A good travel writer will take a place or a situation that has been beaten into the ground (“Top Ten Restaurants in Paris” “How to Pack for Rio”) and create a piece that at the end leaves you saying “Wow, that was completely different than what I expected.” Such is what happened after reading Suzanne Roberts’ latest piece for Matador Network, “You Are Terrible To Fly With.”
I myself, am terrible to fly with. I entered into this literary discourse thinking “Oh good, another piece focusing on fear of flight, another person I can sympathize with so that my friends, who hate flying with me because I am so paranoid, can back the fuck off.” Instead, I was drawn in by Roberts’ tale of balancing her flight anxiety with an annoying teenager’s breaking of the sacred “legroom/seatback” rule (being mindful of the people behind you when pushing your seatback allllll the way). The piece was entertaining because I kept expecting something terrible to happen – plane losing altitude, major turbulence, a narrative of her struggle between flight anxiety and the anxiety of annoyance – but it ended pleasantly (albeit, calming for me) and provided a delightful twist to otherwise fear of flight pieces that leave me more nervous about flying than before.
I’m not sleeping sitting up,” she says. You translate this in your head: My comfort is more important than yours. You teach at the community college and deal with teenagers who refuse to revise their stories and poems because they were born of divine inspiration, coming straight from their souls. This is a direct quotation. Maybe you are getting back at them for ignoring your sound advice? Regardless, the good news for you is that you have been able to concentrate on something other than the plane’s bubbling passage over “unstable air,” which is what your captain has called it.
How do you deal with flight anxiety and annoying flight mates? Have you ever gone to such extremes as Suzanne? Have you ever WANTED to but didn’t have the guts for fear of being arrested? Tell me about the craziest flight you’ve ever been on!
You Are Terrible to Fly With – Suzanne Roberts (for Matador Network)
I’ve been following Travel Fashion Girl for quite some time. I’ve always wanted to create a site dedicated to travel and fashion, but Alex beat me to the punch! We have been talking about collaborating for quite some time on various subjects, so expect to see more of my posts on her fabulous site, dedicated to everything from what to pack by country, to budget versus luxury travel fashion, and even interviews with famous travel bloggers on how to travel without looking like a pile of garbage!
My first post on her site deals with laser hair removal. I am a HUGE fan of this process because A) I am a naturally hairy gal and B) shaving while traveling is a HUGE PAIN IN THE ASS. For reals yo, if you’re a woman you know it’s either spend fifteen minutes (sometimes a day) shaving your bod, or go caveman style and embrace the furriness.
But LHR is incredibly beneficial for male and female travelers alike. It’s effective, it doesn’t have to be expensive, and most of all, it is one less thing to worry about while traveling.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “Laser devices send specific concentrated beams of light through the skin that are absorbed by the melanin (dark) pigment present in the hair follicle shafts. Because hair grows in cycles, repeated treatments are necessary to destroy the hair follicles.” You can find more information online and always read reviews before purchasing a package, to ensure the laser clinic or dermatologist is a good fit for you.
Read up on why I think laser hair removal is the best thing for travelers since the invention of the sarong:
A few weeks ago, an poingent article was written by Bart Schaneman entitled “Why you should stop traveling alone.” The essay is interesting and presents some very good points, its main thesis being that travel can be more fulfilling and memorable when experienced with friends. I think Schanerman meant well, or perhaps was being purposely controversial, since most of the travelsphere is made up of solo travellers. This is evidenced by the backlash his essay received from readers who seemed like their acceptance of independent travel was somehow attacked via his argument.
I read the article and immediately thought “Yeesh, this guy doesn’t know who he is writing for.” Not in a bad way, but telling people to stop traveling alone is a pretty bold statement, considering that most travel writers, bloggers and hobby travellers take their trips alone. So I wrote a response article supporting why people should start traveling alone.
Hot damn, did that garner some attention.
There’s no mistaking that traveling alone can be lonely. But you can feel just as insecure in your own backyard – if you’re going to feel sorry for yourself, do it somewhere cool.
