So Your Real Home’s in Your Chest

“Oh, you’re not really from DC.” I was sitting at the dinner table at my Lisbon hostel, chatting with a group of my fellow travelers. She was another student, from California but in Copenhagen for the spring. “You just go to school there.”

She had a certain point—and to be honest, I mostly said I was from DC because it was easier than explaining to Europeans where Oregon was—but at the same time I was a little bothered by the assertion. The man to my right had introduced himself as Matt from Brooklyn, but he had only moved to New York about six months prior. I had been in DC for nearly four times that long, even considering the few weeks each year when I left to make the trek back west and the months I’d been in France. At what point did DC start being home? Continue reading →

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A Non-Exhaustive List of Things That Are Better Than Buying Plane Tickets, In No Particular Order

  1. Buying train tickets
  2. Buying bus tickets
  3. Buying tickets for a (currently-nonexistent) luxury dirigible
  4. Going outside and realizing you forgot your scarf/sunglasses/umbrella and having to decide whether or not to go back inside
  5. Letting a tea bag steep too long
  6. Realizing you forgot to wash the that you meant to wear tomorrow and you spilled something on them so you can’t even just Febreze them and pretend they’re clean
  7. Any and all pickles
  8. When someone forgets to clear the microwave
  9. Hairless cats
  10. Most alien invasions
  11. Talking to someone but not being able to remember their name
  12. Dropping your deodorant on the bathroom floor, where it breaks into several dozen shower-fresh
  13. Wrong numbers
  14. Spelling the word “embarrassing”
  15. Couch cushions that slowly slide further out of place every time you sit on them
  16. Stale french fries
  17. Buying vegetables and then forgetting them in the fridge drawer
  18. Every member of the band One Direction
  19. The cookie part of an Oreo
  20. Thursdays

Alone, But Not Lonely

Whenever I tell someone my travel plans, the next question out of their mouth is almost always some variation of “Who are you going with?” And more than once, my response–“I’m going alone”–has been met with “Wow, that’s brave.” As if the idea of travelling a foreign country on my own for a week is so drastically removed from the idea of living in one for a year. I don’t mind the question, really; it’s the reaction that has always seemed odd to me.

The truth is, I like travelling alone. My travel style tends to involve a lot of aimless wandering and taking photos, and often without regard to the weather. I don’t have to worry that my companion is getting bored or tired or hungry. I can spend my time as I please: if I want to go out, I can go out, and if I want to go to bed early, I can do that too; I don’t have to worry that something I want to do is too expensive for the other person or that I can’t afford something they want to do. And really, one of the best things about travelling is having time to myself to breathe and think. (Plus, quite honestly, there are fairly few people with whom I want to spend ten straight days.) Continue reading →