Travel Reading During Quarantine

Travel in your mind

As has escaped no one, things got pretty crazy in the past month. No one is going anywhere, or at least, they shouldn’t be. When I can’t physically travel, I travel in my mind, so I’m sharing five of my favorite travel-related books.

I say say “travel-related” because some are definitely “travel-adjacent” – this is not a typical travel book list. It’s a list of books that inspire me to travel, whether that be through history, science, food, or adventure. I hope you enjoy them and please, share your personal favorite travel or travel-adjacent books in the comments. I’m always looking for new reading material.

1. The People’s Guide to Mexico by Carl Franz – It’s been awhile since I read this, but I found it to be both comprehensive and engaging. It incorporates a lot of personal experience acquired over a broad swath of time, and will really pull you in. I have no idea if it is still relevant, it was first published in 1988, but if you are reading for enjoyment and inspiration whilst quarantined on your couch, I don’t think it matters.

The cover is beautiful, too.

2. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway – I will never experience Paris as Hemingway describes it in this book, and for that, I will always feel loss. Though it’s much more memoir than specifically travel themed, the romance of Paris between the wars is palpable and fierce. An all time favorite of mine, even if I weren’t quarantined.

Travel back to a Paris you will never experience on your own

3. My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories by David Leibovitz – I’ve learned to really enjoy cooking these past few years and, along the way, I’ve discovered a love for books that combine travel with food. This is one such book. As a bonus, it contains recipes, so you can cook your way through quarantine when you aren’t reading.

Read and cook your way through quarantine

4. Bee Quest by Dave Goulson – Goulson is a professor of biology by trade and this book is about his search for rare bee species, a search that takes him to a number of locales, both exotic and common (depending on perspective, of course). It sounds like it could be quite dull, but Goulson’s dry wit and love for the topic are entirely engaging. I was surprised how much I loved it and I hope you are, too.

Learn about bees in a most engaging way

5. Avoiding Prison and Other Noble Vacation Goals: Adventures in Love and Danger by Wendy Dale – The author travels to Columbia and stays there, during a less-than-safe period of their history. You often fear for her safety and live vicariously through her adventurous spirit. This is another one that’s a little older – I read it in the early aughts – so I’m actually a little curious how I’d feel about it now. Maybe I’ll re-read it myself.

Disregard the cluttered cover

Colorado Road Trip Activities

For when you’re stuck in traffic

Colorado is a great place to visit, but if you want to experience all the state has to offer, you’re going ot be on the road quite a bit. Odds are pretty solid you’ll be stuck on I-70 at some point. However will you pass the time?

Rocky Mountains in the Indian Peaks Wilderness
Look at all of that natural beauty you’re struggling to access

  1. Ski Rack or Cop? It’s seriously hard to tell, especially from a distance. Given that the Subaru is the unofficial car of Colorado, be prepared to live in constant fear of tickets you can’t afford. Be especially concerned if it’s winter and you aren’t obeying traction law on I-70.
  2. Dead skunk or marijuana grow? A real thing in Colorado and especially relevant on rural backroads. Seriously hard to tell the difference sometimes.
  3. Podcasts. Not a joke, just something I like. Download them first if you are headed to the mountains because rural areas often equal shitty phone service. Plan ahead. Side note, also bring a physical map for the same reason. Yes, I know it’s 2020 and yes, I’m serious. I live in the mountains so I know how bad Google can be there.
  4. I-70 Tailgate Party. Stuck on I-70 again due to ski/summer/holiday/mystery traffic? Plan ahead. Bring snacks, chairs, maybe a small grill. Setup shop. Get to know your new neighbors. You live there now.
  5. Emergency Tire Chain-up. Fun! It’s June, but somehow you’ve found high altitude snow and you’re sliding backward down a mountain canyon. Good thing you planned ahead and have chains in your trunk.

Have anything you like to do that you want to share? Tell me in the comments!

Holiday Travel Tips

Stay sane during your travels

The husband and I are about to embark on our yearly pilgrimage to the decaying industrial wasteland of my youth. The holidays are hard and holiday travel is worse, so enjoy this list of survival tips, and make it your destination with your sanity intact.

