Archives for posts with tag: travel

gowalking pedometer
Another Art: In Hungary
by Susanna Rich

                For my Elizabeths

1

Misplacing is easy: Where is my Droid
jammed with winged statues of naked women
and selfies with lovers on metro escalators?

Ah, yes, raveled up in the Imperial tape measure
I brought to tabulate how my waist
takes to poppy seed palacsinta,

Bull’s Blood merlot, Bird’s Milk Egg Creams.
Keys go on forays, of course, shoes,
glasses, the pen I was just using, the other sock.

But then I lose my GOWalking pedometer,
a 1½” X 2½” gray thingie I clamp
onto the tongue of my Nike’s

to calibrate how far I traipse—
176 steps up to Fisherman’s Bastion;
synagogue to basilica; museum, museum,

museum to terminal market—
pendulum marking my course,
keeping score of my days.

2

It hurts to lose it—small trochaic
kathumping on my foot—

magic rattle assuring me:
my steps matter enough.

I retrace my steps, eyes low to cobblestones—
back over the Chain Bridge

to the stone lions with missing tongues,
for which the sculptor committed suicide;

through the cavernous Gellért spa,
with its frightening echoes

and limping white robes—
looking hurt into people’s faces.

It was too trivial to matter (until it did),
mass-produced in a China I’ll never know,

five-buck WalMart impulse—
eminently replaceable through the web.

3

Might as well have been
the hand of the child I never had,
my estranged sister phoning me—

all the things-I’ll-never-have glitches
around which I mold myself
like a storm around its eye.

The young waitress at the Coyote Pub—
For when you’re hungry as a wolf—
calls out to me as I sulk by:

You left something. Here.
Gray thing—heartbeats, feet,
bridges, time itself—reprieved.

Momentary joy: a stranger turned sister,
a foreign country become home
and I into the child found.

But what to do, where go,
now that I’m untethered
to what’s lost?

SOURCE: “Another Art” first appeared in Literary Bohemian.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Another Art” was inspired during MY Fulbright residency in Budapest, 2005.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Susanna Rich
is a bilingual Hungarian-American, a Fulbright Fellow in Creative Writing (Hungary), a Collegium Budapest fellow, and a Distinguished Professor of English at Kean University (New Jersey). An Emmy Award nominee, Susanna is founding producer and principal performer at Wild Nights Productions, LLC. Her repertoire includes the one-woman poetry musical Shakespeare’s *itches: The Women Talk Back and ashes, ashes: A Poet Responds to the Shoah. Susanna is author of three poetry collections, Surfing for Jesus, Television Daddy, and The Drive Home. Visit her at wildnightsproductions.com.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photograph was taken with Jucika, the Falcon, in Fisherman’s Bastion (Budapest, Hungary).

Photo by Morton D. Rich. 

jerry w. mcdaniel
I found you in a jewelry store on a side street in Madrid
by Lourdes A. Gautier

Two young lovers, arms around each other’s waist
Strolled the streets of Madrid biding time
Till lunch when restaurants opened and shops closed for siesta.

A jewelry store window beckoned as gleaming gold
Captured my eye and I tugged at your arm
Gently pulling you inside hoping there was something we could afford.

We chose a charm for my bracelet that would remind us of our trip.
Finally a most perfect circle of gold crowned with a bit of turquoise
Made a bid for my affection for the blue reminded me of the
     Mediterranean.

The shopkeeper sensed our reluctance to spend more.
He, a kind, older gentleman with a soft spot for young love
Placed the ring on my finger where it clearly belonged.

I wore it through the rest of our time in Spain.
Went snorkeling with it on in Costa Brava as it became
A repository of memories, I loved it and you for giving it to me.

A month passed and we found ourselves in Amsterdam.
Arrived too late to secure a bed and breakfast, forced to become
Homeless for our first night, we walked the streets to stay awake.

Fatigue set in and we found a bench near the end of the trolley line.
I looked at my hands only to find my ring missing.
It had slipped off unnoticed thanks to the cold and weight lost since
     Madrid.

