Anglo Adventure

Travel with a sense of humor


Leave a comment

To All the Nomads

This made me cry. Ps. I really need to learn to surf

Happy Halloween, everyone! It’s one of my favorite holidays because I love candy, characters, and knocking on complete strangers’ doors. Ok, I am not in costume because last year, in Quebec I spent $80 on a black tutu because $80 and $40 sounded similar to me in French. This year, I decided to watch a free animatronic skeleton rock show instead of spending more money on a costume.

The black tutu has to last. Black Swan is so last year. Future costumes include: Courtney Love in her best/worst (depends on who you’re talking to), fashion stage to Gothic Lolita (not as gross as it sounds, actually so cool I want this idea to live in relative secrecy so I can use it next year), to a ballerina superhero I have yet to create.

Halloween puts me in a strangely sentimental mood. The video above reminded me of all the reasons I love going places.

The Nomad’s not afraid of making waves or catching waves or being uncomfortable. Why should I be? He speaks about finding his community (skaters!) wherever he goes. He speaks about having a life rich in experiences. He reminds me of so many people I have met in passing, ones I have to carry in my heart as I move from place to place. As a writer on the Matador Network pointed out, the Nomad’s not coming from the perspective of a rich American going to ‘find himself’ during a gap-year in Latin America, funded by blazer-and-khaki clad rich dad.

He’s doing it because it’s who he is and needs to, despite all the obstacles. He reminds me that if he can do it, so can I.

Reasons I travel

  • That moment stepping off a plane when even the air feels different. I live for that and will sacrifice comfort to feel it.
  • Meeting someone for the first time, far away and realizing all the things you have in common. You don’t speak the same language, but you can smile and mimic your way through anything. It’s usually more hilarious than awkward.
  • I enjoy human connections. I have friends and not just the Facebook variety who come from near and far and span across all ages. This has been more of a valuable education than college; it has given me insight into how people really think and feel. MOST importantly perhaps, travel has taught me that just because someone is from a developing country, doesn’t mean he or she is poor and needs my pity. A person can be rich in family and experiences and connections, things we miss because we’re busy climbing corporate ladders.
  • Sure, I can look at an iPhone screen, but it’s nothing like a hug or shoulder squeeze or sharing food or looking into someone’s eyes.
  • Seeing dorsal fins pop up from choppy waves (my last Sunday). Watching pink clouds slide across the sky (everyday).
  • I would have missed this Seattle sunset:

travel writing tips, why to travel

And this tree:

travel blog, seattle travel, beautiful tree

And this Copenhagen street at night:

travel blog, travel writing, Denmark travel

And this Quebec City sunrise:

Quebec City Sunrise

I have only begun to see the world, to catch my own waves. I can’t wait to venture further into the ocean. Comment below with why you travel. And Happy Halloween!


2 Comments

Never Buy Underwear at a Thrift Store (And Other Advice)

There’s no manual to life, but I am lucky enough to have the next best thing: my grandma. You’d be wrong in picturing my grandma as a sweet, cookie-baking woman. My grandma, petite with black eyes and (now) cotton-colored hair taught me to play poker and shoot dice when I was just eight. She has fought off muggings with her booming voice. She’s lived in Chicago her entire life, was born the year the stockmarket crashed and was raised in the “back of the yards” as they say there, referring to the neighborhood behind the stockyards.

She is sharp, witty, and sage. I don’t take advice well, but hers is always welcome.

Stuff my Grandma Says

life advice, stuffmygrandmasays, chicago, lifestyleblog

Scarves instantly make an outfit better. Just another lesson. 

“Convince yourself you like whatever it is”

This is something she said to me recently, when I told her about my new gig as a contract copywriter for a major cellphone company (yay! to jobs).

“If you don’t like it, just convince yourself you like it.” My grandma has taught me this again and again. If we didn’t want to eat something, she’d scoop it up in her fork and talk about how great it was until she had us almost convinced she was eating Skittles instead of canned green beans.

When she talks about her own childhood, it’s never negative, never whiny, although I am positive she’s been through some of the hardest times the country has ever seen. She prefers to reminisce about how the entire family would push the tables aside on Thanksgiving and dance the jitterbug.

Why am I not dancing the jitterbug right now? Oh, because I am on the internet. 

Continue reading


4 Comments

5 Lessons I Learned from Unexpected Friends

sting ray, smiling, travel blog, travel photos

Lesson 1,001: A smile goes a long way.

In an effort to reverse all the bad karma I’ve collected during years spent as a hater, I am mentoring a family of Somalian-Libyan refugees through their transition here.

I won’t say too much about the family and their incredible story, as that would be more exploitative than that Honey Boo Boo show.

All I will say is that they’ve been through a lot. And they still greet me with the biggest smiles whenever I see them.

As I teach them things like simple English phrases (yo, canIgetadietcoke?, that’s hella cool) and how to navigate the bus system, they’re teaching me much more.

