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Huge room at the Warwick Hotel in Denver. I could swing a hundred dead cats at once!
I don’t blog as well as @GenerationMeh. She’s really good at blogging. If you follow the links, you can see that for yourself.
I had a blog of my own for a long time and it took a lot of different forms, but I eventually settled on a simple multimedia blog system called Tumblr, which hosts the very words you’re reading now. I switched over because Tumblr makes it really easy to post a lot of different kinds of content. As she’s noted before, we’re both writers and we’re pretty good at what we write but it’s not all we do.
For instance, we take pictures. We record audio things. We do video. So keep an eye out for those things.
I have considered bailing on this trip. Fact. My plane ticket is non-refundable, so I’d either lose the money, or have to spend a couple of days in Denver and then, I dunno, take the Amtrak to Pittsburgh?
@jamesforeman and I had a discussion about solo travel yesterday. He said he wasn’t interested in seeing places alone and I said that I wasn’t interested in putting off seeing places until I wasn’t alone. I don’t mind getting up at the crack of dawn to see the Coliseum and I’m not bothered by wandering around DC in the dark. What if something happens while I’m waiting for later to come? What if I never walk on top of The Great Wall of China because I didn’t have someone willing to scale it with me? Then I’d feel doubly disappointed.
Solo travel does get a little tiring, but I normally know people wherever I’m going, so I always have company for dinner or coffee or museums. But more than tiring, it gets familiar. I know how to navigate on my own. I know how much sight-seeing I can handle before I need a nap. I know that breakfast on vacation is mostly a waste of time. I know less about how to have a co-pilot, how to share decisions, what to say that will fill 11 hours of uninterrupted driving, how not to fall into the resigned and recycled call-and-response conversations that used to be a hallmark of my transatlantic business trips with equally bored colleagues.
I am not doing this whole thing in the most efficient and self-sufficient way. My way. That bothers me. There is a way to see all of these places with minimal muss and fuss (or to see other places with a better pay-off) and instead of doing that, I am doing this. I am sharing this experience with someone, someone I don’t even really know. Half of everything that happens on the road is rightly his. This is a joint venture in the truest sense of the term. And that realization (which sinks in more each day) is enough to give me at least a few second thoughts.
I am not going to write about why I love travel, although I suppose it goes back to my rapaciously curious nature. Not that I would call my co-pilot incurious, of course, but our curiosities, I’d hazard to guess, run in opposite directions. After all, he writes fiction and I’m a journalist. That says it all.
I will, however, point out the very helpful and timely travel photo tips for the vain posted by the lovely Sarah Von over at YesandYes, which she recently linked to (they’re originally from 2009) on Twitter. If I hadn’t threatened @jamesforeman with certain death if he even thinks about snapping a shot of me, I would surely put these into practice.
Because my traveling and blogging partner wrote one of these, I figured I should probably write one, too. As I started to write a list of my travel-related idiosyncrasies, I remembered that I don’t have any.
The problem is this: I don’t travel. I mean, I don’t travel for the fun of traveling. The journey and the destination have no parity. A journey is something you do because nobody’s invented teleportation yet.
Despite having relatively hairless feet of normal size and rounded ears, I am not very unlike a hobbit in temperament (and, who are we kidding, in morphology), which is to say, I don’t like adventure, I don’t like excitement and I’m happy to stay here while you go out and have exciting adventures and when you get back I’d love to hear about them.
Also like a hobbit, however, I’m easy to entertain. Give me good food, good drink and good company and I will be content and quite possibly even happy.
I don’t know if a desire to travel and adventure is something earned by nurture or given by nature, but I think my history gives a pretty good argument in favor of the latter. For instance, a human baby will, during the course of its natural development, attempt to climb out of its crib. Whether this is some deeply-embedded human instinct to explore, an urge to to defy the passive authority of a wall or simple boredom is shrouded in the mysteries of the infant brain.
I never tried to escape from my crib. I don’t know why I stayed where my mother put me (until the age of four, which is practically unheard of), but I did. I never once tried to get out, and was eventually forced out of it by the birth of my younger brother Rob who, naturally, escaped his crib as soon as he could. Rob actually enjoys traveling, and has a delightfully long list of adventures and destinations and journeys.
I have lots of great stories and interesting things to say, but none of them involve traveling. That’s not true - I have a lot of interesting things to say about how much I have disliked traveling.
So, why would I volunteer to do something like this road trip? Because, like any good hobbit, getting out of the house and started on the adventure is the hard part, but once we actually get out in the world and start clomping around Mirkwood, we discover that we might actually, secretly, unofficially enjoy it.
I wrote this a couple of years ago and I’ve only mellowed slightly with age. It’s pretty much what traveling with me entails. So, a really smart but petulant MacGyver baby more or less.
I think we’re going to get along just fine. [posted by James]
I don’t really remember how @jamesforeman (that’s actually what I assume his given name is) and I “met.” Obviously, it involved Twitter. We must have found each other funny, because I only communicate with people who amuse and/or flatter me outrageously. He had some theory about differences in social cues between men and women, I do remember that. I emailed him to tell him that I was going to test it out in the wild and file a field report. The experiment went hilariously awry and somewhere in the ensuing discussion of post-modern mating rituals, I mentioned that I was planning a road trip. He said I should invite him, probably assuming I wouldn’t offer. I did, definitely assuming he wouldn’t accept. He did. And then neither one of us wanted to back out, because, really, where’s the fun in that? Also, he sent me a list of all the ways in which he was a bad travel partner (the no sense of adventure thing featured prominently) and the hypothetical ideal travel partner he compared himself to sounded exactly like John Mayer. This was just the right combination of hilarious and terribly off-base (Seriously, do I strike you as the type of girl who would want to be stuck in a car with the dude who penned Your Body Is A Wonderland?) that I figured I had nothing to lose by taking on a co-pilot.
He has made me regret that choice approximately 51 times in the last week.
We don’t leave for a month.
I’m James Foreman. I’m going on a road trip with a person I’ve never met before. She seems cool, and we get along well enough on the Internet. She’s doing this for good reasons, but I’m doing it because I need an adventure.
I don’t do adventure. I don’t go on adventures. I have been described by some as adventure-averse.
My partner in this is not adventure averse. You might even say she enjoys adventures, which to me is like saying that you enjoy shark attacks. Sure, you’re happy to have lived through it and it turned out okay because you survived and you have a great story to tell now and it was exciting but if somebody asked you if you wanted to get attacked by a shark, you would probably decline the offer.
“This guy is comparing a road trip to being attacked by a shark! Who would be crazy enough to take him?”
That’s a good question, and one I hope to get answered.
Oh, right. This is an announcement: J. Maureen Henderson (she of the fabulous Generation Meh and Forbes.com) and I are going on a road trip together. The whens and hows and whys and whats will emerge as more content appears here, but this is all you have to know:
- we’ve never met
- we’re spending a week in a car together
The tickets are bought. The plans are made.
It’s going to be an adventure.
(with very few sharks)
[by James Foreman]