Sometimes the biggest mistakes you make turn into fun travel stories. And sometimes outing yourself as a complete goofball can lead to some memorable writing.
So it was with the time I … well, it doesn’t really need any setup. I’ll let Paul of the Year 2000 tell you all about it.
Continue reading “Travel Story: Abilene, Who Knew?”
When I think back on my travel writer days, my breakfast in Baker, California always rises to the top.
It was just one of those pieces I felt good about at the time, like I had really gotten the essence of the experience and the place. And it was, for all its goofiness, a pleasant memory, road-tripping around the desert with my first serious girlfriend.
Continue reading “Travel Story: Breakfast in Baker”
On February 2, 1998, I rode a bus into New York City, then left on a train. I was 31, rambling around the east coast visiting friends, spending money I had made the previous summer working in Alaska.
And I was writing.
Continue reading “Travel Story: Two Hours in the City”
Here’s another Memphis Flyer travel column from back in the day, this one from 1999. I took a Texas friend to a football game at Ole Miss, known formally as the University of Mississippi if you didn’t know that.
And while the column was written more than 21 years ago, I doubt much has changed at Ole Miss, at least in terms of the football party. The team has gotten worse, but the party probably only bigger. And they moved the confederate soldier statue from the middle of campus to a Civil War cemetery.
Otherwise, it’s Mississippi, so things change slowly, if at all.
I doubt that Wall Drug, “the world’s most famous drug store,” has changed much since I went there in 1989, on a roadtrip from Memphis to Wyoming. It may well be bigger and weirder, though that’s a little hard to believe.
10 years later, I must have been looking at a Memphis Flyer travel column deadline and an empty ideas bin, because I dug up a photo and the 10-year-old memory of a place which, as I described it in this article, was “a drugstore, yes. It’s also a museum and a restaurant and a mall and a tourist attraction. It is essentially the only industry in the town of Wall, South Dakota, employing more than 100 of the 800 residents and taking up a quarter of its business district.”
Continue reading “My 1989 Visit to Wall Drug in South Dakota”
Another from my years a travel writer for the Memphis Flyer — and in this case, “Memphis” is an important part of the story.
Not that the story happened in Memphis; far from it. It happened in Mount Shasta, California, which as someone told me in the article is “Just down the road from Weed.” I had only lived on the West Coast for three years at the point this story went down, so I was still, well, let’s say reserved about the spirituality I encountered there.
Continue reading “Magic Mountain; Or When This Tennessee Boy Visited Mount Shasta in 1999”
One fun aspect of going back through my old Memphis Flyer travel columns has been re-living my first experiences with the state of Oregon.
Places which I have now been to several times, places which I am already in the process of missing as I make plans to move on from Oregon, were once places that revealed themselves to me on magical, epic journeys into a new land.
One such place is Linton Meadows, which I referred to in this Flyer article from April 8, 1999 as my own personal Shangri-La. I had been there for the first time in the summer of 1998.
Continue reading “Up in My Own Personal Shangri-La”
In the middle of a crazy travel time, in a land very foreign to my own, I found the Christmas spirit in a remarkable box from home.
Continue reading “A Far-Away Christmas and a Box From Home”
Funny how life seems to go in little circles. For example, lately I’ve been combing through the 250 or so travel stories I wrote for the Memphis Flyer before 2012. Why? First to preserve them, but also to share them, since in everything I have ever done, I imagined I would one day tell the story to an audience, even an imagined one. To me, it’s all interesting.
I never did know what the actual audience in the Flyer was. I know that the audience for these posts now is incredibly small; only a dozen or so people ever click on any one of them. So I’ve considered cutting off the project, because what’s the point? I do want to save all the pieces, and I might as well share the “good” ones, but why? Hell, why save them at all?
Continue reading “Travel Story: Old Friends on the Wall”
It’s funny to come across an old memory and recognize it as some kind of foreshadowing.
In 1991, I went to a football game at the University of Tennessee. The night before, in my hostel, I met an English fellow. I invited him to the game, then served as his Southern Culture Host for the day. The result, below, is one of my favorite of 250-something travel stories I wrote for the Memphis Flyer between 1996 and 2012.
Continue reading “Travel Story: On the Orange Side”