Anglo Adventure

Travel with a sense of humor


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Dear Media, We Need to Talk

Video on how media should cover a mass murder

I am not the person to write about What Happened last Friday. I am a travel blogger and when I am not traveling, I am trying to make people laugh. Expect what follows to be slightly off topic and serious.  One travel’s greatest gifts is the ability to look at your own country through a long lens – see its beauty, as well as its flaws.

The USA gets a lot right. And a lot wrong.

I will not use the location or the keywords associated with What Happened because it is not my intention to use it to bolster my blog readership and I am absolutely disgusted by anyone who would do so.

I would like to tell reporters who shoddily covered What Happened exactly What I think of them.

Let me just say: I love the news. Previously, I worked as a journalist at several small newspapers. I think most journalists are honorable, heroic, worthy of medals for risking their lives to cover wars and conflicts in far off places while the rest of the world reads the stories from safe at home.

I think the world needs more good journalists to build bridges across the sky, to places and people we’d never know otherwise. I am a strong proponent of freedom of speech. I am vehemently anti-censorship.

HOWEVER, coverage of What Happened has been irresponsible and dangerous on multiple levels. Continue reading


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The Art of Saying Goodbye

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Elwood wondering about the next time he’ll see his friends from Quebec

Goodbye is part of life, especially for travel writers and expats. I said goodbye to a very good group of people recently. As someone who has made three big moves in six years, I should be accustomed to this.

I am not. Especially because I know I probably won’t see these people again.

The Very Good People I speak of are a refugee family from Libya (originally Somalia) who I helped transition here. I showed them bus routes and where to find jobs and taught them simple English phrases. They cooked dinner every Sunday. Heaping piles of rice and pasta with sides of bananas and salads. Never a question if I would stay and eat. They assumed and set up a plate and ushered me to the kitchen.

I worked with the family for a few months. As I watched them pack, (offering to help, but not knowing what to do), I noticed they still didn’t switch their clocks over for daylight savings. I should have explained daylight savings to them. I should have showed them where to buy rain boots and jackets. I could have done a better job as their appointed American mentor. Continue reading


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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:

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And this tree:

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And this Copenhagen street at night:

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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!


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Leaf-Peeping Tips

Maine leaves, leaf peeping, travel blog

New tagline for Maine: Our state looks like a water-color painting.

I lived in Quebec City last fall and during a magical two weeks, it was like living inside a flame: a swirl of reds, golds, and oranges.

I went back recently to work on a few articles and to knock four more states off my list: Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. My follow-up post will be a leaf-peeping log of the things we did, ate and argued about. Continue reading


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Quebec Language War Caught on Tape


This video makes me laugh. I like that the francophone is wearing a duster and a fedora. Total villan garb.

I don’t think people should ever get in someone’s face and scream at them for not speaking their language. If that happened here to an immigrant, I would punch someone. Learning a language takes years so be patient with those who are learning.

If you’re traveling to the Belle Province, don’t worry about running into a gang of fedora-duster-clad francophones. Unless you’re hanging out in bars at 3:00 am. The most that has ever happened to me was a dismissive wave in a bar.

My husband, however, was yelled at in the street by a tough-as-nails 8-year-old girl who demanded “Pourquoi Anglais?” He laughed it off. Quebec City isn’t like Montreal in that it’s very francophone, by very I mean 98%.

Yes, language is an issue. Most Quebeckers welcomed me when they realized I was American, not Western Canadian. I had an excuse for my horrible French.

And by the way, I immediately enrolled in a language school upon my arrival. I tried and am still trying. They like it when you try, so don’t go there thinking you’re the SH$T and demanding they speak English to you. Learn a few phrases if you’re visiting, learn the language if you’re living there.

I think this could have been solved if the guy spoke a little French. Bonjour?! C’est facile. I think he tried further infuriating the francophone once he realized he was being recorded. Duster guy is kind of an asshole, but by no means represents the rest of the province.

He also has a point, however agressive it’s portrayed. You live in Montreal, you should probably learn a little bit of French.

 


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Travel Writing on the Road

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This is me on vacation (smiling)

 This is me on work (smoking)

(The 1960’s version of me smokes. Judge away!)

I am here. In Quebec, four months after I moved. What am I doing at this exact moment? Sitting in a plush, King-sized bed, surrounded by pillows and chocolates like a Sultan.

Jealous? Don’t be.

This is the part of travel writing everyone knows: The food. The comps. The attractive, overly-attentive staff who hang on your every bite.

The power is exhilerating. I must tell you.

But before you quit your office job, remember this is actual work and takes a lot of patience, attention to detail, and very strong calves. And that the perks make up for a very significant lack in pay. Continue reading


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Advice to the Abroad and Unemployed

job search abroad summer festival quebec

You rock. Job or no job. (Last year’s summer fest)

I am determined to say yes to most things. “YES” to moving to Seattle from Chicago, my hometown. Then YES to moving to Quebec. Then YES out of shear necessity to one-day becoming fluent in French.

Or shall I say Oui.

I find the unbeaten path, covered in brambles and I march down it – unafraid – until I look around and I am completely lost. And I can’t even try that old explorer’s trick because the sun beats down from directly above my head.

That’s kind of where I am right now.

Lost. Without a compass.

Approximately 1 year and a half ago, I gave up my copywriting job. It came with a team I adored and all these hidden benefits: happy hour and that glorious time when you can loudly declare “I SO need a drink. I’ve been BUSTING my ass.” A treasure chest of work gossip “Did you HEAR what SO-AND-SO said to SO-AND SO.” UNBELIEVABLE.

It made me feel like a big shot.

Then came my last day, approximately two weeks before The Big Move. How bad could unemployment be?

Just look a the success of theEverywhereist, a fellow Seattle blogger who travels the world with her husband. She makes a living with her blog. She travels. She writes.

Could I be that kind of awesome?

After a few months of culture shock, I hit my stride and things got good. Very good. I started every meal with a baguette and a spoonful of confiture. I went on field trips with my French class in the middle of the afternoon. Being the only experience and child-free writer in this French-speaking land, I got all the rare writing jobs. I did things like interview Larry Clark and hang out back stage with Couer de Pirate. By hang-out, I mean stare at her and get really nervous and watch a journalist with a faux hawk whip out a notebook and start asking her questions in French (bien sur!). Continue reading