Documenting my love of travel, both at home and away

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At Long Last, I Am Here

On the beach in Nosara, Costa Rica, December 2009

I will get the obligatory and quite cliche “Hi, world, this is my first blog” line out of the way and say first, thank you for reading this (though I imagine most of you are family members eager to hear of my safety and whereabouts)!

At long last, I am here- what does this mean? For the fourth time, I am in Europe, and for the third time, in Italy.  I believe it is the fifth time I am on an extended solo trip (certainly not a “vacation”), and it is the second time I have bought a plane ticket relatively spur-of-the-moment because I got an email about cheap flights that I  simply could not pass up.

 

capturing the bright sun in the cinque terre

sunset effects in the cinque terre on my second visit to Italy in 2005

“Here” also means finally starting a travel-related blog that I have been meaning to write for probably over a year now. After much debate, I settled on this name, partially inspired by Walt Whitman’s poem, “Song of the Open Road”, and a bit borrowed from the title of an Iron and Wine song, “Lovesong of the Buzzard”. Whether or not this is actually a good title, or everyone else likes it, is neither here nor there at the moment, as I wanted to get on and just write already.  I hope to share what I learn, see and experience while traveling- at the moment in Italy- as well as provide you with interesting articles, websites and resources I find that will probably have something to do with travel, sustainable living, a combination of the two, or maybe even something else entirely.  In addition to mere words, I will try to include plenty of photos (yay! everyone likes pictures), because seeing places from each person’s point of view is really one of the most intriguing aspects of storytelling and traveling.

Lastly,  “here” refers to the place I am in internally while on the road. As my plane took off from JFK last night, I wrote in my journal, “Happy Me Time again! (I have granted myself this)” , for traveling alone is where I come alive. I feel rejuvenated, reinvigorated, and reinspired.  I am in my element- in a position of being both the audience member of the play and the one in the starring role.  Armed with my camera and my journal (and for the first time, an amazing assortment of techie gear), I am suddenly an expert at such things as navigation, geography, miming, reading foreign street signs, and striking up conversations with strangers.  Of course, I’m no expert: earlier today at the Milan Stazione Centrale (the central train station), I somewhat desperately ended up paying 3 euros for one local phone call.  This little incident ends up being one of the comical snafus that usually occur on those uncertain first days and don’t detract at all from the overall sense of, well, awesomeness! This is me, doing what I do best. I am  soaking up those feelings of competence and self-confidence, revelling in the unique perspective I get by staying with locals…and hopefully doing some interesting enough things to keep you guys interested. Happy reading! More to come quite soon!

 

Barcelona had some wonderful graffiti

words to live by in Barcelona, Spain, April 2009

From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,
Going where I list, my own master total and absolute,
Listening to others, and considering well what they say,
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.”
–Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road