Dear readers, you’re going to want to sit down for this. Before I say what I’m about to say, might I suggest that NOW would be a good time to take up laugh yoga… meditation… prayer… anything really that helps you go to your happy place.
Okay. I’m just going to rip the band-aid off: Here and Goes.
Starting tomorrow, I will be off on a 2-week long vacation. No laptop. No checking my Nerd Rom inbox. No Mailbag Mondays!!!
Try as you might, you will NOT make me feel guilty for this. This is my first big — as in passport stamping, currency exchanging — trip since boarding the S.S. Homeowner Ship 3 years ago. I’ve been busting my chops, playing nice, putting down roots, putting up shop — AND frankly, it’s time to feed the travel bug a big, huge slice of globe-trotting pie.
And while I couldn’t be more excited to take my dusty, Patagonia hiking pack out of storage (can you say wicking skivvies!) and set off to charter an entirely unexplored country — my friends and family are a little more apprehensive. Their concern is 2-fold:
First, did I mention I was going to Medellin, Colombia?
- As in with an “O.”
- As in Pabl-O Esc-O-bar.
But really that’s just geography and ONE very UN–IRONIC walrus mustache.
It’s basically just a general knowledge of my travel history that has them on edge. The fact that I have zero sense of direction; that I’m the kind of person who doesn’t just get lost driving in my car, but also have been known to lose my car itself.
And then there’s the actual track record of my personal misadventures, which can, in the wrong light, read like Inspector Clouseau meets an after-school-special.
Here are my top 10, by age and location:
- 9 yo, Chichen Itza: Family is chased through the Yucatan jungle in the dark of night by masked banditos with machetes. (I am fast asleep in the back throughout the whole ordeal)
- 10 yo, Hawaii: While constructing the most badasstastic drip castle ever, I turn around only to see the mouth of a rogue wave milliseconds before it pummels me into the bottom of the ocean floor.
- 12 yo, Jamaica: While climbing Dunns Rivers Falls, I fall into a slippery-rock-sided watering hole and am pulled out by my dad just in the nick of time.
- 13 yo, somewhere in the Caribbean: Family gets stuck on a cruise ship during a Category 4 Hurricane. The sound of synchronized up-chucking haunts me to this day.
- 14 yo, Bahamas: Picture it: My family and I are sunbathing in a little cove. All of a sudden, a speed boat races by. Then, seconds later, a fleet of siren-blaring coast guards follow. Drug dealers toss their stash overboard. My brother goes snorkeling and pulls a soggy $100 bill off the back of a barracuda.
- 24 yo, Europe: Friend and I take a train from Barcelona to Amsterdam with no money and an expired credit card. Must resort to street performance-art by day, and by night eating hostel biscuits and watching Los Simpsones — the Spanish Simpsons — in a random guy’s hash bar. “Come mis pantalones, Dude!”
- 29 yo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico: Horse-back riding disaster, followed by a 12-year old boy running up to me and sticking his tongue down my throat on a friend’s dare.
- 30 yo, Peru: Altitude sickness nearly causes me to fall down Juanu Picchu, taking out an entire tour group along the way.
- 9 through 34 yo: The “LOST” years: Went missing in Disney Land, Berlin, Barcelona, Vienna, Venice, Aruba, and most recently the California Red Woods.
Sure. On the surface it looks kinda amber-alerty. But here’s the thing. I’ve learned from my mistakes. I’ve watched my fair share of Les Stroud’s “Survivorman.” I know all about stranger danger, not struggling against riptides, and what NOT to do in a major South American drug trafficking hub to attract the wrong kind of attention. Such as:
- Don’t accept any unusual looking, ceramic bunny statues from strangers
- Don’t wander off for an afternoon walk in the hillsides
- Don’t feed the crocodiles
- Don’t get into any unmarked mules
- Don’t ask people where the “powder room” is.
- Don’t wear my “Cuckoo for COCA Puffs” t-shirt
- Don’t fraternize with US Secret Servicemen
Frankly, I like to think of myself as a less husky-voiced, brunette version of the fictional heroine Joan Wilder in the 1980’s masterstroke “Romancing the Stone.”
You can’t deny the strikingly similar parallels between us:
- We’re both hopeless daydreamers who weep over our typewriters (mine: laptop)
- We both wear flannel, plaid pajamas
- We both live alone in our big-city apartments.
- We both have male cats: Hers, “Romeo.” Mine, “Poppycock.”
- We both have wild, big 80’s hairdo’s and wear wide, floppy hats
- She’s a romance novelist; I’m an unlicensed romance blogologist
- She receives a treasure map in the mail and goes to Colombia to rescue her sister from a corrupt antiquities dealer.
- I got an E-ticket and will go to Colombia to hang out with my dear friend who attends art school in the heart of the city.
ME & JOAN
I can’t help it. I like to live on the edge. But really, the view is oh soooo much better from there. And who knows, maybe I’ll come back to a sailboat parked in my driveway!
Hasta lueggo my Eggos. I WILL see you in November!!