Anglo Adventure

Travel with a sense of humor


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Confession: I’m Strangely Attracted to the Roaming Gnome

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-Humor Blog

Hot. He’s not giving the finger, he only has three.

When I was about nine, I had a crush on Michelangelo. Not the artist, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Words like “rad” and “cowabunga” rolled off his tongue. He carried nunchucks, arguably the best weapon. And he could ollie on a skateboard even with that cumbersome turtle shell. Total bad boy.

But love is fickle. And judging by his lack of response to my frequent letters, ours remained unrequited. Faster than the time it takes to say, Cowabunga! I moved on to fellas who were more loquacious, less green. Rider Strong. Devon Sawa. Mr. T.

In my preteen years, all it took was a deep middle-part or a Mohawk to make my heart flutter.

After a few years putting myself out there only to be crushed by zero responses to my proclamations of deep, unfaltering love, I had given up on celebrity crushes. That is, until I fell for Travelocity’s Roaming Gnome.

And he travelled right into my heart

Roaming Gnome, Travel, Vegas

Son of a… Well, good for him I guess. | Photo from: VegasChatter.com

I loved the Travelocity Gnome before he started doing commercials, when he was just a small town garden gnome, hanging out with Amelie’s Dad. Of course he’s been around a lot longer than that. A little Wikipedia work tells me that the roaming gnome prank started in the 1980’s in Australia.

He’s adorable. Sure, he’s probably at least 100 years older than me. But there’s a worldly twinkle in his wide-set eyes. And then there’s the remarkable achievement, the staggering genius* of his beard.

He broods. He’s really quiet, which leads me to believe he’s pontificating on life, love, the pursuit of happiness. When he speaks, his voice has a charming, indistinguishable accent, a subtle lilt reminiscent of the English countryside. Where are you from, Gnome?! My guess is that his accent is a delightful melange of countries from years spent travelling. Continue reading


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When Networking Goes Hilariously Wrong

Remember when I said I wanted a stalker? Not the scary kind, the kind that would anonymously send me my favorite flowers or take a bunch of scary but really cool monochrome photos of me walking down the street.

Ok, I never said that. It was one of those things you think about but you never dare say.

I was massively hit on in the form of an email approximately 5 hours after my first networking event.

Networking, American Psycho, Humor Blog

What I thought networking would be like.

My vision of networking is slightly dated, slightly 80s, gleaned from movies like Wall Street, American Psycho, and Working Girl that came out when I was a kid.

I put on my black blazer with the Murphy Brown power shoulders, slipped on my She’s Got Legs pumps and threw a stack of business cards into my purse. I am from Chicago where business event means dress like a real estate agent. Not so in Seattle. I knew my serious suit was a mistake as soon as I walked into the revolving door to find hip chicks clad in Anthropologie sipping amber ale, their hair twisted into high buns. Continue reading


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So Many Tulips

I went to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival over the weekend. It confirmed my hunch that Washington State is the best state. Not only do we have islands off the coast, rolling hills, and a city where you can take a ferry to work, we have valleys and valleys of tulips. And legal pot, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Pro travel tips: bring multiple lenses. Wear rainboots. Watch out for running children. Don’t bring your dog, they are forbidden. Tulip fest will be running until the end of the month.

Skagit Valley Tulip Fest Photos


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Translation Thursday: What the Heck is This?

From Japan

My sister is in Japan, lucky duck. Her hotel has been leaving the above on her pillow every night.

Without being too egregious, please translate the text on the package and tell me what this thing is.

Some ideas:

a). A wasabi-scented item for use in the bedroom (wink). Now x5!

b). A magic robe that gives nerds chest hair.

c). They’re obviously chips. Musk-scented, of course.

d). A diet pill that gives people a hollowed-out chest cavity.

Add yours. I’ll reveal what the product actually is in the comments later.


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My Statue Pic for a Travel Photo Challenge

Thank god it’s not statutes. Am I right? Ha, ha. You’ve probably seen this one before because I am so proud of it.

Travel Challenge-Statue

What can I tell you about this photo? I looked out the window at the Louvre and clicked the button. I have started to really more into photography, which means three things:

1. I don’t use auto settings anymore.

2. I’ve become kind of annoying to my friends.

3. I will post more photos on here.

Statues are so easy to photograph because they stand there and look pretty and don’t even get mad when you take a selfie with them. Statutes are noticeably more difficult.

Where’sMyBackpack, thank you for such a great travel challenge.


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Maybe Your Bliss is Following You

I believe in following dreams. It’s what will keep you moving, getting up day after day. I believe in traveling the globe, in adventure, in opening your mind to new experiences.

And…

I believe know there’s no glamour in financially struggling.

