Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: Questions of Travel

My take on the "with baggage" prompt from Sunday Scribblings was to create this meme. Seemed appropriate to lift the title from Elizabeth Bishop.

Questions of Travel

1. How many bags or suitcases do you own? 2 carry-ons, 2 big suitcases, and a duffle.

2. Carry-on or baggage check? With two kids, baggage check.

3. Have you ever traveled alone? Yes.

4. Do you talk to strangers when you travel? No. In fact, I make a point of giving off that "don't talk to me" vibe on every trip.

5. What's the one thing you never travel without? After the essentials, my journal.

6. Have you ever taken a train to your destination? Yes

7. When traveling in a car, who controls the radio? The driver.

8. When driving, do you mind when your passenger sleeps? Yes. Hate when that happens.

9. Do you prefer to fly or drive? Fly.

10. Are you afraid of dying in a plane crash? No.

11. Favorite movie about travel? Airplane--Leslie Nielsen at his best.

10. What places would you like to visit someday? I'd like to see Italy and Australia, but I'd also like to visit Napa Valley and Monterrey, CA.

11. Favorite things about airports? People coming and going. The overlapping of lives meeting in the nexus of the terminal.

12. Do you like airplane food? When I can get it, yes. Also, I love the smell of coffee on an airplane. Don't like to drink it, I just like the smell.

13. How do you pass the time on a flight? Writing.

14. Name something that you left at home but absolutely needed on a trip. Breast pump.

15. Other than a ticket, what do you like to purchase pre-flight? Magazines, bottled water.

16. Have you ever missed your connection? Once, from L.A. to Boston.

17. Are you a member of the mile-high club? No, but my husband and I did apply for a charter membership!

18. Worst travel experience? Traveling in the hours and days after 9/11. See #22.

19. Where was the last place you traveled? Norfolk, VA.

20. Favorite travel guide? Lonely Planet.

21. What's your favorite poem/book on travel? Poem: "Questions of Travel" by Elizabeth Bishop:

"Think of the long trip home. Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?
Where should we be today?"

And Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky (don't have the book in front of me but I think this is correct):

"A tourist is someone who thinks about going home the moment they arrive,
whereas a traveler might not come back at all."

22. Most memorable travel experience? Tim and I got married on 9/15/2001 in Norfolk, Virginia. We were scheduled to fly down from Massachusetts on 9/12. But 9/11 happened and we ended up driving all night to get to my hometown, 12 hours on the road. I remember passing NYC, not being able to travel anywhere within a 50-mile radius of the city. We took detour after detour. I remember being near the Garden State Parkway and hearing the faint sound of debris hit the car, as light as falling snow. The car had a thin layer of soot that looked like pollen.

We got married without a problem, and then a few days after we were able to fly off to our honeymoon. It was touch and go for a while, getting to the airport at 3:30 a.m. for a 9 a.m. flight. Once we got on the flight, there was a man who looked of middle-eastern decent. After some discussion, he was escorted off for no reason apparent to us. We just had a feeling that this was a sign of things to come.

23. Do you carry any emotional baggage? No. Like most baggage, I check it at the door before entering.


Star said...

Great post January, and completely unique as usual.

Susannah said...

A great take on this week's prompt. i adore the Bowles quote, and your own personal recollections of the time after 9/11 made me sad but i'm so glad you guys got your honeymoon... x

Kamsin said...

I really like the Bowles quote too. But I think my aim is to be a pilgrim, although I'm still working out what the word really means. I guess I want to be changed by travel and move closer to something or someone when I travel. Great post, as usual!

GreenishLady said...

Such a novel approach to the theme! And we got to know so much about you. But to think... if I was sitting with you on a flight, there would be no conversation? I can be silent too, and am just realising I might have missed chances to meet really fascinating people.

January said...

Susannah: Thanks for comment. I think everyone, especially in the U.S., can remember what they were doing when 9/11 happened. I'm just happy my husband and I were able to carry on with our wedding plans in the first place.

Kamsin: I like your approach to the topic, but I must confess I had to look up the true definition of "pilgrim." I associate it too much with Thanksgiving. Yes, I think true travel should be more like enlightenment.

GR: If you were sitting next to me on a flight, I couldn't help but talk to you! But for the general public, not talking is more of a defensive safety issue for me. Besides, I get so little time to just read or write that I seize the opportunity every time.

bonnie said...

I loved your take on this prompt. Too funny about forgetting the breast pump! I'm sure it wasn't at the time.

Bug said...

Nice approach, Jan! May I steal your questions tomorrow when I'm bored at work and need something fun to do?

And I want to answer your collabortive poem post... but I'm having writer's block about it! I'll think on it.

Gemma said...

Great questions and answers.

megg said...

What a great post! I may just accept the challenge and do this meme - thank you!!!

kaleidoscope said...

Wow, January, your 9/11 post is goosebumpy. i really love that poem by Bishop, and the section of poems in her book Questions of Travel about her time in Brazil. I'm about to leave N.America for a month in Europe.. I wonder if I'm a tourist or a traveller? I certainly hope the latter.

Deb R said...

Very cool take on the prompt!

It was eerie to read about your travels on 9/12. I'm glad y'all were able to go ahead with your wedding plans.

(My hub was out of the country on 9/11 and was one of the people who wasn't allowed back in for a while until they started opening the borders again. Stress on top of stress.)

Colorsonmymind said...

Oh I have been wondering around blogs while trying to get my mind to work on this prompt-below all my baggage. I hope you son't mind me doing this meme.

Love to you

kaleidoscope said...

January: like colors on my mind (colours in Canada!), I'm going to do this questions of travel meme as well...

kaleidoscope said...

I mean, like Thea at Colors on my mind.

Jennifer said...

great read, I always enjoy getting to know people a bit more :)

bb said...

Yes, the Bowles quote was a favourite of mine too (sometimes originality seems impossible).
Great take on the prompt!

Laini said...

Great new meme! Glad to hear you mention Lonely Planet -- I worked for them right out of college and they're a terrific company. Also love the Paul Bowles quote. Wish I could be that kind of traveler! If you get a chance to read the current National Geographic, there's a "salute" to a longtime NG writer who recently passed away, and WOW what a life! A real modern-day explorer!

ecm said...

this was very fun...I am also a keep-to-myself traveler but I also like to observe and I think there is something exciting about an airplane terminal

annie said...

hi! FUN!!! thank you...

AscenderRisesAbove said...

very clever... checking that emotional baggage at the door

that 9/11 story was something; trying to imagine the detours; the grime on the cars. it is all too sad for words.


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