1. Fly Southwest. I find this necessary because my mother will inevitability give us gifts despite our protestations and then we’ll have to pack them home. Southwest’s baggage friendly policies make them my go to for holiday travel.

One caveat – if the weather gets bad and your flight is canceled, enjoy your sleep on the airport floor. They offer no hotel vouchers for weather issues.

Ideally, you can avoid packing much in the way of objects, stick with a light carry on, and fly with any airline you choose. However, if your family insists on gifts… Southwest, it is.

A crowded airport
Chicago Midway Airport. A wretched hive of lines and misery during a snowstorm.

2. Avoid Children. Like, don’t have them. Then you neither have to fly with them, nor inflict them upon others. It’s all win. If you do bring your small human on the plane and said small human spends the entire flight kicking the back of my seat, then I shall curse you and your house with incurable acne for seven generations.

Note: Don’t ask how, just run with it. Oh, and please don’t send me angry messages about kids. I love other people’s kids. Just not on planes.

3. Wear Antiperspirant. This one is for you. Also, for me. Antiperspirant all around, please. Holiday airline travel is no time for simple deodorant or ineffective crystals.

4. Do not drink heavily the night before. You do not want to be the passenger using the vomit bag. Yes, I am speaking from experience. No, you may not ask questions.

5. Pack an empty water bottle. Once you get through security, fill that baby up. Drink from it. Avoid dehydration.

4 bottles of moonshine
These bottles contain moonshine, not water. Do not pack them.

6. Pack snacks. Do not give airlines and airports the pleasure of the upcharge. They are cheap bastards who pack us into planes like cattle and charge us $6 for a handful of chips. Take that pain and feed it back to them in the form of reduced profits. It’s all we have, really.

7. Noise cancelling headphones + music of choice + a healthy imagination. This is even more effective if you also pull your hat over your eyes. In this way, you can be anywhere you want, and nothing seems sends a stronger signal to your seatmate that you want left alone than blocking all your senses.

8. Wear proper footwear. This is not the day to wear your thigh high lace up boots. We will hate you at security and will silently cheer when you are hauled off for a randomly selected and overly handy pat down.

9. Don’t hog the chargers. Airports never have enough of the damn things and we all need them. Avoid airport hunger games and pack a battery pack. This reminds me – I need a new battery back.

10. Don’t Participate. Just opt out of the whole damn thing and stay home. Do as I say, not as I do.

Happy holidays and what not.

Top 10 Superfluous Holiday Purchases

Weird holiday gifts for your weird friends

With the approach of the holidays comes the associated dread of gift purchasing. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy giving gifts. What I don’t like is everything else about it. The spending money I don’t have, the hunt for an object worth the environmental destruction wrought to obtain the raw materials to make the thing, and the actual act of shopping.

Not having to go to stores anymore is one of my favorite facets of modern life, so I’ve put together a list of curious possibilities to get those lucky people in your circle for whom gifts will be purchased, all available online, of course. Will they actually need any of these objects? It’s unlikely. Will they enjoy them? Only if they fall within a narrow demographic. Should you buy any of this shit? Probably not.

Magic 8 Ball that says
It’s not worth the resources

Anyway, Here are my top 10 superfluous holiday purchases for the gift recipients in your life.

  1. United Federation of Planets Flag
    • Why? I’m fundamentally an optimist, that’s why.
    • Why not? Only Trekkies will care.
  2. Gnome Chomsky
    • Why? Noam Chomsky is a national treasure and gnomes are adorable. It’s the perfect combination. Plus, you can be cheap and make the recipient paint him themselves.
    • Why Not? Probably a bad choice for the family conservative.
  3. Plant Robot
    • Why? Plants can’t scream, so I always forget about them. This gives them mobility and a chance at life.
    • Why Not? It’s $949. How much do you love your gift recipient?
  4. A dog whistle
    • Why? I’ve wanted one since I was a kid, for a variety of reasons. Currently, because I am occasionally chased by loose dogs when I run and maybe this will help.
    • Why not? I have no clue if it will actually help. Also, it seems a silly thing to get when you don’t own a dog. Do you know any runners who possibly also have a dog? Yes? Perfect.
  5. Empty Clear Plastic Ornaments
    • Why? Booze could go in these.
    • Why not? Does the person in question actually decorate. I am saying this from the perspective of someone whose idea of decorating is wrapping a string of lights around the cat tree. Maybe ask. Alternatively, visit and inspect their home in a non-creepy manner.
    • A cat tree wrapped in Christmas lights
    • This is how we decorate in our household