If you’re in a travel dry-spell, the way I am (one more week til we hit up New England), volunteer to help people from other cultures. You’ll learn a ton and it will make you feel all warm and fuzzy, like a teddy bear. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Job Woes & the Search for my Mr. Miyagi

travel blog expat quebec expat blog

What Elwood does when I look for jobs

I am two parts commercial writer, one part travel writer and one part creative writer. I have six years experience, including two managing other writers. I moved to Canada and back. Now it’s like I am on the other end of an electric fence and I can’t get back into the job market.

Maybe they could sense that I was in Quebec, like a baby bird rejected from its mother because a human touched it.

I have been looking for work since April, when I moved back here. I have had countless job interviews. I am not desperate, not complaining, but I am frustrated. I need work and although I currently freelance write for multiple travel publications, there are long stretches of time spent in PJs writing a humorous inner monologues from vampires and bizarre stories about old folks’ homes.

I need to make money. Continue reading


7 Comments

What I Want to See When I Grow Up

travel kids sod house

Icelandic sod house. From Wikipedia.

I really wished they asked me this more when I was a kid. My What Do You Want To Be answer always ended with “a veterinarian” and then some stiff, condescending adult would tell me I would have to go through a lot of school and be really good in math and science, thereby stomping out this dream as if it were a fire.

What Do I Want To Be? A good person. An honest person. Witty.

Always tell kids their dreams are possible. No, I probably wouldn’t make a good vet, but I didn’t need to know that at eleven. I would have figured it out eventually, the way I have figured out that I am not a good whistler nor a good volleyball player. Trial and error.

I am about to create a lesson plan for a travel/food writing workshop I am doing with kids at 826 Seattle – a writing tutoring center. I don’t have kids and am never around them, so I am really nervous they’ll think I am boring. I fear the wrath of spitballs and bad evaluations.

She sucked!
What was with that long explanation about chicken fingers and spaghetti? Does she think we actually eat that stuff? 

I suppose I should start thinking of age-appropriate jokes and stop swearing to prepare.

What I want(ed) to see:

The Pyramids (obviously)

The sod houses in Kansas (someone read a lot of Little House on the Prairie)

Belize.

Wild horses. In particular on Sable Island.

Venice, Italy.

South Africa.

Kenya. Mainly for safari purposes. Continue reading


10 Comments

International Left-Handers Day: Here’s to the Weird Ones

international left handers day, left handedness

Still can’t use these things

I write left-handed. I eat left-handed. I sit comfortably in the liberal left when it comes to politics, although I always carefully consider my options.

August 13 is international left-handed day. I am not sure what I am supposed to do, other than eat dark chocolate gelato*, which I have been enjoying daily anyway. Yes, I eat gelato left-handed and sometimes (gasp) with a fork.

Being born in the 80s, I have no recollection of the days when teachers forced children to write with their right hand.  If I am not writing on a spiral notebook or trying to open a can, I don’t think about it. And who really cares whether I crown my capital ‘C’ with a perfect little curl or not? My handwriting is a melange of cursive and print, big proud letters and small ones. It isn’t precise nor neat, but I like that. It’s borderline illegible and somehow expresses exactly who I am.

It is sad to think about teachers shoving pens into the right hands of kids. And the kids, writing and cutting with their opposite hands just because they were told to. It must have made them both incredibly frustrated.

Why do we waste so much energy trying to fit everyone into the same mold?

There’s No Right Way

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t write with my left hand. I couldn’t imagine it. Me: a righty. I’d dress differently for sure. No more smudged notebooks. No more asking The Husband to open the wine. No more drinking from the wrong water glass.

Part of my charm.

All that time, teaching lefties to write “right,” would have been better spent accepting what is and accommodating those who can’t cut Christmas trees out of construction paper. Or turning them into great pitchers.

Being exactly who you are never leads you wrong. I learned this from my parents, who never bought me dolls because they knew I hated them, and who gritted their teeth and said nothing (or mostly nothing) during my brief punk/grunge/goth/whatever-the-hell phase.

They also let me join the wrestling team, although they did try to ever-so gently dissuade me from it on the premise that I wouldn’t like the intensive workouts (I didn’t). I only wanted to make a statement with my fellow 14-year-old riot grrrls. At the first weigh-in/practice, boys crowded around and hurled level-C gender slurs at us. This all happened in front of the coach, who let it go on for awhile before finally stopping it. It was a scene straight out of a Lifetime flick, only scarier and it didn’t end in a trial.

I grew out of all this stuff and ended up pretty well-adjusted, though I’d like to think I was well-adjusted in high school and society was the problem.

I recently met a pre-teen girl at the writing studio I tutor at. She had a strip of blue hair, big boots, a striped skirt and topped it all off with a tiara. One of the other kids began to tease her about the tiara (I suspect he has a crush). She glared at him and said “It’s not a tiara. It’s just a bit of sparkle.”

She is a bit of sparkle. And I hope it’s never dulled by bullies or work or normalcy.

Embrace your weird quirks.

Celebratory Gelato

*I found this amazing gelato called Talenti. It’s not the kind of sugary ice cream that will remind you of childhood (if you lived near a Baskin Robbins, which I did). But it’s so freakin’ smooth. It will remind you of an oceanside hamlet in Italy, one you swear you’re going to visit one day. It the gelato of future travels. And I promise they’re not paying me to say this, although I wouldn’t turn away a freezer full. I am about to try their blood orange flavor. Blood orange is the new pomegranate and I suspect the black currant will soon replace it as the hippest food in the produce section. Mark my words.