I figured there might be equal backlash from people who agreed with Schanerman’s essay. After all, travel is only as good as a person, or people, make it, and travel experiences are subjective. There is obviously no right way to travel. I however enjoy solo travel more than traveling with friends, due to my independent nature. Apparently most travellers on Matador Network do too..
This is my most successful Matador article yet, and I am so happy with the response. I’ve received positive feedback, criticism, and folks who swing both ways. But I am so happy reading how my article has inspired people to travel on their own. That was never my intention – I was merely presenting my side of the argument – but I received countless twitter messages, emails and Facebook comments thanking me for helping them overcome their fear of traveling alone, and how my article gave them courage to do it now.
Call me a narcissist, but that’s an amazing fucking feeling, folks.
How do you feel about traveling alone? Are you a fan? What makes it special or revolting to you? I love discussing this topic with people and hearing their viewpoints on such a polar topic.
Read my article here:
BootsnAll recently helped launch a very exciting travel website entitled Indie, aimed at helping travel folks easily put together their dream of traveling around the world. With this program, one can plot out their RTW trip and get a nice, quick price quote for what their RTW trip will potentially cost them (prices are for airfare only, however you can plot out your land travel as well to get a better idea of how your trip will work. The land travel is not factored into the final price though).
Does it make it easy to create a RTW trip? Sure does! I love being able to map out where I want to go and how I’ll get there. Except there are a few problems…
I tried mapping out a few potential places based on location proximity. I hate flying as it is and like to be on a plane for as little amount of time as possible, so I tried to map out a route with airports relatively close to each other. The results are not so ideal. When I wanted to go from Mexico City to Bogota, Columbia – pretty close, as far as I could see – I’d have to fly from Mexico City, back to New York (my initial launch pad), then from New York to Bogota. Not only did I increase the amount of time on a plane, but I’m flying northeast to fly back southwest.
That’s about twice the gasoline emissions sent into the air for a trip that should be a one-stop shot. I have to tinker around with Indie’s site a little more. I do like that they include a section of successful RTW itineraries, which I’m going to browse, because maybe I’m setting my sights too high. But when you can book a 25-stop RTW trip in one shot, what’s to stop be from experimenting a bit?
I also wanted to fly from Brazil to Namibia, being that they are literally “across the pond” from each other. No dice. It would require me to fly from Rio, to New York, New York to Johannesburg, then Joburg to Namibia. A totally convoluted route to reach somewhere that, according to what I’d plotted out, seems like a straight shot. Not to mention all of the gasoline emissions from flying back, and forth, and back again.
Anyone know why this would be the case? Surely there are people who fly from Rio to Namibia who don’t have to deal with all of this crazy international hullabaloo. Does it have to do with visas/being an American citizen, and having to travel through an American hub? Maybe it’s just the flights that come onto the radar at the time I search, or maybe that’s just how the airline industry works.
Or maybe I’m just doing it wrong. I’m not planning on doing a RTW trip for some time, but when I do, I want it to be as easy as possible. Travel dudes, help me out!
Sign up for your own account on Indie here. Hopefully you have better luck than I!
PS just found this post on BootsnAll’s site: 5 Affordable Round the World Routes. I will definitely keep this in mind for planning my own trip!
One of my favorite travel memories is celebrating the Christmas holidays while in Europe. Czech Christmas is especially unique for a couple of reasons. Every culture has their own holiday traditions, but the Czechs are especially a bit…whacky.
Follow your host mother to the local market a week before Christmas. Watch her bargain with a fishmonger in Czech as she points to a large bucket of fish. So mom wants carp tonight…maybe this is like going to a fancy restaurant where you get to choose your favorite lobster to later be boiled alive. Be surprised the next time you attempt to take a shower, discovering the fish your host mother haggled for is now swimming in your bathtub.
Quietly decline when your host father offers you the chance to bash the carp’s brains in with a wooden mallet three days later.
Every year I think about how much I miss living in Prague, where the Christmastime spirit is totally different. It’s humbling. It’s traditional. I feel like Christmas fits in Prague.
Happy Christmas Eve everyone, and a very merry holiday no matter how you celebrate