Three o’clock in the morning, rats scurried along the streets to the canal.
You promised we would find it and somehow on the wide boulevard
There in the middle of the street you were the first to spot it.

What were the chances that anything lost on such a major thoroughfare
Would be found in the dark and gloomy hours of an Amsterdam night?
We both took it as a fortuitous omen, a sign of good things to come.

IMAGE: “Amsterdam at 4AM” by Jerry W. McDaniel (2007-2010). Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

Gautier ring

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: More than 40 years later, this ring still reminds me of the magic of finding that which we thought was irretrievably lost.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lourdes A. Gautier
is a poet and writer of short fiction and nonfiction. Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and raised in New York City she earned a Masters degree in Theatre and post graduate credits in a doctoral program at the City University of New York (CUNY) focusing on Latin American Theatre. She’s taught courses in acting and theatre history and criticism at CUNY, Drew University, and Jersey City State University and language arts in a special grant funded program at Rutgers University. Her short story, “1952,” was published in Acentos Review. Her poems have appeared in Calliope and in the Silver Birch Press  “All About My Name,” “My Perfect Vacation,” and “My Metamorphosis,”and “Me, at 17” series, among others. She is also a contributor to the award-winning anthology These Winter Months: The Late Orphan Project. She has performed at the Inwood Local open mic night in New York City. Currently an administrator at Columbia University, she continues to work on a collection of poems and stories, and looks forward to when she can retire from the day job and devote herself to writing full-time.

polana-hotel-mozambique

In the World at 17
by Rowan Johnson

At seventeen, he stayed at the Polana Hotel in Mozambique, with swinging palms and the biggest and bluest swimming pool he had ever seen; and then the desperation of the streets outside—rusty old vehicles covered with all kinds of garbage, strewn all over and stinking. Old and weathered women who could barely walk, carrying barrels of water for twenty kilometers every day, just so their children could have a drink.

The next day it was Austria, simply trying to find a toilet. The helplessness of not knowing German; the exhilaration of being a foreigner, a stranger asking directions—a child, knowing nobody, with an intense fear of peering over the edge of that mountain outside. The simple peasant girl who led him back to her room in the dead of the Austrian night, after more than a few too many Jagermeisters; a potent combination for a young boy. Her hair was fantastically black, longer than his arms.

And so he had his memories: the discovery of new, untouched lands, new faces and places, the feeling of real snow, the taste of Alpine water from fresh streams. This was his world—this was the life that he had always known.

PHOTO: Polana Serena Hotel, Mozambique.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rowan Johnson holds a doctorate from the University of Tennessee as well as an MA from the University of Nottingham, England. His work has been published in Two Thirds North, 4ink7, Passing Through Journal, Wordriver Literary Review, GFT Press, and the Writers’ Abroad Foreign Encounters Anthology. He has also written numerous travel articles for SEOUL Magazine.

ramsey17

Turkey
by Zoë  Ramsey

When I was 17, I secretly defied my father and boarded an airplane bound for Turkey, where I spent one amazing month of the summer before my final year of high school. Ten years later, he still doesn’t know.

I never considered myself particularly rebellious. Independent is how I’d describe myself. My parents split when I was quite young, just two years old. If you knew my parents, you’d wonder how they even got together in the first place. I spent the school year with my mother on one side of the country and visited my father during the summer holidays on the other. As I got older, I realised my summer holidays could be used for things I wanted to do, rather than just the obligatory family visit.

So at the age of 16, I participated in my first foreign exchange. I spent the summer in Brazil, a decision my father supported both eagerly and financially. I was always going to be a traveller and he was happy to encourage my dream. It was my first taste of travel and I latched onto it and never let go. So when the opportunity presented itself to go on another exchange the following summer, I jumped at it. Dad wasn’t so pleased. Turkey was different from Brazil. It was farther away, more dangerous. I remember the phone call perfectly.

“I…don’t plan on sending you,” he had said.

I remember exactly what my mother said when I repeated his words. ‘So just go and don’t tell him,” she had said with a shrug.

