'm sitting in some internet cafe in Christchurch, New Zealand. Yes,
this is how I choose to spend my vacations: sitting on my butt typing
over a computer.
Seeing as how I've become unemployed from the garden rather
recently, and I had both time off and a reasonable severance package, I
figured that it was time to get a move on and make a big trip somewhere.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret right now, peeps: I am
personally not that crazy about travel. I find it inconvenient, and
uncomfortable, and expensive. You wouldn't realize it from reading
coldsmoke, because so many of the stories are about trips somewhere, but
at heart, I'm a stay at home kind of guy.
I'll tell you why I do travel then: not because I like it so much,
but rather because I don't want to be the kind of person who hasn't
traveled. That might sound a little weird, and indeed it is a little
weird. But I remember sitting at some buffalo wing place back in
Marietta, it being around 1991 or so. I was with old Doug and Pete and
we had met up with a group of old boys who we hung around with in high
school. These were the guys who had never left Atlanta, and some had
never left Marietta. Doug and Pete chatted away about their travels,
and Pete told Doug that somewhere they had "Black and Tan on tap: it
mixed together this lager and this porter right there, it was cool."
One of the stay at home guys butted in, "That's not a Black and
Pete looked at him and said, "Dude. That's what they called it."
"I don't care, a Black and Tan is a STOUT and a LAGER."
"Uh, dude. Whatever."
And sure that's petty, and sure that's not very important, but in a
way it kind of it. This was endemic of the whole outlook of these guys.
The point of traveling is to lose a bit of your provincial outlook, to
see something new, to meet strange men and learn their ways. It's
building character; I had a woman laugh at me because I called some
cookies "scones" instead of "biscuits," and I've had to learn the
vagaries of New Zealand coffee nomenclature and the difference between
and "long black" and a "flat white." Driving on the other side of the
road is a pain in the ass, too, and I nearly kill myself at least once a
G.K. Chesterton said, "The point of traveling is to be able to
return home and see it as a foreign country."
So that's why I travel, peeps. It's to stir something up in myself.
I have the innate ability and desire to be absolutely complacent. If I
don't watch myself, I easily turn into a bump on the log, happily
tripping along doing the same thing day in and day out. Traveling
somewhere odd, or far, or hard to get to is my own personal revolt
against doing the same old same old.
I have a feeling that, somehow, it will make me a better person.
There are all sorts of stories to tell about "enzed" (like flying
through military controlled Fiji, or drinking my first proper ginger
beer, or being shown exceptional kindness by some random Kiwis at the
O'Connell Street Cafe, or riding up Mt. Pleasant road and feeling like
my legs were going to pop off) but I've gone and updated the site with a
story that I typed up right before I left. It's about Michelle and her
family; wasn't it Anna K that said "Every happy family is alike?"
I'll be back in town at the end of February. Until then, stay
This website was last updated on 2/2/2001.
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