Thursday, December 17, 2015

Are You a Travel Addict?

Are You a Travel Addict?:  A Diagnostic Test

It seems these days everyone is addicted to something.  Sugar, shopping, coffee, crossfit and social media included.  That, of course, is in addition to the other more obvious addictions out there.  Don’t have any of them?  Have you ever considered you may have a travel addiction?   Take this quick test to find out.

  1. Is your screen saver a photo of a travel destination?
  2. Do you spend more than an hour a week visiting discount travel websites and/or reading travel magazines and/or blogs?
  3. Do you enter on-line sweepstakes to win dream vacations knowing all you’re likely to win is an e-mail spamming?  
  4. At work do you find yourself lying on the floor sunbathing in the sunshine streaming in the window daydreaming about Hawaii?
  5. How about a crush on Anthony Bourdain?
  6. Do you put off important home improvement projects in order to save money for travel?
  7. When you’re at a party do you always have a fascinating travel story to share?  e.g. “This one time, when I was in New Orleans....”
  8. Is your house decorated with souvenirs from your travels?  And/or World Market's entire collection.  (I'd say Pier One, but we all know that's too expensive and it'd be cheaper to travel to Indonesia to get that coffee table and export it yourself.)
  9. Do you know your preferred seat on different types of aircrafts and reserve it early?  Also, do you know how to reserve early?  And order a special vegan meal for the flight?    
  10. Do you ignore the flight attendant safety spiel and/or video because you already know it by heart?  Or because you've already fallen asleep with your travel neck pillow on?
  11. On travel day do you purposely wear slide off shoes and wear your one unholey pair of socks for TSA efficiency and to avoid embarrassment? 
  12.  Have you chosen your next travel destination before you’ve even arrived back home      from your current one?  
  13.  Is your favorite book series Lonely Planet?  Or is it Fodors?  
  14.  Is your DVR filled with programs from the Travel and National Geographic channels?
  15.  Do you have a penchant for globes and maps? 
  16.  Do you use the credit card that accumulates the most thank you points to redeem for free airfare?
  17. Can you pack your luggage to go anywhere in the world in less than 15 minutes flat?  
  18. Do you use the word 'travel' as a verb more than a noun?  
  19. For your birthday or Christmas would you rather go somewhere with friends or family than receive a gift?
  20. Are you currently reading this on a plane, a train or in the car?  (Please don’t read and drive.)

If you answered yes to 11 or more of these questions, you may be a travel addict. I know because I too am hopelessly addicted to travel.  What can you do to cure this condition?  I have no idea.  Why would you even want to anyway?  I’ll let you get back to googling the Maldives now.  Wherever your addiction, I mean adventure, takes you,  Bon Voyage!

ADDENDUM:  I'll be taking a blogging break for a few weeks to feed my own travel addiction.  I'll be back in the new year with lots of new misadventures to share.  Peace.  ~Marie

Sunday, December 13, 2015


Photo courtesy of

It was my 16th birthday, the day every teenager dreams of.  I'd finally be behind the wheel by myself without my instructor, completely on my own.  But not in a car, because I hadn't driven one yet.   This was to be my first solo flight in a plane with me as the pilot.  But because of a crosswind, I'd have to wait until the following day to fly.  Alone.

Like most teenagers, I lacked confidence, but on top of that, I was painfully shy and a certified, card carrying people pleaser.  And the person I wanted to please most was my dad.  He, of course, was a pilot.  Plus being a pilot sounded adventurous, and if anything appealed to me, adventure did.  So, I knew I had to do it.  But first I needed the money.  So, I applied for and won a flight scholarship to pay for the instructor, rental of the plane and fuel.   

Turns out, I was a natural.  

On the ground I was insecure and anxious.  But, in the air I was confident and fearless.  The most nerve wracking part was talking to my instructor because of my social anxiety.   With a mere 8 hours of flight time, my instructor deemed me ready to fly on my own.  Not only did I feel ready, but I was relieved not to have to make conversation with anyone other than the control tower.  And that required only the most minimal, concise and factual communication.  I could do this.  

When the day came with my mom and instructor watching from a window in the small airport of my hometown, I conducted the preflight and taxied out to the runway and took off, gingerly pulling the nose up, the wheels leaving the ground.  That's when the stall siren in the Cessna broke the silence warning me of imminent danger.  And a weird thing happened.  Nothing.  I didn't second guess myself.  I didn't radio anyone to mention the malfunction.  Because for the first time in my life, I trusted me.  I wasn't in a stall,  my flying was text book and I figured the indicator must be broken.  I flew the flight pattern three times around the airport as was required, with a siren blaring at me the entire time.  Before I brought it down for the perfect landing.  

I'd never been proud of anything I'd done up until that moment.  

And that's why what happened next may seem out of the blue.  I quit.  Not because the money had run out, although it had.  But because it wasn't my passion.  I knew I could've gone on to get my pilot's license, but I also knew that I didn't love it.  And I knew doing it simply to make someone else proud of me wasn't reason enough for me to continue.  I didn't need to prove anything to anyone else.  I needed to give it up to find myself.  Because I'm brave.  

Thursday, December 10, 2015


I found a spot in the back row and pushed down the wooden auditorium style seat at my daughter's gymnastics class and settled in.  Fetching my reading glasses from my purse before tucking it under my seat and out of the way.  I ran my fingertips over the smooth, stiff cover of my new paperback and then gingerly opened it so as not to crack the binding.  I'd anticipated this moment all day long.

That's when it was ruined, by some asshole kid.