So that’s exactly what I did.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me at seventeen (my eyes most unfortunately closed) with my host mother and host brother standing in front of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I first saw the “Me, At 17”  prompt, I racked my brain for something I did at 17 and was disappointed that I was coming up with nothing. Then I almost laughed out loud when I realised that was the year I took my secret trip around the world and knew immediately that’s what I was to write about.

ramseybiopic

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Zoë Ramsey
attended the University of Edinburgh and received her MSc in Creative Writing. She currently resides in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she’s working on her first novel. She can be contacted via twitter @zoe_writes_.

hatcloseup

Have Toque, Will Travel
by Lee Parpart

It was just a simple brown ski hat with a striped cuff and a squashed pompom, vaguely poo-coloured and permanently caked in sweat.
But to an eight-year-old dragged from Boston to Britain and then Lusaka for her mother’s doctoral research, it must have signified something important.
Why else would I refuse to remove it for a full year?
In London, I wore the toque so often that a man in our B&B finally worked up the courage to ask if it hid a surgical scar.
I remember him sitting opposite us at breakfast, trying on the question while waiting for his toast to cool.
He couldn’t have known that simply being in a place where toast was served cold helped explain my need for this comfort from home.
From then on we called it the Cancer Hat.
I wore it sleeping, on double-decker buses around London, in baths until it was time to shampoo, and on the plane to Zimbabwe.
I tried to keep it on during that whole first night in Nairobi, but relented when my fever broke 104 and I began a long night of vomiting.
My sister put it on a chair and held my hair back while our mother braved the hotel bar on a quest for ginger ale.
Days later, when we reached Lusaka, the diplomats’ daughters at our British school sized up my striped Levi’s and soiled headgear and declared me unfit for society.
They were not wrong.
I was half a girl, the ink on the divorce papers barely dry when we boarded that first plane and left our father to his broken mind.
I can’t remember when the hat finally outlived its usefulness. One day, about halfway through our two-year stay in Zambia, it just disappeared.
I don’t remember making a fuss.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Christmas 1973 in West Newton, Massachusetts, a few months before my sister and I would fly to London to join our Mom. I was already wearing the hat full-time, inside and out.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve been trying to remember if it was my Dad who bought the hat for me. I know he bought me a winter coat at EMS in Boston, and he could have given me the hat at the same time.

parpart

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lee Parpart worked as an arts journalist and media studies researcher before returning to creative writing in 2015. Her poetry and prose have appeared in numerous Silver Birch Press series, and she was named an Emerging Writer for East York in 2016 as part of Open Book Toronto’s “What’s Your Story” contest. She lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.

england

And dad won’t leave the mountain
by Kristina England

A day after reaching the inner west of North Carolina, my mother and I leave him in front of the Weather Channel, eyes fixed on coastal hurricane. I put on a black and white checkered hat that sloops in on one side, dare to wear pink shirt, floral skirt, too much pattern, the less adventurous would say.

Mom and I drive to Asheville, forty-five minutes away. We eat lunch at the Jerusalem City Cafe, because it is the closest I’ll get to my heritage, then walk around town, sightseeing. Thomas Wolfe statue, iconic tower, people playing instruments on street corners.

Afterwards, I take a different way home. The roads are mostly sideways as we loop Blue Ridge Mountains.

I stop in Old Fort, because the scenes are fine for photogues. Emergency siren sounds. One of those old cranks, some man using his brute force. Mother and I, shaken, head on out, not knowing how to react. The alarm gets more distant but not our rattled profiles.

Mom calls dad to check in, does not mention our encounter. The hurricane has passed. He is in a more steady mood. Survived a tornado ripping through his house at age four.

