Saturday, December 27, 2008

"When I go abroad I always sail from Boston since it is such a pleasant place to get away from."
-Oliver Herford

Gladly, my new home hasn't inspired these words from me. In fact, I'm considering leaving my parent's in NJ early, I'm so anxious to buy some furniture, put up some photos on the walls and settle in. You would too after 48 hours on the road and in the airports during the holiday rush.

My flight would have been missed either way, but I did experience some luck on my 2 day trek to Boston from Aspen. The last night in Aspen I did my normal revelry, waking up in someone else's bed in someone else's condo. Through a morning haze I glanced at my wrist watch and noticed it was 7:30. The bus to Denver to catch my plane left at 6am.

I ran back to my condo packed in seconds and began racking my brain for plan B to get to Denver while I microwaved some leftover grits. Then my phone rang, "Megan? Are you still here? The bus arrived late. We're going to leave now." The Gods had smiled upon me!

I made it just in time to hop on the back of the line into the bus. I settled in. Eating my grits I had thrown into a paper cup on my way out the door, I thanked my lucky stars. No matter that my name during roll-call elicited some loud boos from the crowd (they had been waiting 2 hours in the cold while I had slept soundly through the alarm)--I was on board!

Of course with the tardiness of the bus and the heavy snow, we all still missed our flights, but at least I didn't have to hitchhike into Denver.

When I finally made it into Boston the next day, the 2 feet of snow there made Aspen pale in comparison. We spent a good long time digging the car out of it's mini-snow mountain. It was all worth it when I lugged my suitcase up the stairs in my beautiful 3-story victorian house--I was home.

Boston, such a pleasant place to come home to.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Road Tripping Photos

I barely had time to blog about this before since I was driving 7-10 hours a day to get across country, but this fall I repeated my cross-country trek. This time going East, I was joined by Dad. We had a good, if tiring time.

Highlights from the Trip and Photos

Driving through Las Vegas during daylight and seeing 3 people getting arrested and an Elvis wedding
Amazing Mexican food in Nevada
Work retreat in Keystone, CO
Listening to RadioLab podcasts with Dad
Chicago! -- staying with Dad in a hostel, drinking and suprise dance night at the Green Mill, Lonley Planet-led walking tour
A tiny diner in Indiana next to an industrial mill
Seeing the great lakes, multiple ones
Reaching Boston!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tips for Sleeping in Airports

Layer on the sweaters.

Use your scarf as a mat and balls of yarn in your bag as a pillow.

Give crying babies dirty looks and imagine yourself telling them that they're going to rot in hell if they don't shut up.

Find the waiting area where 1/2 the lights are out (near the Continental checkout counter in Denver.)

Just remember that the next night you'll be warm in your own bed (unless of course you're moving into a new 
apartment with no furniture).

Sleep is for the weak!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Worse for the Wear

This year's Aspen was definitely the kind of vacation you need a vacation from.  Luckily, Christmas vacation starts Thursday.  

Unluckily, there are inordinate amounts of work to do.  I have to move my belongings up 3 flights of stairs and I'll likely pull an all-nighter on Tuesday to get all my work done.

I have only a few regrets this year from Aspen.  I should have slept more.  I should have excercised.  I probably should have watched less tv and gone outside to enjoy the place.  There's a few friends that I didn't even know were there until the last day!

The theme of this year's Aspen was pah-tay.  Every night was full of dinner parties, drinks, dancing and a bit of mischieviousness.  While I barely moved from the couch next to the fireplace and tv all day, I kept myself very busy from 9pm-2am every night.  

I happily have figured out the secret to avoiding hangovers, but my nose is runny, my throat is scratchy and my makeshift bed on the airport floor won't be good for making up for lost sleep. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

In the Air (almost)

Of course I can't write this from the air, but I'm sitting right next to gate 18 at the Boston Logan airport.  I think I didn't know what I was missing after flying out and in of Miami, LAX and Denver the past few years. 

Office to Airport: 30 minutes
Check-in and security: 15 minutes
Time left to hang out at the Borders store reading up on Mexico travel and blog: 2 1/2 hours!

Free wifi to boot!
(edited: Turns out not free, I'm just tapping into an unsecure network.  Why the hell is there an unsecure network at the airport?!)

I might just have to take more flights.  

In fact, I'm already planning my next 4 trips--Miami, Montreal, Virginia Beach and Mexico.

Feel free to join me or just give advice!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"Europe will be more fun without you."

As I had hoped, Rick Steves did not disappoint.  He changed his normal talk about Europe traveling tips to his own personal musings on 'Why We Travel.'  Some of it was about why we do travel, but a lot of it was 'Why We Should Travel.'  Especially meaningful in our  protectionist, more narrowly-minded society than ever.  The 21% of us in America with passports have some work to do in bringing cultural understanding to the folks for whom travel is lying on a cruise ship deck to tan.

We should travel because we will understand and be more compassionate of other cultures.  We should we'll learn to appretiate why certain people around the world are incredibly passionate about cheese or cigars--or religion for that matter.  We should travel becuase it will help us realize that other cultures find other truths to be self-evident.  (got that one from Rick)

Much of the material was familiar since I read his blog regularly, but there were some pretty inspiring snippets.  Rick's critique about legislating morality--like marijuana and prostitution--in America, that it doesn't stop people from breaking the law, just makes it more dangerous and wastes tax payer dollars on prison.  His railing against the dumbing down of society by our media and politicians.  

The crowd's favorite moment was when he told us about customers who would write to him that they were no longer going to go on his tours since he promoted 'trying to understand the enemy' (his visit to Iran) and legalizing drugs (decriminalizing marijauana).   His comment, "Well, Europe will be more fun without you," was greeted by loud applause.

Ah, it is good to be back in a city full of progressives.  For the long term I still haven't decided where I should settle down (if I should decide to do so).  Do I like old friends and liberals more than sunny skies and palm trees?  

I think they might be winning me over up here.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Rick's in Town

My favorite travel guru is in Boston this week! Rick Steves is not only an excellent guidebook writer, but a great travel writer, host of an awesome NPR show and a progressive activist.

I saw him speak in California at a travel conference where he railed against all the profit-driven tours that take kick-backs from crappy tourist stores pointing to their booths right outside of his speaking area and then complained about how the media scares people from traveling while there was a big LA Times banned behind his head.

If you're in the Boston area, check it out:

Rick Steves at the Globe Bookstore

This Thursday at 5pm
90 Mt. Auburn St.
Harvard Square