He came out of nowhere on my right hand side and instead of saying "excuse me", he hopped over my crossed legs.  (See above photographic evidence.)  And if it wasn't enough to have one 9 year old asshole kid, he was quickly followed by his 11 year old brother.   Then they proceeded to sit down next to me on my left hand side.  But only after flicking their seats up and down about a hundred times first.  After which they began playing cards with each other, before they started throwing the cards under the front row seats.   Which preceded my personal favorite,  the impromptu seated wrestling match.    

Which asshole was their parent?

When I looked around, I found their mom right away.  She was sitting in the first row on her laptop, furiously typing away messaging three different people on Facebook.  Ok, you could say I'm an asshole for reading over her shoulder, but you know you'd do the same.  Especially when she birthed two rambunctious assholes.  I mean really?  She deserved it.   Plus, she was stupid enough to sit in the front row so everyone could see what she was reading.  Which is like having a private conversation really loudly on your phone while in line at the grocery store.  Things done openly in public, cease to be private.  And doing things publicly expecting privacy solidifies your status as an asshole.  

  Assholes are everywhere.

And just when you think you've had your quota of assholes and their assholeness, that's when another one walks in.  Enter the well coiffed, mature lady who took the seat to my right.  Maybe she'd give the boys a stern glare to put them in their place, because obviously I was way too involved in my book to take care of the problem myself.   Anyone in that crowded little room could clearly see that.  But, about 30 seconds after she sat down, her old lady perfume, that she must have bathed in, caught up with her and assaulted my nose and then my throat, because I swear I could taste it.  And it tasted like pressed, antiqued embroidered table linens.  

That's when the asshole kids made their move.

To their dad, who wasn't even on my radar.  He was just sitting in the first row on the edge of his seat, elbows propped on his legs, eagerly watching his daughter spin, twirl and flip.  He didn't have the distractions of social media, a book and wasn't abusing Drakkar Noir.  At least to my knowledge on the latter,  I wasn't close enough to actually confirm that.  And here I was,  engrossed in diagnosing assholes and waiting for the ensuing drama of the shit show to watch my own daughter. 

Who's the asshole now?
I am.

ADDENDUM:   I highly recommend the book, Assholes:  A Theory by Aaron James, and who doesn't love to read about assholes? Assholes, that's who.  Don't be an asshole.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Private Property

I have three teenagers and a tween who thinks she's a teenager, so there is nothing more prized in our house than privacy.  Stepping into one of my kids' rooms without permission, is like crossing the 38th parallel or invading the Gaza Strip.  Don't do it!  Plus, their rooms smell like rotting socks and are scattered with candy wrappers and a bizarre assortment of other garbage that fell out of their hands and landed there because putting it in the trash is too laborious.  Not to mention the landmines comprised of dirty clothes that didn't make it into the hamper.

What more deterrent does one need to keep out?

Even with all the individual coveting of personal privacy and the unintentional preventative measures to ensure they're respected, there are still occasional battles waged in our house over property rights.  Undercover tactical maneuvers carried out to recover items one kid claims is rightly his or hers, which therefore gives them the right trample someone else's rights in order to reclaim it.  

Does this sound like the Middle East to you like it does to me?

That's what my house is like.  Unless it's more like a Siberian Gulag.  Because while my kids occassionally do have some respect for each other's things and space,  this is a luxury I'm not afforded.  Ever.  What's theirs is theirs and what's mine is theirs too.  They rummage through my closet and borrow things (ok, steal them cause they don't get returned), read letters from my pen pal and text messages on my phone, find and deplete my secret chocolate stash.  And I didn't even mention raiding my purse.  Who holds the purse strings?  They do.  And they probably broke them and you'll have to buy yourself a new purse because they aren't delicate rummagers.  

Apparently, the cost of parenthood is privacy. 
Not to mention college tuition and your sanity.  

Thursday, December 3, 2015


All my kids love to play this fun game called What if.  And they play it all day, every day.  Imagining and dreaming about the possibilities the world has to offer.  I suppose when I was young, naive, full of hope and utterly delusional, I used to do the same thing.  Because I bought the above pictured book several years ago, spending my hard earned money back when I actually earned a paycheck to play the game of life by someone else's rules.

But that was before I was old, bitter, discouraged and distrustful.  So, essentially, before I was a realist.  

My kids know of my absolute hatred of this game, but they want to play it with me anyhow.  Because again, they are young, naive and hopeful.   Which in a way I'm envious of and in another way, I can't wait until they go out into the real world and realize what a shit show it is.  And realize that they'll never be the President of the United States.  Not even a chance.  Mostly because they were born in Russia.  Although, they could work to change that, but how exhausting would that be?  Just thinking about it makes me tired.  


...adulting wasn't constant what if-ing, maybe it would be fun again.   But, I get to play the real life version of what-if every day.  What if...I forget to pay the health insurance bill and then one of my kids takes the dogs out for a walk on a snowy day and the dogs, Clyde and Bonnie, chase the UPS truck down the middle of the street and my kid is skiing behind  them, hits a speed bump and knocks out their teeth.  The very teeth I've spent a fortune on and then the car behind my kid can't stop because of the ice on the road and runs over said kid's fingers.  Then Clyde, because they kinda look like sausages, eats the detached fingers.  Then we have to get them surgically removed from his stomach to get them reattached to my kid's hand. Then there's the dentures.  Then, the stay over night in the ICU because of the concussion. Then because of the lack of insurance, the medical/vet bills and before you know it, we're homeless.

Seriously, what if?

While it sounds ridiculous,  you know as an adult that you've heard crazier stories that were completely true.  And that anything can happen at any moment.  Like I could someday find that If... book that my oldest read and promptly lost.  But I think we all know that that's highly unlikely.  As is them stopping from playing the game anytime soon.  And maybe that's a good thing.  


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