2 Comments

Who am I?

travel writing, travel advice, travel blog, travel humor

Me at my desk. This is where I spend most of the day. The glare of the computer screen is strangely flattering.

I wanted to thank everyone for all the comments on my recently Freshly Pressed blog. It really means a lot that you took the time to read it and think about it, even if you disagree. I am quite torn on the whole situation myself. But most people seemed to be encouraging, so thank you.

Being compared to Hitler Youth was a new one. Hitler Youth? Just a little strong.

(Ok, so admittedly, I had a thing for Ed Norton in American History X, but that’s ONLY because of the shaved head and that post-jail bod, which made him look like the lead singer in a punk band. He also changed at the end from super bad boy to “looks cute in a suit.” I can’t be the only girl who felt like this.)

Hopefully, we’ve determined that I am in no way Hitler Youth or like Hitler Youth or even in the same Venn Diagram as Hitler Youth, even though I was strangely attracted to Ed Norton when he was dressed as a neo-Nazi.

I am just a nervous flyer.

Xanax is in my future. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Travel Writing Myths Debunked

Travel writing, Quebec City, Anthony Bourdain,

How did I get here?

You’ve seen those ads:

Make up to $75 an hour writing from home! (Unless you can write 1,000 words in an hour, this is will.not. happen)

Become a  published author & tell your friends you don’t SUCK Afterall. 

Travel, write, and get paid for it (in change).

Getting paid for writing and travel is like getting paid to gobble down chocolate and watch TV. Everyone enjoys it, therefore, it’s super hard to get into and even harder to make a living. Be prepared.

I lucked into worked my tail off for four or five years and moved to Canada before any exciting travel writing work came my way. I am not going to tell you it’s impossible; I will let you figure out what’s possible. I don’t know where you’ve been. I don’t know your talent level or whether your palate has a G.E.D. or Ph.D.

I am here to tell you what I’ve learned so far.

Myth 1: Travel Writing is Easy

travel writing

So good. But what do you say about dinner rolls?

It is fun. Sampling fois gras and salmon tartar and writing it up is the most fun I’ve ever had, career-wise. But it came with pages and pages of work in a short time. Continue reading


1 Comment

How Not to Greet a Celebrity

katemiddleton

This was crazy. Copyright: Angloadventure. As in, take this photo and my newspaper will come after yo ass.

My little sister and I stalk famous people. She’s better at it than me. She once drafted an elegant note to the Juiceman, complimenting him on gravity-defying eyebrows that rested on his face, light and soft like two angel feathers. Continue reading


2 Comments

8 Annoying New Things That Need To Go Away

A rant seems slightly incongruent to my last post about Mad Men’s Lane Pryce, suicide and happiness. But passive-agressively ranting about stupid things is so much fun. Please comment with what’s annoying you today.

8 Annoying New Things:

8. The Term Porn when not applied to Pornography

foodporn expat blog travel blog travel tips denmark snorbrod

I’d like to bite right into her. Those little crumbly things on top are driving me wild.

You think you’re clever by referring to that bowl of soggy macaroni as, ” Food Porn” but it’s not. It’s dirty. It takes the innocence right out of those little elbow noodles. And I will always associate the word porn with pornography, even though yes, Dictionary.com confirms it is a correct way to use the term.

But screw Dictionary.com. No one in their right mind truly lusts over a turkey sandwich – even if it has bacon.

7. Travel Bloggers Holding Wine Glasses

travel blogs, travel avatars, travel tips, expat blog

No idea what prompted me to pose like this. So worldly.

If you look at travel blogs enough, you should count how many people hold a glass of wine (by the stem) and stare off into the distance as if they’re dreaming about some far-off land. Congrats: you’re a cliche. And no, wine is not more appropriate for a blog headshot than beer.

I should change my avatar to me lapping up the pool of milk leftover in my cereal bowl.

6. Creatives on The Pitch

the pitch, copywriting, travel blog, expat blogs

Look! Even my post its are creative

I both love and despise The Pitch. I love how every agency creative wears the same vertically striped button down. Or then there’s the guy who’s too creative, the one with half his head shaved, a sleeve, and lip piercing. You know: the one with all the ideas. The best part is when one of these creatives pitches an idea and it’s met with an eerie silence that expresses disapproval, disappointment, and disgust.

Then there’s the fluttering post-its on the walls with scribbled taglines that make absolutely no sense.

Memorize this tagline formula and you could be on “The Pitch:”

____ Plus ____ = _____

Simply ____

One ___ will change ____

Just ______

5. Job Descriptions that Mention Non-Existant Office Dogs

When did this become a thing? I adore my dog. I even adore office dogs. But just because you’re a startup, doesn’t mean you have to be cool with canines. I want an office full of monkeys and hedgehogs and sugar gliders. And cobras, specifically in the HR department. A barking dog and pee-stained hardwood floor does not say professional to your investors and clients. Continue reading