Archive for the 'wanderlust' category

July 7th, 2011

» plane game

The plane game is one of patience. Waiting through security, waiting at the gate, waiting to board. Standing awkwardly in the narrow aisle, waiting for someone further on to repack their bag, to finally swing into their row. So many annoyed, resigned faces.

You finally inch into your seat and then it’s the set-up negotiation, all knees and neighbor’s elbow and uncooperative backpack. You wedge a book into the seatback pocket, balance your headphone case on one knee, catch a pencil briefly between your teeth. The backpack goes under the seat in front of you after a few insistent kicks; you slip off your shoes; you finally relax back.

Last week I was seated next to an unobjectionable enough neighbor. He took the armrest but I had the side of the plane to lean against. He was quiet, did not smell bad, and was not wearing a pink spandex jumpsuit. He did, however, dangle his hands between his thighs, and spend nearly the entire flight jiggling his knees together and apart. When the plane landed he bent each arm up in turn, then folded each hand forward at the wrist and pressed sharply down on them, as though they needed reattaching. A doll securing his joints. It was such a strange, fascinating gesture that I nearly forgave him for having spent the last three hours seeming to jerk off next to me.

May 4th, 2011

» London 2011

Before I went to London, my mom gave me this amazing Moleskine London city book. It’s 3.5″ x 5.5″ (small enough to live easily in my camera bag), and has maps of the city and lots of little blank tabbed sections: an invitation to write your own guidebook. I love making lists, and had a lot of fun keeping this different sort of travel journal. There’s the daily weather commentary, the record of everything I ate, a list of everywhere I went, people I met, my mood at any given moment, interesting things I saw & heard, questions I was left with. I can’t wait to page through it in a year or so to be transported right back to my week there.

The one thing I really wish I’d brought was a pedometer, or a fancy-pants GPS route tracker or something. I walked a lot. I’d already known that I like to walk, and that walking helps de-stress me — but I guess I’d never really thought about it much, never examined it. Just, sometimes I walk, or pace a lot around home when I’m anxious. Evidently, given the opportunity, I will more or less cripple myself walking. Halfway through my first full day I’d blistered both of my feet; I spent the rest of the trip walking anyhow. It did force me to slow down a little, to something more resembling a normal person’s pace. It also encouraged me to take time to eat, and to sit in coffee shops and gardens with my book. Anyway, it was good. I think I should incorporate more deliberate walking time into my life.

I was in London April 9-16. Normally this is about the time I’d post here saying I had a wonderful trip and really owe you a detailed series of posts with pictures, and won’t it all be lovely — but you see how long it took me to finish Bali, so this time I’m doing something different.

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April 28th, 2011

» Bali: Wrap-up

When I returned from Bali, I made a pact with myself to transcribe the journal I’d kept during my trip and post it here. It’s pretty rough, just something I wrote for myself, sometimes in a great rush, and I knew it would be hard to not edit myself. (I occasionally get taken with a perverse and driving need to do things that scare me; I’ve found it makes life more interesting to seize those moments, to jump out of the airplanes and strap on the skis and yes, even climb the volcanoes.) I also knew if I let myself rewrite everything I would never, ever finish it, so. I ended up cutting very little of what I actually wrote, and I have a very valid reason for everything I did omit, so I’m calling it a success. The end in particular I thought was boring and probably doesn’t convey what it was really like to be there, so I’m sorry for that, but obviously being so sick was an overriding focus of those days. It was what it was. Gives me a goal for future travel journaling: be less boring. (Also: never get food poisoning again.)

I also found it really interesting to read back through what I wrote and how I wrote it. I was amazed at the things I didn’t convey. The experiences that are so bright and enormous in my mind that were distilled down in some throwaway sentence, or left out entirely. I guess that’s the nature of the beast. Some things are impossible to explain, and while you’re in the middle of living something you never know what will stick in the end, what of it will grab hold of your heart.

Anyhow. For folks who haven’t been following from the beginning, here’s a handy little link list:

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April 28th, 2011

» Bali: Sat 4 Dec 2010

When we land in Minneapolis at 2:35 pm CST we’ve already had a very long Saturday — over 28 hours of it. We caught a couple hours of sleep on the flight from Denpasar to Seoul, and another half hour or so from Chicago home, but apart from that we’ve been up for nearly 2 days — 46 hours by now.

The airport is full of Christmas music, and outside everything’s white. The air is crisp but not cruel, and the snow is light and squeaky underfoot. There’s a glittering fluff of snow on the trees, and everything is beautiful.

April 27th, 2011

» Bali: Fri 3 Dec 2010

We have a leisurely morning, lingering over breakfast. Masa Inn has changed their menu in the last however-many days (10ish) — no more jaffles, or any Indonesian fare (except on Wednesdays & Saturdays at their buffet). I have a little fruit salad with yogurt, part of a bowl of coco pops, a from-a-box tasting banana pancake, banana papaya juice, and heaps of tea. I feel mostly good after all that, yay!

We suit up for a swim in the main pool. It’s humid and bright, and being in the water feels great but we mostly just bob and float around chatting, not much swimming going on. After we’re all pruney we stretch out on our lawn chairs to read a bit, then back to the room to shower and pack.

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