We do not ask him to leave the mountain again.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me at the end of our trip back from Asheville, North Carolina, at the Flowering Bridge in Lake Lure.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In life, we metaphorically wear hats that are so big, we don’t always see the reality of a situation. This story is about getting dressed up, seeking out adventure, and the understanding we can find when faced with the same fears of those who don’t join us in the adventure. The hat is new and fun. Ask me in 10 years where the hat is and I probably won’t know, but, god willing, I’ll know, really know, the people I love a little more with each passing day.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her writing and photography has been published in several magazines, including Apeiron Review, Gargoyle, Muddy River Poetry Review, and, Pure Slush. Follow her on facebook.

hillesland

World Traveler
by Ann Hillesland 

My sandals slip on the cobblestones as I walk through Prague. The morning is warm, just starting on sticky. Around me, packs of t-shirted tourists pose in front of old buildings and drink fancy coffees at outdoor cafes. It’s my first time overseas and I’m alone. Sidling between clusters of visitors, I point my camera at building frescos and greened metal statues, trying to feel excited by the grandeur and history, but instead feeling lonely. Without a destination, I drift past stalls selling postcards and key chains and beer steins with the gothic castle on them.

A rack of colorful hats catches my eye. I love hats. Because my straw summer hats wouldn’t travel well, I haven’t brought one with me. The store’s hats are not fancy—just bands of ribbon sewn together—but they come in bright colors and will not crush when packed. They strike me as the practical kind of hat a world traveler might throw into her suitcase as she’s jetting off to yet another exotic location. After trying on several, I select a light blue one, pay, and put it on at a jaunty angle.

The city looks different from under a hat. I feel more like the sophisticated jet setter in my imagination, alive to new experiences. As 11:00 am approaches, I make my way to the astronomical clock to watch it chime, even though the guidebook has warned me it’s overrated. I wade into the crowd and stare upwards, like everyone else. When the hour strikes, the statues of the apostles circle by the clock’s windows, each pivoting to gaze out before circling away. From under the brim of my hat, it looks like they’re dancing.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: 2006, Budapest, Hungary (I wore the Prague hat the rest of the trip).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I wrote this piece, I looked at all my pictures from Prague to remind myself what it was like. I noticed how often I pointed my camera up to avoid the crowds in front of every building and statue. It was as if I wanted to show in the pictures how alone I felt at the time.

hilleslandbiophoto

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ann Hillesland
, a California native, writes fiction and nonfiction. Her work has been published in many literary journals, including Fourth Genre, Sou’wester, Bayou, The Laurel Review, Corium, and SmokeLong Quarterly. It has been selected for the Wigleaf Top 50 Very Short Fictions, won the grand prize for prose in a Spark contest, and has been presented onstage by Stories On Stage. She is a graduate of the MFA program at Queen’s University of Charlotte. For more of her work, visit  annhillesland.com.

cotter
Translucency
by Chloe Cotter

Last week a friend asked when was the last time I’d felt happy.

 “When…” no, not then. “It was…” no, not then either.

Don’t get me wrong, I have lots to be happy about. I’m a young writer spending my days drinking espresso on the sun-bathed terraces of Paris, and I have a family back home in Vancouver that loves me very much.

It’s just that the ever-present futility of existence weighs down on every moment and reminds me that I’m just a step away from losing it all.

This morning as I walked along the paths of the Buttes Chaumont, I looked at my arms and they didn’t feel like they were a part of me. The sun was shining, warming my skin, but I felt completely translucent, like I didn’t even exist.

I sat down on a bench to steady myself and stare into the space above the pond to think of the nothing that comes to mind when I think of being happy.

Then I thought about that time he hit me like the coward he is and how I packed up my shit while he was at work and moved out like the coward I am. And how I found myself on the other side of the world continuing the search for meaning in other people and things and meals and glasses of Bordeaux and the rainbow haze of the Sagrada Familia and the red-lit rooms of De Wallen.

And I thought about being suspended in time and space and how the whole city, the whole world, is talking nonchalantly about the meaning of life. About our translucent bodies. About how no matter how far we go, no matter how far or how fast you move, there is no escaping our fate.