Following is an honest look at “following your bliss” into dark corners. A recent experience led me to believe that sometimes, your dreams have to be put aside for awhile, at least until the ship rights itself, ’til the storm is over.

You’ve seen the Pinterest boards of the blue car on the wide open road with a nice Kerouac quote: “Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.” These Pinterest boards all have us wanting to sell our stuff and take to the open road.

  • You’ll serve rude people pie and work on your writing. Looked good in that movie, right?
  • You’ll tootle around the country in a jeep for a year
  • You’ll publish a novel about your life on the road. Because no one’s done that yet.
  • You’ll become a famous blogger. There aren’t many travel bloggers right?

All of these things sound great.

Read no further if you’re currently sitting on a stack of dollar bills. Or if your name is Richard Branson. If you are either of those two people, please by all means, follow your bliss.

For the rest of us, consider this:

Land first. Then leave.

Maybe your bliss is just where you are.

Continue reading


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My Résumé, the Mad Skills Edition

Skill #105: Finding spring before it actually begins.

Skill #105: Wildlife spotting.

Let’s be honest. Resumes aren’t meant to show off our real skills. You know the unseen stuff, the stuff your boss never includes in a performance evaluation, but probably should.

I’ve listed mine below, just in case you want to hire a drum-miming-broom-dancing-popcorn-making writer.

And so you don’t think I am bragging, I’ve listed the stuff I am not so good at. Comment below with your own mad skills!

My mad skillz résumé: 

  • Balancing a 600-page-plus tome on the treadmill as I run

-Drum miming as I run
-Imagining myself in an action movie as I run

  • Interpretive broom dancing

-Car dancing
-Elliptical dancing

  • Creative theme party planning
    My latest: Turtleneck & Chains (Inspired by The Lonely Island’s hilarious hit single. It’s BYLB. That’s Bring Your Light Beer).
    Previous: Nautical Night. Or I Think I’m On a Boat.
  • Dawson’s Creek Trivia
  • Popcorn making
  • Recognizing relatively obscure Biggy Smalls songs
  • Doodling Venus flytraps in the margins of my notepad
  • Deconstructing every nuance of My So-Called Life
  • Moving cross-country/international (3 times and counting!)
  • Finding freakishly good new snacks at Trader Joe’s
  • Identifying a good doctor by their magazine collection. (I.E. You’re a Doctor & you want your patients reading Web MD Magazine? GTFO.)
  • Making fairly elaborate quesadillas.
  • Jump roping.
  • Sweeping
  • Occasionally dice games & poker. I don’t play often enough to find out if I am actually good. So we’ll list this as a maybe.
  • Sprinting through airports
  • Finding the best pizza in any neighborhood, city, or small town
  • Picking hotels

Things I need to work on:

  • Balancing my mug of coffee in the car
  • Parallel parking. Spent most of my life in or close to various metro areas. Still not happening.
  • Eating produce before it gets moldy
  • Remembering reusable grocery bags
  • Dressing for the weather
  • Holding those handles on the bus for long stretches of time
  • Walking in heels, uphill/downhill. I firmly believe Seattle’s massive hills were the impetus for grunge fashion.
  • French accents.
  • Trapezing. Because you actually have to move your body when you trapeze. Who knew?
  • Carrying lots of stuff and arranging it properly before trying to open the door
  • Driving small cars, like FIATS
  • Finding my keys
Copenhagen


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Before You Apply to the Amtrak Writer’s Residency, Let’s Talk

As a travel writer/literary scribe/nonsense poet, I know what happened when you read Amtrak’s description of their new writer’s residency. Oh you haven’t heard? Amtrak is offering writers the opportunity to ride the rails for a few days. Must have mad writing skills and a substantial social media following.

Sound like you? Great. But there were also some questions about the rights of submitted writing samples that might have you rethinking jumping aboard. Last I heard, Amtrak is working out the legalese.

I’ll let you decide whether it’s a good idea to apply or not. I am here to talk truth about train travel.

The Truth About Train Travel

Me on a train. Don't laugh. No one looks good on a train.

Me on a train in NYC. Don’t laugh. No one looks good on a train.

You visualized yourself sitting in a plush, reclined seat, scenery zipping by your window, glass of wine in hand as you type the next great American novel. You picture telling the other oh-so interesting passengers you’re there to write a novel, a play, a…blog post.

Don’t lie. Some of the fun of being a writer on a residency is saying you’re a writer on a residency. “I wrote it all…on a train!” Cue applause at the well-attended reading of your new train mystery series, Snakes On A Train.

The passengers you picture come straight out of the golden age of train travel. Everyone carries a boxy suitcase and has a charming old-timey accent. The gals wear mink shrugs and derby hats; the gents don fedoras and skinny ties. Except for the ting of silver spoons and platters, it’s quiet as the train chugs along, breathtaking scenery zipping by out the window.

