"Carry-on? Shmarry-on!" Karnubawax's Profile
Hello Fellow Travelers!!!
Well, it's been a while. Hope you all are doing well.
As you know, I haven't been VTing in quite a while. A combination of work, other commitments, my blogging, and my complete lack of being able to travel have forced me to prioritize and, sadly, VT was the area where I had to cut.
It's nothing personal... I still love the site and wish I had more time to devote to it. VT is a great resource for travelers everywhere and I hope that you find what you're looking for here.
I'm going to keep this page on life support should the details of my life change significantly, which is always an option. Who knows... maybe I'll have to go on the lam for some reason, and then all those travel tips will come in real handy!
God bless you all and keep on traveling! It beats working... I know...
8/31/08 - Added a tip on a SF institution - The Mint - the premier hard drinkin' karaoke bar.
8/22/08 - I've started a Flickr page to share all of my photos! Find it here.
7/10/08 - I'm overhauling my Sears Point page to put in all the photos I took at the 2008 NASCAR race, so check it out... it's all new!
6/04/08 - Added tip on one of my favorite new restaurants, The Little Chihuahua in the Haight. Also added a PSA about SF clubs I.D. policies - or "carding."
4/13/08 - Added SF tip about "Drop Everything Days". I put a separate tip on the phenomenon we call "Earthquake weather."
3/25/08 - Redid my San Francisco homepage, to put in a pic and a blurb about the NOPA district, the trendy new neighborhood that has sprung up around my house!
3/25/08 - Added "The Weather Vanes of Cuesta" travelogue to my Cuesta-by-the-Sea page.
3/20/08 - Added tip on the Baywood Naval Museum in Baywood Park, CA.
2/21/08 - I went to the San Francisco Zoo today, and added a tip on it! Giraffe photos!!
1/29/08 - Added "The Legend of the Panhandle Pigeons" to my San Francisco Page.
12/24/07 - Merry Christmas! - I finally got a start on some Central California postings. You can start with my 'Guaranteed Top 5' Los Osos page.
12/5/07- overhauled my homepage! Rewrote all of the sections below, erased a bunch of stuff that's been sitting here forever picking up cyber-dust, and am in the process of getting a few new pics to put up. Enjoy!
Virginia/North Carolina/Georgia - October '08
Orkney Islands, Scotland
Grand Canyon backpack*
Climbing Mt. Shasta
... and, to visit all 50 states (21 down, 29 to go)
* = indicates return trip
How Do I VT?
I’ve been a member of VT now for over 3 years, and I love this site and am really glad I found it. I find the information available here to be extremely helpful, but, more importantly, it has that personal touch that you can’t get from some chamber-of-commerce website. I love the quality of review that you get with VT, and I try to contribute to that.
VT has lots of very insightful, informative tips to help make your trip the best it can be. In addition - like most travelogue websites - it can contain a lot of wholly un-useful information, irrelevant personal photos masquerading as tips, and a surprising number of blank tips (or, as I call them, "tips to nowhere"). My strategy is to find great pages, and then see what else the member has written. Chances are it will be just as good.
As for me, I try hard not to put any useless tips on any of my pages. It is my hope that at least one person will get something out of each and every tip I write. I take my VTing seriously. I'm not concerned so much about my rating... okay, that's a lie, I am... but I'm not concerned about it enough to try to pad my numbers by piling on useless tips, or by putting every single photo I've ever taken on the destination pages and undermine people who are actually trying to take this whole thing seriously. I know I'm in the minority, but, hey, if you're going to do it, then do it!
How do I decide when I've "been" somewhere "enough" to make it tip-worthy? I try to make spending the night a requirement, but if I have a story to share about a place, then - for me - that means I've "been" there (rather than just "passed thru"). For visiting states, I make spending the night mandatory, or it doesn’t count as actually “visiting” them. The same goes for countries; if I ride a train through a country without stopping, then - for me - it doesn’t count.
My current VT kick is to see how many California towns I can write about. Now, that means I have to have at least spent the night, or stayed there long enough to have a story to tell about it. So far I am up to 60 towns, parks, or areas! And I've hardly scratched the surface!
Many VTers would never dream of actually meeting someone that they talked to or shared tips with on this website. In my opinion, these folks are missing out! I have met lots of great people, and even made some lifelong friends, among the many folks I have talked to on this site.
Don't forget to rate your fellow VTers tips!!! Giving a good rating to a useful, informative tip bumps up its' place on the pages, and makes them more visible and easily found by other viewers. As far as "negative" rating goes, I don't do it. I'm not a believer in the ol' "any publicity is good publicity" theory, so I'd rather just not say anything rather than justify a bad tips' existence with a 1-star rating. But, you do as you will.
How Do I Travel?
“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” - Henry David Thoreau
My style of traveling is very different from other people’s. First off, I almost always travel solo; I make the rules, I decide what to see, I decide when to hang and when to push on. But America doesn't like us solo travelers (most of America prefers to call us "drifters"). The words "Per Person, Double Occupancy" might as well be stamped on our money!
