I’m new here, to this space, and I’m still figuring out what I want it to feel like. Mostly, I want to write about travel adventures and my National Park experiences, partly because I want to remember them and also because I want to share them with anyone who might find them useful. But I’m also a person with a whole bunch of feelings and it just wouldn’t be my space if I didn’t take some time to dump my feelings out on the internet every now and then.
I went to San Francisco back in February, for the start of my post-deployment West Coast adventure that also included San Diego and Portland. It was my third time in San Francisco, and I split the time doing ALL THE TOURIST THINGS since my travel partner had never been, and scampering through a few local haunts with my San Francisco-dwelling friend.
Our 26th president, one Theodore Roosevelt, was a legit badass. He was just 42 when he took office, following the assassination of President McKinley, which makes him the youngest president we’ve ever had. After his death, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions as commander of the Rough Riders at the Battle of San Juan Hill. His face is carved into Mount Rushmore next to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.
Few things make me feel more legit as a world wanderer than showing up in a new city and taking public transit. Buses or metros or ferries or what the shit else, when I travel to new cities or countries, I want in on the public modes of transportation.
And that’s kind of how it started in Verona. We took the train in from Milan, stowed our luggage at the train station, bought some bus tickets and then scampered around in some circles trying to find the right bus, or rather, one of the right buses, got on the bus, validated our tickets and 10 or so minutes later we were standing in front of the Verona Arena.
When you’re on a multi-day drive in a big stupid truck hauling home some furniture that belonged to your dead grandmother, it’s best to include some adventures along the way. In fact, it’s probably mandatory.
I’d never done the drive from Texas to Virginia, although it’s one my grandmother managed a few times in her 89 years of life. She was born in Loop, Texas, between Lubbock and Midland, and then moved to Virginia and, much later, returned to Texas, to Houston, for her remaining years.
If I had to pick one food to eat for the rest of my life, it would be tacos. I wouldn’t even hesitate. There are a lot of foods I love, like cheese, especially cheese, but there is no one food thing I love more.
When I read this Buzzfeed article about tacos in the Queens, New York-neighborhood of Jackson Heights, it seemed like a legitimate adventure and, finding myself in Queens one Sunday, I figured, what the hell. Let’s get some damn tacos.
I’ve come by the nickname “Snow White” honestly. It’s fitting for me, a girl who won’t turn down the opportunity to befriend or help an animal, who has two husky mutts who own my heart and also a terrible cat I found in my backyard when she was just a wee two-week old kitten. I squee at all critters and scream or mumble “hello, pup-pup,” to every dog I encounter and I can’t pick up dog food without also stopping to say hello to the ferrets, frogs, snakes and lizards at the pet store.
I almost didn’t go to Venice. Everyone I asked seemed to have a very strong feeling about it. Someone would tell me how filthy and smelly and crowded it is and I’d decide in a huff that, fuck it, it’s not worth the effort because I hate crowds and also smells. And then someone else would tell me how romantic it is, how beautiful and special and magical, and so, in the end I went.
Upon learning I had a nine-hour layover in Amsterdam, I immediately hit the google. Was that enough time for an adventure? How close is the airport to the city center? How hard is it to get out of the airport and back in a handful of hours? I had all the questions and the internet reassured me, told me that yeah, sure, I could totally get into the city and see some things with relative ease and that nine hours was plenty of time for a mini-adventure and airport escape.