I’m not exactly certain what it takes to be a travel writer. I’ve read plenty of “travel” articles and some are entertaining while being informative, and some are down right boring and arrogant – as if we all can travel. Travel is expensive, no matter how you slice it. Pizza isn’t expensive, especially if you make it at home instead of buying it from a dealer…and lets face it, pizza is a drug.
I haven’t been writing much lately because of my hand injury but since I am on the mend, I am able to type once more. My other reason for not writing as much is that I have suddenly been traveling. Honestly I had come to terms with the fact that perhaps my globe-trotting days were over. I was very lucky to have traveled a lot when younger but in the last few years my excursions were whittled down to a visit to New York once in a while to visit family and the occasional jaunt to the desert for purposes non-recreational.
Briefly I shall sum up my travel likes and dislikes…not a top ten list okay?
The jackasses at baggage claim who mow you over trying to get their bags as if you were not there as well. One can sustain serious injury if not aware that an enormous Samsonite is flying your way.
The jackasses with backpacks on at baggage claim who are completely unaware that every time they move they bash you with their humpback. I’m sorry to say this but it is usually some “trekker” hippy/hipster and it makes me violent.
The jackasses who stop dead in front of you while you try to traverse an airport terminal – once again completely unaware that there might be others around. Of course these are the same people who drive shopping carts in the super market as if they are ice skating alone on a pond. I hate them.
And then there is your seat partner on the plane. Do I really need to describe the many personality types involved here? Let me just say that having flown 10 hours next to a woman who refused to pull her window shade down while most everyone was sleeping or trying to watch a movie, made me want to punch her in the temple. And I’m not a violent person.
And here is one dislike that many of you will probably disagree with: dressing comfortably. I understand how uncomfortable it is to be stuck on a bus, train, boat, plane, car – whatever – for hours or days at a time but why can’t one dress nicely and be comfortable? It was positively shameful, and downright disgusting, the outfits I saw. And you know exactly who you are. I’m not even going to go into this further. If you don’t know how to dress comfortably and look nice, get off your high horse and get help.
I was just surprised with three days in London and 4 in the South of France so no matter what I might want to bitch about, I can’t believe how incredibly lucky and blessed I feel.
I ate and drank my way through London. With friends working at some of the best restaurants; 34 (where I saw Russell Crowe dressed like such a bum, I wanted to get up and punch him -and I’m not a violent person), The Delaunay (where I simply wanted to move in). Visits to others: The River Cafe, The Groucho Club…well I just didn’t know whose life I was living!
A stay at Claridges? Are you kidding me? I never once dreamed I would see the inside of this place other than watching Jeeves & Wooster. Of course those silly Twilight kids were staying there so that made it kind of gross but one must deal, celebrities are everywhere, the zombie invasion is here.
There was some work involved but if you count blowing up giant weather balloons, inserting lights and tethering them to buoys in the mediterranean work, I don’t know what to say to you. Chasing an escaped 8 foot balloon along the rocky shores in a speed boat manned by a Frenchman who had been sailing that particular coast his entire life, was not work- it was fucking Mission Impossible okay? And yes, we caught it.
The “likes” of travel are the unseen, the unplanned and the people. Just as much as they are the “dislikes”. The streets in Juan Le Pins were covered in a fine yellow dust which sent me into such an aggressive allergy attack I almost spent the rest of the trip confined to my hotel room. But I was blessed with rain, wonderful French antihistamines and so much Rose that I felt no pain. One must soldier on.
We are all aware of the lack of manners most of the world use as a badge of honor. To be rude and grumpy is apparently the new way, but I won’t have any of it. Wherever I went I smiled as if on a hallucinogen and let me tell you it works wonders. Sure some people stare at you as if insane and there were times I did feel a tad crazy.
Watching anorexic women in 5 inch heels, dark glasses and sullen faces attempt to board a pontoon to whisk them off to some giant yacht made me laugh as well as cringe inside. I, barefooted, unkempt hair, red-nosed embracing a giant balloon so as not to fly away probably seemed like a circus performer. Perhaps they pitied me, but I was smiling so much it hurt my face. How can one frown working or playing at The Eden Rock for God’s sake?
I celebrated my 46th birthday at midnight sipping champagne with dear friends and the rich and famous in the south of France, but I will just bet that I was having way more fun than most. My plans had been to celebrate my birthday with a couple of Rhodesian ridgebacks all alone up a canyon in Los Angeles but fate had other plans. I nearly declined the trip (for some idiotic reasons) but instead I jumped in.
We can make plans, depend on them, watch them fizzle, watch them explode but we must always remember that anything can happen at anytime. Good or bad. Don’t be so sure that life is over or that the repetition of your life is the road ahead, you are simply not that clairvoyant.
Get your sea legs, get boat bites, get allergies, but take the fucking back pack OFF at baggage claim!
We design our lives – well most of us do. If you have running water, electricity, shoes and a roof over your head, you are rich. If you are free to take a walk in a park, you are traveling.