A hotel for me is simply a clean, quiet place, to sleep, take a shower, and watch the local news on TV. Therefore, I try to get away as cheaply as possible. I feel defeated if I have to pay more than $50 per night! I haven't done the hostel thing very much (I like having my own room), but I'm not adverse to the idea, and I may be making an 'elderhostel' out of a AYH near you soon!
Eating is a different world, too. That great steakhouse may be fun if you're a couple or a group, but for the single traveler it can be downright depressing. I tend to gravitate towards livelier establishments, eat in bars or pubs (even though I don't drink anymore), or fend for myself if I'm camping in a National Park somewhere. As for what to eat... the stranger the better! Fried cactus, alligator, rattlesnake - in whatever weird sauce the locals love. Remember... "if you can't pronounce it, it’s got to be good!"
When I go to a new place, I search for the things that make it special and unique, the things I can't find at home. Sadly, as the crushing juggernaut of "globalization" homogenizes and strips the special-ness from more and more places, this is getting increasingly difficult to do. Indeed, there are parts of Mexico that are more like America than most American cities (and I have no doubt that soon the opposite will be true as well)! Maybe this is good in regards to the standards of living for the locals, but I can't help but feel that something valuable is being lost in all this.
Maybe this is just the lament of a rich (by world standards) American white guy, but it saddens me a bit when I have to request indigenous music at a tropical seaside bar - when the locals would rather listen to Phil Collins.
What Is Travel For?
Why do we travel, anyway? I mean, what good is it? Is traveling just about "recharging our batteries?" Is vacationing just a way of supplying a little lubrication, before we go back to "the grind?"
To some, that is what traveling is all about. But not to me.
To me, travel is not a luxury - it is a necessity. I don't travel because I want to; I travel because I need to. My philosophy of travel (which, I will grant, may be very different from yours) is that it is absolutely necessary to create a well-rounded person. When we travel, we realize that, despite some glaring surface differences, the truth of the matter is that we are for more similar than we are different. I know that I would be a miserable human being if I were not able to travel and experience different cultures, eat different foods, breathe different air.
In my not-so-humble opinion, travel is every bit as important to a person's "education" as going to school is. I need intellectual stimulation, and travel provides me with that - not just in the traveling, but in the planning as well. I like planning trips almost as much as I like taking them! I go to the library and try to get every book on a place before I go there; even if I don't end up going, I still will have learned something new. Beats paying for school!
Just what is a vacation, anyway? We Americans are terrible at taking time off. Most of us hardly do it; indeed, a quarter of us take no vacation AT ALL! And on those rare occasions we actually do go somewhere, it's hardly a relaxing, rejuvenating experience.
Here, for what it's worth, is my definition of a vacation:
1) Must be at least 4 nights - not including travel time.
2) Must be at least 200 miles away from home.
3) It must have nothing to do with work.
4) And, aside from your immediate family, no relatives.
That’s right... going to grandma’s house does not count as a vacation. That’s called visiting relatives. And I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that there’s a difference!
For myself, I would also add a clause about communication. I personally don't understand how people can be constantly checking their e-mail and taking cell phone calls while on vacation. I just don't get it. The best thing about a vacation is getting a taste of something different from your everyday life. What's the point if you insist on bringing your everyday life with you?
Now, truth be known, I do actually own a cell phone - which I never ever use - except when I'm on vacation. I give the # to a few very trusted people, and tell them to call only in a real emergency. It is nice, I will admit, not to have to hunt for a pay phone when calling ahead to a hotel. But I seriously try to use it as little as possible.
I mean, come on... don't you watch Star Trek TNG? Remember the Borg? So caught up in their "collective consciousness" and all their little add-on gadgets that they don't see what's happening right in front of them? There's a lesson there, kids!
What Do I Do Besides Travel?
Too much!!! But seriously, I have to work, unfortunately. Fortunately, it’s a great company with really great people. And, although I don’t have a position that involves traveling (though I am working on it), I do get to work in the “travel industry.” Also, my job lets me very flexible with my hours, which my bank account hates me for, but it has let me do more leisure traveling than the average person.
Besides this page, I write a blog about San Francisco and how crazy it is here. You can reach it by clicking here. Warning: It contains raw emotion, adult language, and very un-San Francisco political viewpoints, so just keep all that in mind before you head over. There's something to offend almost everyone! I try very hard to keep my politics out of my VT pages. But I have matured enough in my life to know that two people can disagree politically and still be friends. Besides, it’s no fun if everyone agrees with you all the time!
For the past few years, I have been dealing with a bad disc in my back, which has wreaked havoc with my sciatic nerve. After one failed operation in 2006, and being essentially bedridden for nearly 6 months, I finally had it removed and had a piece of my hip put into the space and screwed into place. Hopefully, this is going to be the thing that fixes my problems. Needless to say, I haven’t been able to travel at all since things got really bad. As I write this little (little?) intro, it has been nearly 2 months since the operation and everything seems to be going very well. It will take at least another couple of months to heal, and then I should be in better shape than I’ve been in years!
If this hasn’t taught me anything else, it has taught me that some old sayings really are true.... like, “if you don’t have your health, you’ve got nothing.”
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