006

Sorting through my photos will take several months. I should have everything organized by the time the ball drops on Times Square at the end of this year. I have loads of digital shots taken by family and friends, saved on assorted CDs and online photo sites. Thanks to all these snappy happy pals of mine, I have a nice collection of digital pixs from certain parts of my journey.

But for my own personal photos, I used an ordinary film camera, and the rolls have piled up. It will take awhile before I can see my own pictures from the trip — I can only develop a few at a time and have to watch my money. At last count there were about 16 rolls. I also used a few throw-away cameras, after my 3-year old Minolta decided to call it quits on a peaceful cliffside in Slovenia.

There are special photos of people and places that I want to share by uploading them to my Flickr account, but that will take time too, since I am not yet a coveted Pro account member. I’ve used up my allotted space for July with a random smattering of shots from the very beginning and very end of my trip. Here are two of my favorites:

In Glouchester, MA on Feb. 12, just three days before my departure for Lisbon.


With Mom and Dad this past Tuesday at Newark Airport after my return flight from Rome.

There are just a few from Portugal too…but more to come next month, I hope 🙂

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Point of View

July 21st, 2006

The perspective, to say the least, changes only with the journey.

~ James Baldwin

Getting in the Civic with my parents and brother when they picked me up at the airport was a surreal moment. The car felt oddly familiar, yet foreign. It wasn’t exactly deja vu, but some sort of bizarre sensation, to be around this thing that I was formerly acquainted with.

For five months, almost everything I saw, touched or tasted was new. Now, suddenly, I am back among the familiar — the car, the house, my stuff. It’s strange and comfortable, all at the same time. I don’t feel this way with people, it is only with the material possessions and things I own that surround me now. Maybe it is the jetlag, but the littlest things I see can make me giggle, grin or stare in wonder — I forgot about those sneakers, and this book, and that extra deodorant I left behind during the frenzied pre-trip packing. And it is all here waiting for me.

Living out of a bag for five months has surely changed my perspective on stuff, and now that I am surrounded by my belongings again, I’m not quite sure what to do with most of them.


The flights home were fine, although the plane ride and all this air conditioning has gifted me with a tiny cold…I’m not used to all this processed air, especially after the last month of ultra hot hostels in Spain and Italy. I think my body has just let go for a bit too. It has breathed a huge sigh and told me to check back in a few weeks, while it recovers from the constant movement of the journey.

I’ve moved slow the past three days…sorting through mail and photos, searching for summer clothes in the attic and assembling toiletries in the bathroom. I ran some errands today, and almost said “Grazie” to the man who held the door for me at the bank.

It is wonderful to be around my family again, and to be able to easily chat with friends on the phone. The best part of my trip was all the amazing people I met…and the best part of being home is all the fantastic people I already know that I can see and talk to again.

Tonight mom and I will eat leftover Chinese and watch some travel shows (ha!) on TV. Tomorrow I’m treating my feet to a well deserved pedicure followed by a visit with two of my closest pals. I’ve still got three days of notes on Rome to write in my journal, plus lots of photos to develop and maps/scraps/brochures to organize. Oh yeah, and all that ‘find a job and place to live stuff’ to sort out too…all in good time.

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From Rome to Home!

July 17th, 2006

Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalks again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.

– Jack Kerouac

My backback is only slightly battered, but my feet are in need of some major TLC. The end of this part of the journey is near, but I’ve worked my legs to the bitter end here, conquering Rome the best I can in the past three days. I’ve seen much more than I thought I would, and it has been wonderful — I can’t think of a better city in which to end this journey and said Ciao to Europe – for now 🙂

I just checked my flights online and status seems okay. Tomorrow will be a long day…Rome to London, then to New Jersey, USA! I won’t really have time to explore London at all, but that is already on the list for the next visit (along with Scotland, right mom?)

For now, I will savour my last hours in Italy, my home for the past 17 days (plus a few more weeks earlier in the trip). This second visit to Italy has been just as incredible as the first. I spent time with my Italian cousin Ivonne in Asti, then visited Lucca and Pisa before heading to Florence for a few days. After that, it was a week in Tuscany with my American cousins, aunts and uncles, and my brother and sister-in-law too…it was so wonderful to see them all. We visited Siena, San Giminano, Pienza and Montalcino. And we all watched Italy’s World Cup win while secluded at our Tuscan villa! I said goodbye to all the fam on Saturday, and have spent the past three days solo for one last time on the trip…exploring Rome alone and just taking it all in — the chaos, madness and craziness that makes this city absolutely awesome. I walked EVERYWHERE and melted as I did it, but it has been a fabulous finale to an amazing five month dream come true…but I still think I am dreaming. Am I???

I’m looking forward to speaking with and seeing so many of you — VERY soon!! Safe travels and happy summer, wherever you are! See you soon Mom and Dad (and Dan too! miss you all!)

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