"My addiction......" flynboxes's Profile
Guess I got hooked at a young age. Mom was a flight attendant for the old Continental Airlines so I got to go to a few places when I was young. While I spent a fair amount of time in places like Omaha Nebraska in the heart of the corn-belt with family, I did make it out to come sun and fun places like Nandi, Fiji. When you are young, you tend not to be a big fan of museums and 200 yr old cities. My mom was very much aware of that so we stuck to places with a beach where I could work on my skin cancer.
Aside from London when I was 14 or so I never set foot in Europe or Asia. I had to wait till I was in my late 20's head that far East again and then it started out as a work trip. In 2000 I spent what amounted to the best 3 months of my life living in Amsterdam with some side trips to places like Malaga and Bergen. These were also solo trips since most of my co-workers who were with me during that time were more than happy hanging around the city of Amsterdam and indulging in the usual suspects. Heading out on my weekend trips alone was not my first choice but I was not going to waste my time in bars over there during my time off from work. During my time off I wanted to get as many stamps in my passport as possible and see a few places at first.
There is a common saying that "Travel Changes You".....It did change me and during my time in Amsterdam, my travel plans changed a bit based on advice from fellow travelers..a few whom I am still in contact with. That is why I am here writing amongst fellow travelers.
Home is Redondo Beach....15 min south of LAX. I was born and raised in Palos Verdes another 15 min South (which I still consider home) where I like to hike, bike, swim and
free dive when the water warms up a bit.
Want advice on LA...I know the major sites along with the airport (work there) well but don't keep up to date on the shopping and bars up there...I am not a big drinker and hence do not know much about LA bars. Molly Malone's is a cool place and home of another band I like but aside from that place and the Rainbow Room and a few others, my knowledge is limited but I can ask the wife/friends that live and socialize up there. If you are still reading here is what to expect in my pages...
Some of the coolest people I have met and stay in contact with are those I have met on the road. I have met some very kind strangers on the road. Not being 100% extroverted and the fact that most of my trips are solo I rely a bit on the kindness of strangers. The world has yet to let me down.
Have met a few writers, pilots, local business people etc...on the road.
Just got back from Minnesota where I attended a burial for a classy lady I met in Amsterdam 8 years ago..RIP Pat.
When I travel I do not hide the fact that I am an American and if somebody wants to mess with me they are not going to do so because I lied to them about not being an American. Americans like to say that everybody hates us..don't agree with that (Maybe G.B. but that's another story and even he has his fans abroad). Since I try and stay in contact with some people I've met I can also offer real time advice on places like Yemen, Mali, Amsterdam, Japan and Ethiopia (VT'er DAO knows the same person and others through).
Don't stay in enough hostels.....I tend to like having my own clean toilet/squat hole. The good thing is that often you can find a hostel with private rooms for a few more bucks. Dorms are great for meeting cool people and being light on the wallet....I've spent time in a few including the hammock below. I try and avoid the chain hotels. For an 1/8 of the cost in some cities you can get the same great service (sans the pool/gym which I don't use anyway at a mom and pop joint...also in some places with disgruntled locals...blowing up a Marriott or Hilton makes for great news headlines....not an 8 room inn on the edge of town. I will stay in them for work but not when it is on my own dime.
Scary stuff huh.......Hey we have it in the US...ever been to Idaho or the backwoods of some southern states.....Is the US a bad or dangerous places as a result of the Oklahoma City bombing? Many places on earth have their share of bad apples. I think places like Yemen get a bad wrap as a result and not everything that goes pop over there is a result of terrorist out to topple America and the West.
Being the blonde hair, blue eyed geek that I am I can say that I feel safer in places like Damascus and Sanaa than I do in NYC and Amsterdam. One thing is for sure I don't have to worry about my wallet getting legs when I am in an Islamic country (Touristed places like Cairo are a notable exception). Arabs due to their nomadic heritage tend to be kind to travelers if you are aware of their culture. I have been invited into homes for tea in Sanaa, YE and Madaba, Jordan for example while wandering around these cities. These people often have fascinating stories to tell and maybe old pictures to show.
The good kind at least. You can get Hep shots for free at most free clinics in the US. Other drugs/vaccinations will cost you but it is cheaper to get them than to risk getting sick on a trip. I like Larium for an anti malaria since I am lazy and you only have to take the pill once a week and this mutes out any side effects I may or may not feel. You will hear people talking about anti malarials not working. While trekking in Mali a few months ago my guide got malaria.....we both got bit by mosquitoes so go figure......While I ended up visiting the hospital and a French speaking Dr. that only Abdou could talk to it was not for any bug/virus.
People including myself also like to take Cipro to kill any food bugs you might get. I like to try local food but my stomach does not like it as much. Cipro can knock down a number of things...keep in mind that a side effect of the drug is that it can weaken your Achilles tendon and if that goes out on you while you are trekking..it can be a big game changer......just like being tied up with Malaria in a hospital with no clean needles.
See a doctor prior to heading out to some places with limited medical care.
Be prepared to get sick on the road...most of my illnesses on the road have been food related..nothing like getting a fever in the middle of Africa or a case of the runs in a Damascus Souq..but as painful/uncomfortable as they were I lived to tell about it. Water is not even a drug but the lack of it can have a substantial impact on your health in tropical/arid places...drink plenty of it and avoid sodas during the midday heat.
I guess we all have our reasons.....I tend to get tired of the same old, same old.....Some people are perfectly comfortable never leaving a 50 mile radius from their home. Not for Me.....mom was a flight attendant so I sort of grew up on planes so to speak. She started showing me the world (where I needed a passport) when I was 8-9 yrs old. Most of the places I went to were beach destinations....Merida and Sydney did not do much for me when I was young so I always talked her into taking me to places like Fiji or to Cancun (way before it became overrun with Spring-breakers).....Now I am a bit older and tastes have changed. The Historical cities now interest me plus it is often a good way to stay out of the sun.....however a to Colombia reminded me how much fun it is to be out hiking in the fresh air or swimming in the ocean.
Travel has become my drug or escape depending on how you look at it. I guess I would call it, continuing education. I like to read but since I am also a visual person it is nice to actually see a place and meet the people.
I try to travel light..my home life is surrounded in computers, Blackberrys, etc....When I hit the road I take a little as possible. Have the laptop but you'll never catch me on the road with it as I try and avoid computers on the road unless totally necessary to book a flight. Other than that I'll take a few days worth of cloths, a book or two to read, journal for travel notes, Ipod (gotta listen to some tunes on long bus rides) and a pocket camera (now a Panasonic DMC-ZS10 with a Leica 16x zoom lens), and a cheap Timex watch...never travel with things I am not prepared to part with as I will not have a trip ruined by a thief/pickpocket. I only have 4 weeks of vacation each year so you probably will never see any travel blogs from me. Why waste time updating home/Facebook when I could be out absorbing more of my surroundings??
I've spent my share of time looking out over distant horizons....Every now and then I have to remind myself to look down a bit. Would not trade anything for the experiences I have had on the other sides of the oceans but being close to home is also a comfortable place for me. The US has plenty of open spaces and often the people you meet at or near them are just as interesting. Hey, this may be my own personal bias so please if you have not done so...check out your own backyard when you get a chance. I'd hate to be a Russian - due to the shear size of the place it would be difficult to see all of it...I remember how little I saw and this was after riding a train thru the middle of it.
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