What made you want to travel?
For me, it was learning about the Loch Ness Monster. In the middle of a childhood defined by fiction books, I distinctly remember sitting at a table in the back of my third-grade classroom, looking at the famous surgeon’s photo in a book, and realizing this was a place that really existed (even if maybe the monster did not).
Twelve years later on a cold and rainy February afternoon, I stood on the banks of Loch Ness itself, looking for the monster and drinking some tea. Life rewards us that way sometimes.
As a big fan of thrift stores and ApartmentTherapy.com, I love seeing how people make something beautiful out of what was once far from it. To understand where I’m coming from, please bear with a bit of a world history lesson, then a personal history reflection, before I get into the Death Strip.
I didn’t name my blog “in transit” just because I like to travel. It’s really (primarily!) because my life is always transitioning. Take the past month, for example, while I’ve transitioned into full-time job search and part-time transcription work. But this morning I looked up from re(re)(re)customizing my résumé and realized I never wrote about Berlin Underground!
While I was visiting my friends in Berlin (now with a blog of their own at Adventuring Pandas), we had dinner with Rob, once of the This Week in Germany podcast. When he found out I was undecided about my plans the next day, he recommended the Berlin-Underground Tour (which he’d featured on Episode 105, around the 10 minute mark), and Rob, I’m here to say thank you. I only wish I’d had time to take ALL of the tours they offer that day instead of just one!
Conclusion of the notes I took after the tour:
Great tour, great price, go go go!!!
When I was in high school studying German, my teacher told us about JFK’s famous Ich bin ein Berliner speech, pointing out that, in German, we don’t say, “I am a Berliner” or “an American” or “a Pennsylvanian,” but simply, “I am Berliner,” or “I am Pennsylvanian.” Adding an article before Berliner kind of made it sound like he said, “I am a type of gooey jelly donut famous to this region.”
But I digress. Whatever the literal translation, his meaning was clear. And today, I feel exactly the same way.
Berlin Wall 1961–1989
The year before I studied in Germany, a friend of mine studied in Spain. That semester, she stopped wearing her watch, she stopped worrying as much as we’re both prone to, and she learned how to be spontaneous, or, as she called it, spaintaenous.
What a great way to live.
Pont du Gard, 2009.
Just like my friend, I typically like to plan things. I like to know where I’m headed and what steps I’ll take to get there. But there’s a big, suppressed part of me that hates being so regimented.
And this week, she won out.
Every trip needs to have its seed of an idea. Early last summer, it was when I told my officemate, “I think I want to invite my BFF to go to Scotland with me,” and my officemate said, “If you do, you should totally take a bike trip through the Highlands.”
Three months later, my BFF and I were slogging our bikes up hill and dale through Scottish downpours for a week. And we’d do it again in a heartbeat.
The day I learned my rain jacket isn’t waterproof.
Today I started to really think about my next Big Trip. Continue reading