Road Trip Landmarks 

I drove back from St. Louis to C-bus yesterday, ending a long weekend with Wee One and my folks, and a cousin’s bridal shower. Since the beginning of this year, I have made this drive every other month or so, usually alone with WO. It’s six hours, but always becomes longer when we stop to run around and/or get food.

On the drive, there are several “landmarks” I look for on the way that sort of signal to me where I am, and I’m sharing them with you today.

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Share Your World – Don’t Run Out Of Gas When You’re Exploring!

A weekly chance from Cee! Check out her page and see what other’s think.

Ever ran out of gas in your vehicle?

Oooh, yes. I was doing that door canvassing gig and was in a suburban part of St. Louis. It wasn’t my car, which is why I wasn’t thinking about how much gas it had: I probably assumed it was full. But it wasn’t. I was on a relatively busy street and I was able to pull over safely and walk to a gas station. It was more inconvenient than really traumatic.

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I Hear That Train A’Comin

When I was in college, I went to Europe to see a friend studying in Bochum, Germany.  We landed in Dusseldorf and took the train to Bochum.  And around Bochum. Then to Amsterdam. Then to Munich. Then to Vienna where took a train to Beethoven’s house.  Then we took a train (a very long and boring train) back to Bochum, and we took a train to Paris.  The Metro in Paris was dirty and crowded, but we took it, and went back to Bochum and back to Dusseldorf.

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Travelogue: Krakow – Best Place I Never Planned to Visit

10 years ago, my best friend gave me a beautiful gold and red journal that is almost sacred to me, so I don’t like writing just any old stuff in it.  The first time I traveled solo, I took it with me to write about the adventure, and I’ve taken it on every trip since.  Something I haven’t done before on this blog is to pull from those pages, share with you the things I thought, felt, experienced from my various trips, but todaythanks to a prompt about travel writing, I’m going to share one of them

Backstory: I have been part of the travel community Couchsurfing since 2007, and have made many friends all over the world on this site. (It has deteriorated severely since going public and becoming for-profit not long ago, but that’s a story for another time.) In 2009, the fine CSers of Krakow were hosting a couch crash, a several-day series of events and celebrations in one particular city. It’s just an excuse to travel, have fun, get to know cool CSers and a different city in a way you normally wouldn’t. My friend Denise was going to be passing Krakow for it, and, on a lark, I decided to meet her there. These are my notes from that trip. (This post is long, but worth it.):

Day One

Is there anything more delicious than the first shower after a few days? I think not.

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To Hear The Poem of Creation

Remember the first time I traveled solo.

And I mean solo, really solo.  I had taken a trip to San Francisco by-myself-but-with-others with Team in Training to do the Nike Women’s Marathon, and that was pretty cool. I went with other people to appease worried family members. But, in the spring of ’08, before I started my Master’s that fall, I wanted to go abroad. The problem was, nobody wanted to go with me.  Rather, they did, but they didn’t have the money or the vacation time to do it, and they didn’t really have an interest in seeing what I wanted to see.

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The trip before the trip

I love to travel.  I love the smells, the signs, the unspoken social mores for being in a crowd, seeing the different people, seeing the same birds. (A pigeon is a pigeon is a pigeon!) For those that have followed my writing for a bit, this will come as no surprise, but my favorite part about visiting a new place is the imagination fodder than travel provides.

Case in point:

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Far Far Far and Away Away Away

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an astronaut.  Actually, I wanted to be the first woman to go to Mars.  (I figured that men would already be there, and I already knew, even at five years old, that women had less privilege than men, and I thought it was that much more important that I go.)

In my imagination, the furthest I’ve traveled from home is into space, into a black hole. They are fascinating to a nerd like me, devoid of time, gravity pulling everything to it.  Nothing can escape; not even light. I used to like to draw a black hole and the event horizon surrounding it, the point at which you can’t turn back.

Why haven’t we been sucked into one, yet? Like, why haven’t all the black holes been sucking all the matter in space so much that there is no matter? And where is the center?  There has to be a point of, like, zero gravity, if you will, the point at which the sucking stops.  Where is that? What’s that like? Is there a vacuum bag? Where do all the rocks go, the rocks that are sucked in?

For realz, physically, the farthest I’ve been from home is Krakow, Poland. It was gorgeous and fun.  The Krakovian members of the travel community couchsurfing.com organized a weekend of events, and I went a few days early.  Poland had not originally been on my list of places to visit, but it was totally worth it

Emotionally, the farthest I’ve been from home was probably August 3rd, 1997, a little town in the boot heel of Missouri. The darkest night of my life.