Destination: Texas

Texas.png

Hello, readers!

Today is another beautiful day in the life of everyone who is in a good mood. Everyone else hates life. And you. Those terrible people. But it’s ok because I will always love you. Doesn’t that make you feel better? I thought so!

I’m trying to move swiftly from destination to destination in an attempt to make up for (what I feel is) lost time. Between the trip and my self imposed hiatus, I’m way behind where I thought I’d be at this point in the challenge. So, at a brisk pace that reminds us exactly how out of shape we are, we move on to Texas!

The way this challenge is structured is meant to resemble a roadtrip throughout the world. Except instead of turning corners we’re turning pages and discovering way more than the best places to eat. For me roadtrips mean the wind in my hair, the excitement of new places, but most of all they mean music. There’s nothing quite like feeling the wind slip through your open hand, trees blurring together, as you sing along to the radio. Your voice gets lost in the sounds of traffic, the too loud music, yours friends’ voices indistinguishable from one another.

I have so many memories of being in the car with my best friend and dancing to music while she drives. People driving by and laughing with us, a fleeting moment of shared happiness. I have memories of being tired, the darkness outside swallowing up mountains, slow music spilling thickly from the speakers. Watching her intently looking at the road. I have memories of being in the back seat, tipsy and unconcerned with the world. Feeling warm and happy, cocooned by voices and nameless pop songs. Often the best part of a roadtrip isn’t arriving, it’s the journey. The ups and downs, the unexpected conversations, the singing at the top of your lungs that happens on your way there.

When I was deciding what to write about for Texas, I started looking for songs and I found this playlist. The guy who made it, wrote something that struck me as particularly true, “All travelers sing – the road demands it.” And I think it’s high time we brought some music into our journey. Here are some songs about Texas, for Texas, by Texans.

Enjoy the music, but most of all enjoy the journey. Until next time, readers!

Advertisements

Destination: Canada

Photo Jul 12, 1 04 03 PM copy

Evening, readers. I hope this Monday has been better than most for you!

I was originally planning on doing another list of strange facts, this time about Canada. There is a place in Quebec called St. Louis-Du-Ha!-Ha! I’m serious. Look it up. There is also a lake in Manitoba called Pekwachnamaykoskwaskwaypinwanik Lake. I swear I’m not making this up. It means “where the wild trout are caught by fishing with hooks”.  See?

Halfway through this (clearly fascinating) list I remembered I’ve actually been to Canada! I’ve been to the area around Niagara Falls, Toronto, and Vancouver. In light of that revelation, I decided to do a list of 10 experiences I had in Canada. So, here goes

10 Monumental and/or Completely Trivial Things That Happened to Me in Canada:

1. Driving 8 hours from Pennsylvania to Canada. EIGHT hours folks. (I should mention that I come from a very small island where, at most, it takes about 2 hours to cross North to South.)

2. Getting to Canada and realizing that you didn’t load Canadian maps onto your borrowed GPS.

3. Seeing Niagara Falls for the first time. Feeling small and happy about it.

4. Getting on the smallest elevator. Noticing there’s a girl with a hand crank that lowers the elevator. Pray to every single deity you can remember, even the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Especially the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

5. Finally getting on the boat that takes you to the Falls. Getting drenched from head to toe. Being damp for the rest of the day. Not minding.

6. Tasting Ice Wine for the first time. Loving it. Buying a bottle that you won’t open until years later.

7. Driving to Toronto for a concert, still without a GPS or a map. Getting there with time to spare. Deciding to shop to kill time. Being late to the concert.

8. Getting to the concert, having a random girl high five you because of your shirt. Dancing until you can’t breathe. Realizing you’re covered in dirt when the concert ends. Cleaning up in the bathroom of a KFC at midnight. Showering back at the hotel and watching the water run black

9. Spending your last hours in Canada playing games at an Arcade. Exchanging the tickets you won for trinkets, some of which you still have today. Feeling like a kid again.

10. Visiting the Falls one last time. Being rewarded with one of many rainbows. Heading home.

There you have it, a short retelling of my first trip to Canada. The second one involved insIMG_1442ane amounts of alcohol and a suspension bridge. Not simultaneously, mind you. It was pretty awesome though, it’s breathtaking standing on this swaying bridge and looking down at the rushing water. Both were incredible experiences and I’m hoping my next pick is just as good!

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my pick for Canada, so don’t miss it! See you then, readers.

Reading Challenge: Around the World in 250 Books

A few months ago Randy Olson, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, came up with the optimal road trip across the U.S. The trip would include a stop in each of the 48 states of the contiguous U.S. and Washington D.C. You can find his article explaining it here. I’ve always wanted to take a road trip like that and it got me thinking about what it would be like to start at one point of the world and travel through every country until you reached the other end. And so, this reading challenge was born!

I’m going to read a book by an author from each country, including some island territories and separating the U.S. into states. I’m not setting myself any limitations in terms of genre or year of publication in order to give myself space to choose the books that grab my attention. They’re organized by location, following the route you’d take for a road trip.

As I work my way through the map, I’ll be coloring in each country on the map below.

*I’ve added a map of the continental US in order to keep track of each state as I read my way through it.

eme-world-map-blankBlank-us-map-hi

Here is the list of the countries and territories in the order I’ll be reading them

Around the World in 250 Books2

If you decide to take up the challenge or have any book or movie suggestions for each country let me know in the comments! Have a good one, readers!