  6. Periodic Tableware
    • Why? I’m a scientist, currently working as an analytical chemist, and this suits me. Plus, it will allow me to track my alcoholism by allowing me to measure (approximately) how many mL of wine I am consuming,
    • Why not? Is your recipient the sort of person who cares about matching glassware and/or do they give a shit about science? This is relevant.
  7. Three Worf Morn
    • Why? Star Trek, that’s why. It amuses me. Plus, you’ll fit right in at truck stops in the Midwest where it will almost certainly be confused for the original variety.
    • Why not? See #1. Hope you have Trekkie friends!
  8. That hairy bathing suit
    • Why? It’s gross-funny.
    • Why not? Does your recipient swim and/or are they ok with being stared at? How comfortable are they with public weirdness? Let’s be honest, most people probably wouldn’t wear it. This is wasted on me as I almost never swim, even if I was ok with being the center of attention.
  9. Book Nest
    • Why? Just look at it. Just give me a book, a fuzzy blanket, and a cat. All it’s missing some sort of wine holder.
    • Why not? I’m starting to think it only exists on Pinterest. If anyone can actually find this thing for sale anywhere, you need to hit me up.
  10. Vlad Cat WWDITS pin
    • Why? I too always get the faces wrong. No, seriously. My facial recognition skills suck. Also, I love this film.
    • Why not? Recipient must also like this film. Otherwise, confusion will ensue.

That’s it! Enjoy the holidays by participating in modern consumer culture and buying dumb shit no one needs! Alternatively, skip all of this and get outside or travel somewhere or even just do something affordable and fun with your loved ones that doesn’t involve such nonsense. Happy holidays!

4 bottles of moonshine
All of these are gifts of moonshine

5 Easy Tips for Colorado Leaf Peepers

How to keep the locals from hating you

Are you not from Colorado and do you therefore not know what the title of this post means? I had not heard the term before we moved to the mountains of this state, so I’ll clarify. A leaf peeper is someone who comes to the mountains to look at leaves. Specifically, leaves changing colors in the fall.

As someone who grew up in Appalachia and the Midwest, I find it a little baffling as aspens really only turn yellow, whereas the greater variety of deciduous trees we had where I grew up would change a wide variety or reds and oranges in addition to yellow. It’s perfectly pretty out here, but there’s no comparison. Ironically, I find the color change in Colorado to be prettiest in the city which contains a lot of non-native trees. If it really were just the trees people wanted to see, they could just go to Capitol Hill in Denver.

However, I digress. Odds are, it’s just an excuse to go to the mountains, which I understand.

There’s definitely a love-hate relationship between mountain residents and the peepers as tension tends to build when you want to go to the store for an onion and there’s a 40-minute line of traffic to get into town. The business is appreciated, but the inconvenience is real.

That being said, here are a few things to consider if you are going to peep at leaves.