PHOTO: The author in Paris, August 2015.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote a much longer version of this piece after a particularly difficult experience with trying to integrate myself into the French culture. It wasn’t difficult to talk to or share stories and food with my new French friends, but rather it felt immensely heavy to deal with the reality of being a perpetual wanderer, and having a deep-set need to always move away from difficulties. And not only that — now that I’d found a place (Paris) that I wanted to stay in, the bureaucracy of travel visas stated that my sejour there would have to come to an end eventually, and I was lost with where to move to next.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chloe Cotter is currently working on her first novel, and is the writer behind thekittenlife.com. She is a perpetual wanderer, originally from Vancouver and currently based in Montreal. She spent 2015 eating and drinking her way across France, finding inspiration in everything. She is a foster cat mama, French enthusiast, and consciousness seeker. Visit her on social media — twitter @chloefcotter, instagram @thekittenlife, and  her website,  thekittenlife.com.

tanner

Somewhere on I-75
by Amanda Tanner

Many people move from one state to another. Sometimes it’s awesome, sometimes its crappy. For the first 18 years of my life, it was crappy, literally. But, more about that later.

Moving across country has some interesting side effects on a child. For example, I can tell what geographical region you are from based on how you order that fizzy cola with lunch. I won’t get worried when a friend in Georgia asks to be carried to the store, or when my son wants to pump a friend on his bike. I also know that a crick could be a pain in one’s neck, or it could be a stream of water. You say tomato, I say tomahtoe.

Another interesting side effect of moving is that I’m not a hoarder, I don’t get attached to things. While all of my friends have a treasure chest full of childhood toys they can share with their grandchildren, I have none. I don’t even have childhood memories. I imagine that they are with my toys, in a moving van, somewhere on I-75.

This is because, for the first 18 years of my life, we moved every two years or so. I remember Alaska, Minnesota, Florida, both sides of Michigan, Florida twice more, and then Texas.   I know what you are thinking: I must have been a military brat, right? Nope. Daddy was a civil engineer. He built sewage treatment plants.

That’s right, I’ve been to all the towns that were full of crap! For me, moving was always a crappy experience.

PHOTO: Taken by author in Michigan’s northern Upper Peninsula. The sign showing the distance to Miami demonstrates the locals’ sense of humor about their remote location and frigid winters.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For this piece of writing, I combined two of my most frequently told stories from my youth. Friends and family members get a kick out of my moving story because they all assume I am a military brat, and because the story has a bad word or two in it when it is told in person. My sons and their dad are budding hoarders, but I am not. I consistently explain this phenomenon as “the amount of stuff you keep is inversely related to the number of towns that you have lived in.” They all lived in the same town until after high school!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amanda (call her Nanna) Tanner is a semi-retired educator and lifelong learner. An eternal optimist, Nanna claims there is nothing that she can’t learn. She will tell you she dabbles in the arts and loves creating things. She paints in oils and acrylics, plays guitar, writes poetry, and sings in the car on road trips. Most recently, she has learned to quilt and has made personal creations for 10  relatives.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Nanna needs some new shades! Photo taken in August of 2016 at KMart.

Chew1
Across the Country, Little Ford, Big Dog
by Abby Chew

I started on a Quaker farm in Ohio, where I raised goats and taught my students to waltz and read sonnets and grow food.
I drove my red truck and my white dog to Maine.
Then back through Ohio, toward Indiana and Iowa—we liked names bookended by vowels.
I’d said goodbye to all the friends I’d ever had.
At Council Bluffs, we considered all we could see. All that lay out there across the plains.
We drove through Colorado the day of the Aurora shooting. We watched the sun bleed itself into the mountains.
I laughed out loud driving through canyons. I’d never been inside a canyon before.
We drove through rain. The little truck did just fine, weighted down and low, barreling on.
We are peanut butter sandwiches in a parking lot at Arches and bemoaned the National Park rules about dogs. We wished we had everything in the world all to ourselves.
We stayed one night in a fancy Las Vegas hotel. Every other dog was snack-food-sized. We’ve never been back.
We got to California and made a new home.
We met a man.
We got a second, smaller dog.
We still have the truck.
We still look East every day.

PHOTO: The author and Alice the dog at the Brite Spot in Echo Park, Los Angeles, blocks from where they live with the new man and the new dog.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In this little poem, I wanted only the facts that brought Alice the Dog and me out here to the coast where we now live. A list. Because that trip was so terrible and wonderful. It could only be a list.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Abby Chew earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Currently, she teaches at Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica, California.