You have more than enough space for your laptop or even (guh) your typewriter. You put your feet up and type away to a special playlist you created for the occasion.

Runaway train, never goin’ back
Wrong way on a one-way track…

That is what I envisioned before I took a four-day train cross country from Chicago to San Francisco. That’s not quite what happened. I am not saying train travel is awful, not at all. I am simply saying it may not be what you think it is.

No stranger on a train.

Strangers-on-a-Train-still-good

What I envisioned.

At age 21, I rode the rails from Chicago to San Francisco and back, paying for it using my paltry tax return.  It was a family trip; my mom, younger sister, uncle and I headed out to California to watch my oldest sister graduate from law school.

My mom refuses to fly and so she takes Amtrak everywhere. None of the following experiences have anything to do with Amtrak or Amtrak service. From what I remember, the service is pretty darn good, the people are nice, and it is a unique experience that everyone should do once.

This is about my romanticized view of train travel, what I thought it was (the Orient Express) and what it actually is (not the Orient Express).

The Deluxe “Sleeper” Car.

Train-Travel-Amtrak-Writer's-Residency

THIS is exactly what happened to us.

When my mom said she booked a deluxe car (for the three of us), I envisioned a hotel-sized room with a big window. I pictured plush beds and chocolates on pillows, gourmet food on silver platters, a little table set up next to the window with a vase and a single rose. Along with little luxuries like a ceiling high enough so that I could stand completely upright. Continue reading


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That Time I Sent a Fax & Other Adventures

Boston Terrier, In Blankets

The boston terrier in his natural habitat.

I hesitate to call anything a series because it’s such a big commitment, but yes, periodically, I will be rounding up all the little everyday adventures in my everyday life.

What lucky duck won my blog giveaway?

First of all, I’d like to announce the winner of my first giveaway. Congrats Caitlin of Caitlinstern writes. She writes about writing, shares a lot of great short stories and journals her thoughts about writing. She’s also one of my first commenters from way back when this blog started.

She will be getting a copy of I Thought We Agreed To Pee In The Ocean by Alena Dillon. Even though you didn’t win, pick up a copy of the book, it’s a fun read.

Here is my three-part everyday adventure round up:

I. 

I sent a fax.

I know what you’re thinking: why, the f*ck would anybody send a fax? To weed out most of America certain types, a prospective employer asked applicants to fax, mail, or drop-off applications.

“This position requires some travel. Like back to 1993.”

Not knowing anyone with a fax, I went to our local mailing center. Mailing center dude hovered over the machine as it jerked the pages through then spit out a confirmation letter typed in a font I am sure no longer exists:

Your fax didn’t make it. We cannot tell you why. Please shove all 12 pages back into the machine. And make yourself comfortable. You’ll be here for awhile.

Mailing center dude threw up his hands in frustration as I scrolled through in-real-time status updates on my new iPhone. After three attempts, four apologies to him, and $5, I ended up mailing the darn thing.

That’s right. I used a second antiquated technology because the first didn’t work. Continue reading


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Could Skijoring be the Next Olympic Sport?

quebec-sport-winter-carnival-olympics

Who invented this sport? Had to have been a drunk college kid. Copyright: HalmCreative2014

Big news: skijoring, my favorite sport-that’s-not-a-sport is campaigning to make a comeback as a demonstration sport for the next Winter Olympics.

In 2011, I came across skijoring at Quebec’s Winter Carnival. I watched transfixed as crazy Canadians skied over slopes from the back of galloping horses, again and again.

Skijoring can be found where winter really sucks: Canada, Russia, Norway, Montana. It’s been around for awhile (before 1928), but I have a feeling it’s the next hip sport, here to replace interpretive broom dancing, naked bike riding, and bike polo or whatever else we’ve got going on.

There aren’t many official rules. Hitch your cross country skis to something and go.

The unofficial skijoring list: 

  • a pack of giant schnauzers,
  • a pick-up truck,
  • a snowmobile,
  • a well-trained Yeti,
  • a comet (also known as spacejoring),
  • one-thousand running lemmings (turns quickly into cliff diving),
  • a Yak (that’s real),
  • a trolly (SanFranjoring)
  • a swordfish
  • a pair of eager-to-please llamas
  • Poseidon, the God of the Sea (Seajoring)
Skijoring. The next big thing in Olympic Sports.

Joring in style. Copyright: HalmCreative2014

What’s your favorite winter-sport-that’s-not-a sport? Comment below!

Ps. I extended the giveaway! You can still comment on this post for a chance to win Alena Dillon’s very fun book I Thought We Agreed To Pee In The Ocean. Will be announcing/contacting the winner on Tuesday.