  1. Stay Out of Traffic – If you pull over to peep or to photograph peeping for your holiday cards, please pull over all of the way. Despite the aforementioned tension, no one really wants to hit you. However, if you leave the ass of your car out in the road or, even worse, if you stand in the road, there will be issues that could include death. Stay safe. Stay out of the road.
  2. Consider the bus – It depends where exactly you are going, but if you are planning on peeping in the Nederland area, you can take the RTD NB bus (formerly the N) to the mountains. There are many lovely aspens that you can see from the town of Nederland. If you wish to peep further out in the wilderness, you can take the Hessie Shuttle (it’s free!) from the RTD Park & Ride in Nederland. It picks up where the NB bus drops you off, so it’s super convenient and allows you to enjoy the view of yellow leaves from the comfort of a vehicle you are not controlling. The destination is the Hessie trailhead, from which you can hike to Lost Lake or beyond and see many fine yellow aspens. Check out the link above for schedule information.
    Note: The last day for the shuttle in 2019 is October 6th. Apologies for the late post.
  3. Stay off of private property – Some of those yellow trees are not on public land and humans that own that land probably don’t want you peeping on it, even if that pic would make great Instagram content. Be courteous, obey signage, and stay off private property.
  4. Be Kind to the Land – This is important year-round, but the crowds can be pretty bad during peeping season, so problems are exacerbated. Pick up your trash, obey any current fire bans, and leave-no-trace. The locals will appreciate it, the wildlife will appreciate it, and you’ll feel the personal satisfaction of being a good person. That matters, yes?
  5. Take a deep breath – The trees do this every year. There’s no need to rush or be irritable. It will happen again.

Yellow Aspens in the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado
The trees do this every year

/

10 Very Specific Places I Want to Visit

What’s on your list?

A Lighthouse in Maine
A Lighthouse in Maine, an enjoyable place that is not on my spreadsheet

I keep a travel spreadsheet. I’m orderly like that and I enjoy recording interesting places that I learn about in the hope that I can get there someday. Fundamentally, it feels optimistic, which is nice.

Some of my entries are on the vague side, “Morocco” for instance, while others specify an exact museum, restaurant, or some other locale.

Here are some of my favorite, most highly anticipated, and specific choices.

Do you keep a spreadsheet? If so, what’s on it?

1. Hobbiton Set – New Zealand

Why:

I love Tolkien. I’ve read nearly everything published from Smith of Wooten Major to the The Book of Unfinished Tales to The Silmarillion, and of course The Hobbit and the trilogy. The trilogy movies had some good moments (let’s not even talk about The Hobbit films), and getting to see the Hobbiton set would be some serious childhood wish fulfillment.

2. The Literary Man Hotel – Obidos, Portugal

Why:

I love to read and this place doubles as a bookstore, with books lining the walls throughout. They also offer some literary-themed programs and a bar with drinks named after authors. It’s just an environment I know I will like.

3. The Mountain Hostel – Gimmelwald, Switzerland

Why?

Just look at the pictures and video. I can’t fathom not wanting to be there. In truth, I could easily made a list of 10 places in Switzerland alone, but decided to spread it out.

4. The Isle of Skye – Scotland

Why?

Another spectacular setting full of adventure and photographic opportunities. Mountain biking, axe throwing, hiking, and kayaking? Yes, please.

5. H.R. Giger Museum Bar – Gruyeres, Switzerland

Why?

Fundamentally because it seems a neat place to have a drink. Giger is probably most well known for his work on Alien and the look of this bar has a similar feel. I want to visit Switzerland for the mountains and stunning vistas, so why not have a beer here as well.

6. Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory – Japan

Why?

I love sweets and the work of Hiyao Miyazaki. It’s hard to resist a cream filled Totoro.

7. Giant’s Causeway – Northern Ireland

Why?

It just looks really neat and I want to get a closer look. I’m a sucker for natural beauty, especially when it’s as unique as this.

8. The Mobil – Lee Vining, CA

Why?

Why, indeed. This is a gas station in California, but by all reports, it’s as much gathering place for outdoor adventurers as it is gas station. There’s also live music and a deli, making it much more than your average gas station.

9. West Highland Way – Scotland

Why?

I love traveling in non-motorized ways, so the notion of backpacking through Scotland is exactly my type of thing. Plus, it looks at though there are options to stay under a roof certain nights, which will appeal to my husband. In general, I need to explore Europe’s hut-to-hut backpacking system more. I’m happy to start here.

10. Anne Frank Museum – Amsterdam

Why?

Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it and I’m pretty concerned that a repeat may be imminent. For all I know, it’s being repeated in my own country as I type this. The situation is sobering.

So, that’s my current 10. It’s a list I’m sure will change.

Scotland and Switzerland are repeated, so I guess that means one of those places needs to be our next destination. It also means that I need to research some other areas more thoroughly.

Suggestions?

