What Are You Waiting For?

Tired of waiting for your friends to get their lives and their money together so you can FINALLY leave the country? Well, here’s a list of the 20 best places to go solo. I’ve been to six, five solo, and I vouch for these places. Stop being a ‘fraidy cat and letting other people keep you from doing what you want to do! Had I waited on other people, I’d be 40 with no stamps in my passport!

Even if it’s just a restaurant or a movie, don’t wait for other people. JUST GO!! I hate hearing people say, “I want to go to [insert place here] but I don’t have anyone to go with.” Why not go alone? Do you not enjoy your own company? If you don’t enjoy your own company or are uncomfortable spending time with you, why should anyone else want to spend time with you? If you don’t like you, you can’t reasonably expect that anyone else will like you.
So get comfortable with you and get going!


R.I.P. to My Travel Companion

The year was 2004. I was dating a techie who prided himself on having the latest and greatest of anything that even vaguely resembled a gadget. He was so obsessed that his house had very little in the way of actual furniture or dishes. However, if one of his gadgets needed a stand, a case or a shelf, it had the top of the line stand, shelf or case. One day we were riding in his car headed to dinner. I didn’t like what was playing on his radio and asked if he had any CDs. He got as excited as a kid on Christmas as he pulled out an MP3 player. I had no idea what it was but he took great delight in explaining it to me. At the time I had roughly 450 – 500 CDs. He didn’t know exactly how many CDs I had but he knew that my collection was pretty large. He went on and on and on about how if I were willing to spend a mere $500 that I could put all of my music on one of these MP3 players. If you know me, you know I’m cheap. I hadn’t yet developed the International travel bug but I had traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and did so frequently. Even back then I wasn’t spending $500 on anything unless it involved an airplane.

About a year later someone in my office insisted that I borrow their iPod to show me how great the thing was. After a couple of hours, I was hooked! I left the office that very afternoon and spent a couple of hours in the Best Buy talking to the salesman about all of my options. I believe that my options back then were “this one” or “that one” but that didn’t stop me from taking up all of his time talking about the gadget and all the accessories I would need (e.g., want) to go along with it. I spent all night and half the next day (it was a weekend) uploading my CDs. I wouldn’t be happy until they were all in there. After hours and hours of uploading, I had all 4,000+ of my songs in one spot. COOL! I spent another couple of hours creating and re-creating playlists of my favorite songs and artists. I was in music heaven!

As I began to travel more this little device proved to be invaluable. Prior to my iPod, I would have to pack a discman then decide which 24 or 48 CDs I just couldn’t stand to be without on that trip. That made my luggage quite heavy. Now I didn’t have to choose which CDs or artists I thought I might want to listen to on a given trip because I could take them all with me. That iPod moved from Phoenix to Chicago with me. It traveled all over the Midwest with me as I worked my territory for my job. It accompanied me on every vacation. It was with me every STRESSFUL holiday travel season and saved a LOT of annoying travelers from having to meet “Chrissy.” It was even with me when I took that ill-advised flight to Bermuda with a double ear infection and a sinus infection. (One day I’ll tell that story. It’s tragically hilarious. Trust me, it really is!).

After returning to Chicago from Bermuda, my iPod went on the fritz. I did the old reset and I was back in business. It started to get a little wonky more and more frequently. It probably had something to to with excessive use and dropping it from various heights onto all kinds of surfaces. I’m clumsy. The thing probably should have already been dead by then but it had kept on ticking. Then one day, about a week before a trip to London, it cut off and wasn’t responding to the usual reset routine. At that point I did the only thing I knew how to do, I spoke to it:

“Hey, look. I know I’ve put you through a lot. You’ve done more than any one iPod should be asked to do. But I need you to do this one last thing. Get me to and from London, and if you’re still not feeling it, I’ll put you down, Old Girl. Just do me this solid, ok?”

Wouldn’t you know it, five minutes later she went from the sad face of death to just needing a little charge. We were back in business!  A week after returning from London I was standing on the Red Line platform at the Harrison station when she finally said “That’s it!” I didn’t even try to restart it this time. I honored my promise and put her down.

In comes Sadie, the replacement. I got her two weeks after I put her predecessor down. That was the Summer of 2008. Since then Sadie and I have racked up some serious miles. If she had a passport, it’d be quite impressive. All those miles have taken a toll on her. Last week she decided to give up. I took her into the Apple store to see if they could do anything with her. I was told that Sadie was considered “Vintage.” Vintage was one step above “Obsolete.” Apple doesn’t service these old dogs. They don’t even carry the parts to do so. So, after 6 years, 14 countries and 50+ cities, Sadie is being laid to rest.

We’ve had fun, Old Girl! It’s a good thing you can’t talk to tell the stories though. Rest easy!
iPod RIP Pic

Jaywalking Abroad

To Jaywalk or not to Jaywalk? That is the question!

The answer to that question should probably be a resounding “NO!” But I’ve got to say that, for me, it may or may not depend on the city. I say “may or may not” because I’m a law abiding citizen who would never (admit that I might) break any law in any land, no matter how ‘minor’ the offense.
Continue reading

A Tale of Two Cities: Paris vs Zurich

I left Paris on a Thursday headed for Zurich, Switzerland. One of the first things I noticed when I arrived in Zurich is that it appears to be a very honest and trusting city. After leaving the airport I headed for the Tram station to go to my hotel in Old Town. Once at the station I realized that I had purchased a, more expensive, ticket for the Train instead of the Tram. Continue reading

Life As.a Traveler Shouldn’t Be So Rough!!

Soooo, thanks to “________ Tours” my European adventure was briefly interrupted. Don’t worry, I’ve sent them a strongly worded, four page, ChrissyGram and as soon as the matter has been resolved, I’ll be telling that tale!! This company is to be avoided, unless of course you happen to enjoy paying to be tortured. But I digress. Continue reading

The People You Meet Series: #3

I met a Bum and Hustler from Spain. He’s the “just enough” type of guy. He’s just handsome enough, just charming enough and just interesting enough to get women to talk to him. He’s also just dumb enough to choose the wrong one as a Mark. I walked into the bar to watch a little football. I got there after 6:30pm which meant that the bar was packed.  Finding a waitress to order a beer was difficult. Finding a place to sit was pretty much impossible. Continue reading