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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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 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.