Tips for New Coloradans

Practical Advice for Noobs

So, you’re new to Colorado. Regardless of where you came from, there are likely to be some quirks to your new home that you could stand to be warned of. Since most people who move to Colorado arrive in the Denver metro area, I’m making the assumption that you are around there.

If you moved to somewhere else in the state, some of these things will still be applicable.

  1. Steam rooms are your new buddy. Colorado is dry. Get a gym membership and use the damn steam room. Make sure you join a gym that actually has a steam room. I personally prefer the YMCA as if you join one of them, you can visit all of the area YMCA branches via the Away Program. However, not all branches have steam, so see what your local one has before you decide. When I lived in Louisville, KY I could not have imagined doing this as that entire town is a steam room. Colorado is dry. Steam is your friend.
  2. Snow tires are a fun new expense that you’ll want to have at your disposal, especially if you plan on venturing into the mountains to sit in traffic on the way to a ski area. Actually, they are required as “Under a Traction Law, motorists will need to have either snow tires, tires with the mud/snow (M+S) designation, or a four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicle — all tires must have a minimum one-eighth inch tread.”That’s not even completely correct as the law has just (and I mean just, as of this posting) changed to require that tread be 3/16 of an inch instead of 1/8 and those traction laws are now in effect for a full 9 months and not just during inclement weather. You really want an all wheel drive or 4 wheel drive vehicle, too. I live in the mountains. I mean that.
  3. Street Sweeping will be your nemesis if you live in the City and County of Denver and don’t have your own parking space. It happens once a month, April through November, though the day varies depending on your neighborhood (actually read the signs on your street). If you forget, it’s a $50 fine. That shit adds up and Denver is the town in which the boot was invented, so you don’t want to push it. You can sign up for alerts on the city website.
  4. Yes, Casa Bonita is real. Yes, the food is terrible. The cliff diving is legit, though. You pretty much have to go at least once.
  5. Accessorize with a water bottle. I carry one everywhere I go and I’m not the only one. Did I mention that Colorado is dry? Also, we’re solidly environmentally conscious and getting better. You can refill that shit. Carry a bottle. Refill it. Be a Coloradan.
  6. Consider RTD. I realize that this is not much of a recommendation. RTD is not great. Also, RTD could be worse. Like, they exist and can take you a fair amount of places. Sure, their schedules are often a fantasy and they like to drop routes without communicating that to their riders (i.e. scheduled buses get cancelled with no warning), but… you can take RTD to the mountains in certain instances and, if you have a flexible job that understands the limitations of public transport, you can save a lot on gas and do an environmentally friendly thing. Check to see if your job provides an Eco Pass benefit. That’s the best way to use RTD.
  7. License Plates. Colorado requires you have front license plates on your car. It’s the first state that I’ve lived in that does. If you are like me and your front plate holder is unusable due to rusted and unremovable screws, you will still get a ticket. Challenge that ticket (they make a lot of mistakes, it’s always worth trying – I got my plate ticket reduced) and then figure out another way to attach that plate. Colorado is very big brother. All of the toll roads are photo enforced, so you’ll end up getting a bill in the mail if you take them. This is probably why they are into having front plates.
  8. Need a Colorado ID? You can’t get it the same day. You will get it in the mail in 10-14 days. Every other state I’ve lived in, you get it the same day, but not in Colorado. It seems it’s a Real ID recommendation, so perhaps all states will be moving towards this, but if you come from a state that has not implemented the change, be aware: the DMV will punch a hole in your ID invalidating it and then give you a piece of paper as a temporary ID. Not everyone accepts this paper as valid ID (caution at bars), so you’ll have 10-14 days of ID issues. One great thing is that you can renew your ID online for up to 10 years (if it’s not a CDL ID), which is awesome. That means, if you lose your ID, you can just order a new one online. Huzzah for this.
  9. Unless your vehicle is 7 model years old or less, you’ll be required to get an emissions test to register your car. The type of test varies according to the age and type of vehicle and certain counties are exempt (holla, Gilpin!), but it does cost $25. Maybe this is more common than I realize, but coming from the Midwest and Appalachia, it was news to me.
  10. Sunblock is also your friend. Unless you are blessed with protective melanin, you’re going to want to stock up. I’m pretty sure my ancestors lived in caves, so my daily morning lotion contains SPF 15 and I use SPF 50 for days I’m actively spending time outdoors. The entire state is pretty damn high up (the elevation of Denver is officially 5280 feet above sea level, I live at 9000 feet up), so you will be exposed to more UV than you would at lower elevations. Make sunblock a habit and wear it year round.
  11. Colorado is a great place to vote. It’s easier than anywhere I’ve lived as ballots are mailed to you and you can just mail them back or drop them off. In an era where certain states have made voting way more difficult than it should be, Colorado is a breath of fresh air (just not literally).
  12. Natives. Sometimes natives are a bit petulant about people moving into their state. To be fair, there are a lot of us. Most people are fine and most of that petulance is exhibitied online and is easily ignored. Just be a good citizen and mostly you will be ok. Oh, and if you are a crappy driver and you know it, maybe work on that.

