07 March, 2015

Beginning in the middle...

A little over year ago, shortly after my father died, his very talented friend/fellow blogger Janine Ripper asked me if I wanted to join his blogging circle, Personal Bloggers Are Us (check out a mostly updated list of member blogs here).

At the time, I only knew a few things about the group: that my dad would occasionally forward posts that particularly spoke to him; that for Christmas last year, he had given me a hilarious book called Rock the Kasbah: A Memoir of Misadventure, which one of the members, Marie Loerzel, had written based on her blog; and that many PBAU members had written eloquent and profoundly moving tributes to him and his impact on their lives and writing.

So of course, I said yes - I always say yes - but the trouble was, I didn't have a very active blogging life. True, I did own a lot of blog names - I was better at thinking of cool and/or witty titles that cryptically referenced medicine, or were based on song lyrics and Italo Calvino quotes, than actually writing about my experiences. Cases in point: Altered Sensorium, Wernicke's Aphasia, Girl Contemplating Infinity on a Desk Chair, A Luscious Mix of Words and Tricks, etc. And in March 2013, I had started a cooking blog called The Wooden Spoon, but it was less about blogging than about using my imagined audience to motivate myself to better record family recipes. Writing down a family cookbook, illustrating it with family photos and beautiful shots of food, and eventually printing and binding it for all of my cousins had been a dream for years. The blog finally got the ball rolling, and I figured, even if it took me another 10 years to create a book, at least I was getting the recipes down before they were lost for good.

One thing led to another, and I finally found the right place to put all (okay, some) of the words that were always tumbling around my head - right here, on my dad's blog. 

A few months ago, Janine asked if I had any interest in writing for an intriguing new travel social media site, called Jummp. Coincidentally, I just entered the period that I think of as "The Least I Have Traveled." For the past 16 years, I had lived all over the world, and never closer than a six-hour drive from my hometown (and that was for a brief year only). For those 16 years, nearly every holiday and every vacation longer than a three-day weekend was kicked off in an airport. (I got to be really, really fond of Vino Volo.) In a record eight weeks in 2013, I took 12 flights with my then-one-year old son (including taking him to Guatemala, which I wrote about here). 

Last summer, I moved back to my hometown, and after making one last trip to Colorado for a conference, I realized that - drumroll, please - I didn't want to fly. This was shocking. I love to fly. I really do. It took two and a half years of near-monthly air travel with an infant/toddler before I stopped loving it and genuinely needed a break. So for much of this (academic) year, I have not and will not be getting a plane. I've been on short trips, both work and social, to Lake George, D.C., New York, and Philadelphia, and I'm headed to Stowe to ski in a couple weeks...but I have not set foot in an airport since August 2, 2014. That is crazy to me! I am stunned that I've found it more relaxing than claustrophobic!

I hope it will turn out to have been a much needed break - like a fast, almost - before jumping back in and going to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland for the first time this summer. 

Anyway - I've digressed again - I didn't have anything upcoming/current to write about for Jummp, but I found myself thinking about some of my most memorable trips and I ended up writing a memoir-ish essay about a road trip I took around Iceland in 2007. 

And - oh yeah - you can now read all about it here!

When I originally submitted the essay, I didn't have a digital version of the picture of the cave, Grjótagjá...