Colorado - Welcome to Denver

100 Favorite Things

Not all that long ago, Brendan Leonard over at Semi-Rad published a list of 100 Favorite Things. Writing my own list was surprisingly satisfying, so I’m sharing it. Given how negative life can be, spending the time to come up with 100 positive things was a nice exercise that I recommend.

  1. Frank Herbert’s Dune books. That’s only the Frank Herbert books and explicitly not the ones by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.
  2. Fruit. Specifically, mangoes, raspberries, cherries, pineapple, and peaches. I hear India has the best mangoes and I kinda want to visit just to taste them.
  3. Summer nights
  4. Odd 13’s Humulus Kalecumber beer
  5. Sherlock
  6. James S.A. Corey’s Expanse book series and the associated television show
  7. Picking up heavy objects and putting them down again
  8. Photography – even when my only camera is my phone, I’ll never stop thinking like a photographer
  9. This video about making things
  10. This YouTube channel in general
  11. Galloping a horse across an open field
  12. Skiing – all the time, all types. I’m also a beginner snowboarder and I think I’ll like that too, once I’m better at it.
  13. The Legend of Zelda. Specifically, the original The Legend of Zelda NES game, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Wind Waker, Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Breath of the Wild. I never played any of the old Gameboy Zeldas.
  14. Learning to cook Indian Food
  15. Skyrim – yes, it’s old and buggy as hell, but I still love it. I also like to run to the soundtrack.
  16. You Must Remember This
  17. Disgraceland
  18. Freakonomics – both the book and the podcast
  19. The X- Files – the first five seasons in particular
  20. The love-hate relationship that I have with the incredible-terrible phenomena that is running.
  21. The very similar feelings that I have toward writing.
  22. The very similar feelings that I have toward swimming whitewater
  23. Brain Pickings
  24. The Left Hand of Darkness
  25. Giant snow storms. I want enough snow to have to dig tunnels.
  26. This specific chocolate
  27. All Miyazaki films, but especially Nausicaa
  28. This short film
  29. Kurt Vonnegut in general, though God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater is my favorite
  30. Asimov’s Foundation Series
  31. Drinking beer with my brothers
  32. Gentlemen Broncos
  33. Noisli – my favorite productivity site
  34. Kanopy – all you need is a library card from a participating library
  35. Also, the literary equivalents, Overdrive or Libby
  36. Khan Academy
  37. The Venture Bros is so good that it hurts.
  38. Silflay hraka u embleer rah – the best book you’ll ever read about rabbits
  39. I used to play a lot of Everquest II and I still kinda miss Norrath
  40. I still have dreams of breaking through the pack and I quit roller derby in 2013
  41. What’s better? Star Trek or Star Wars? The correct answer is Babylon 5
  42. Whitewater rafting on the Gauley River
  43. This podcast keeps me motivated to not give up on filmmaking
  44. And this guy keeps me motivated in general
  45. Castlevania on Netflix is amazing.
  46. It’s been years since we moved away from Kentucky, but Dragon King’s Daughter is still one of my favorite places.
  47. Shish Kabob Grill in Denver still has the best hummus I’ve ever had.
  48. Rioja is my favorite for a fancy pants meal.
  49. The trout amandine at Steuben’s in Uptown is so good that I never order anything else.
  50. Strange Planet has me hooked
  51. Best of the Worst has filled the void that MST3K used to occupy (no, I haven’t seen the new MST3K yet)
  52. Watching bad movies with my husband
  53. Star Trek Timelines – I tried deleting it from my phone. I failed.
  54. This subreddit
  55. Fooducate
  56. 10 Barrel’s Cucumber Crush – I dig sours
  57. DiNK Denver
  58. Learning to cook Mediterranean Food
  59. This is my favorite cook book, though
  60. Pod Save America
  61. iNaturalist
  62. My favorite Star Trek TNG episode
  63. WiFMCO
  64. This class
  65. The Best Thing on Facebook
  66. The Oatmeal
  67. XKCD
  68. After years of dealing with white gas, I finally got a Jetboil and I’m a total convert
  69. I like the Aqua Teen Hunger Force so much that I named one of my cats after it
  70. Sealab 2021 was an underrated gem
  71. Adding places to my travel spreadsheet even though I can’t afford to go anywhere yet. I like how optimistic it feels.
  72. My friends sci fi synth band
  73. Andy Serkis as Theresa May
  74. The Colorado Sun
  75. Obvious Plant
  76. The Eric Andre Show
  77. Reductress
  78. Seed&Spark
  79. Raspberry/Lemon/Strawberry Fruit Frenzy Popsicles from Trader Joes
  80. NPRs podcasts. Basically, all of them, but especially Hidden Brain.
  81. Nightvale Presents Podcasts – Alice Isn’t Dead, Welcome to Nighvale, and Within the Wires are my favorites so far. Pretty sure I’m going to like Start With This, too.
  82. We’re Alive
  83. Semi-Rad – gotta give a shout out to the inspiration
  84. This video about faking a model
  85. The Sagan Series
  86. By the Book
  87. Wild Ideas Worth Living
  88. The happy hour specials here
  89. My favorite bookstore in Denver
  90. My other favorite bookstore in Denver
  91. My favorite breakfast spot in Denver
  92. My favorite bar in Denver
  93. My favorite bar in Denver that has live music
  94. Classical Art Memes
  95. and then we’ll be ok..
  96. This shirt
  97. The fact that Final Fantasy VII is on switch
  98. This shuttle
  99. This cozy little bookstore/coffee shop/ice cream parlour in Nederland

New Years Travel Resolutions for the Fiscally Disadvantaged

I like making lists, so I like the idea of resolutions. My personal “19 for 2019” is already complete, but I’ve decided to make a separate list of travel resolutions to help move me in the direction of actually being able to go places.

To be clear, “Fiscally Disadvantaged” is relative. Overall, I’m pretty lucky and I’m much less poor than I used to be, I just live in a relatively expensive area and don’t quite make enough to travel. I don’t mean to demean the struggle of those suffering through actual impoverishment. Travel is a luxury that I struggle to obtain, but it’s still a luxury. Perspective matters.

With that being said, here are some things that I think will help me move forward.

1. Renew passport before it expires. It’s good to have it handy just in case, and it’s cheaper this way.

2. Curate a travel wishlist via Google docs. I’ve already started this, but it needs some work. I find that the act of creating the list inspires me to work harder at getting my shit together. I like Google Docs because I can easily share the list with my husband and he can edit it, but use what works for you.

3. Deposit something from each pay check into savings and do not touch it. I’m starting out with $10 for now.

4. Seek out alternative means of income. Bonus points if these methods are location independent. In my case, I’m working on blogging, film production, ski instruction, and learning to code.

5. Simultaneously, seek more lucrative employment in your field. My day job is academic scientific research. I either need a better paying academic lab or I need to move to industry.

Anyone out there have their own list? What’s on it? Any tips or suggestions?

Cheers and a belated Happy New Year to all!

Sunshine and show blowing on a ski run
Looking uphill from Muleshoe run at Eldora Mountain Resort, the ski area where I teach.