Monday, October 5, 2009


My dad has a theory that Facebook is killing communication. A theory which, ironically, he posted on Facebook. He posits that a Facebook post is a mere Cheeto in comparison to the robust meal of a blog entry. It's true - there are lots of things that I post on Facebook in a sentence or two that with some additional thought, time, and energy I could flesh out into a full-blown essay. Lately I've been running low on all three ingredients, hence the lack of posts lately. I decided to just skip blogging in September altogether - it looks better to have a month skipped than to have the blog archive read: September (1). That just looks pathetic. This way, maybe people will forget that there WAS a September. After all, if Parenting Front Line skipped September, maybe it was worth skipping.

Anywho, I am bowing to my father's wishes and resuming my blog, with no guarantees of frequency, length, or cleverness going forward. I was reading this New York Times blog entry today and it sparked some thoughts. The author has received a Traveling Poetry fellowship of some sort, which allows him to spend an entire year traveling outside of North America. My thoughts on the subject went like this:

1) Cool! I wanna do that!
2) How on earth do you decide where to go for an entire year of traveling??

I drove myself to the very brink of insanity trying to plan an itinerary for a mere three weeks in Europe last year. At least my parameters were smaller - I knew we were going to be in England and Paris for some amount of time; Ryan wanted to see Switzerland and we snuck in a few days in Milan. At the very least, I knew we couldn't go beyond Europe. But narrowing it down to those four cities nearly killed me. In choosing Milan, I had to give up Venice and Rome. Switzerland instead of Germany. What if I had to choose from the entire world? Is one year enough to see everything on my list?

I could divide it up chronologically, by taking the most interesting historical events and going to those locations. I like seeing old things. Egypt's pyramids and the Great Wall of China and cathedrals are all high on my list. Or, I could focus on natural wonders of the world - Mount Everest and rainforests and the Andes. Or I could skip the big cities altogether and focus on the small places, the authentic villages that have been unspoiled by tourists (that is, until I get there, I guess). Or, and I love this idea, I could travel gastronomically and eat my way around the world. Yes, I think that's my favorite. You can tell a lot about a country by what they eat.

So I guess what I'm saying is, sign me up. I would write a book about my year of traveling and the hook would be that of course I had to do it with my husband and four kids. Which means that all of my fantastic plans, my exquisitely detailed itinerary and travel-by-theme would go out the window, as the real goal would be how many bathrooms we can find in any given country. At the very last minute, naturally.

My question for you is, if you had a year to travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?


Madeline Johnson said...

I would NOT want to travel for an entire year. Having gone on several month long tours of various places around the world, I was always ready to come home for a while. I do have many places I would like to visit, however. I would like to visit Asia, Italy, Scandinavia, and Russia. And for me, the burden of having to write about the experience would be a huge turn off.

rachel said...

First of all, I agree with your Dad. Ever since Facebook took off, there are less people (that I know of) reading my blog and less people posting. It is a bit of a bummer.
As for traveling, assuming I had all the resources and info at my fingertips and someone else did all the planning, and these places were SAFE, I would love to go to Switzerland, Germany, Spain, England, Ireland, and Italy. I would also love to go to China, parts of Africa, Egypt, and Jerusalem. I would hit many tropical islands, and would see interesting parts of South America that I have only heard about. Oh, and I would really love to go to New Zealand. Seriously, the list is so long that I wouldn't even know where to start. :)

Drake Steel said...

As you quoted me correctly... I could not agree with you or me more! Thanks for the entry. As we have the time and opportunity to travel I like to have you or your mother research and go to one place at a time with a rest stop before doing it again. Like our trip last summer I wish we'd done one city then returned after a week. 2 weeks at hotels, hostels and euro camping is wearying. A week long trip, well researched by a wife, or daughter with kind of focused goals, every 3 months or so is my favorite scheme for traveling in Europe.

Bob said...

I agree with your dad, and would like to add that Face book, Blogs, e-mail TV, radio, newspapers, town criers, books, white boards, and chalk boards are just communication tools, and being just tools they need to be sharpened with use as they will grow dull over time. Original thought, or old thoughts arranged in new fashions keep the tools sharp. The great documents and stories of the antiquity were spoken before written, and once written the originals have been lost but the stories haven’t. The authors did care what medium they were presented in, just as long as they were presented. The tool doesn’t destroy the story the person responsible for sharpening the tool can destroy the story if they so choose. Keep telling your story, someone will understand it. Don’t put too much faith in a medium it is subject to change. The only medium that is universal is mathematics and it too has been added to over time, and is extremely difficult (if not impossible) to write human feelings and emotions in.
As for travel, the lands of the empires starting with the Romans, and ending with English and all others in-between, that should cover the globe. That is a tough question, someone could spend a lifetime in one city alone and not see everything it has to offer, and still not see another city. We traveled to Pompeii last year and found it unique because it presented the common person and how they lived 2000 years ago. The displays were items everyone used every day, egg poachers, colanders, fabric from a tunic (it was blacken from the heat but you could see the weave in the material), rope, building tools, writing elements, storage jars counter tops, painting on the walls graffiti, fresh water piped from lead pipes (still works today but don’t drink from it) sewer system, and stepping stones, ovens for baking, temples for worship tools for government, casts of people and animals, ect, ect, and Pompeii is only half excavated.


I am glad you are back at blogging!! A whole year! How fun! I agree with Rachel...I wouldn't even know where to start!! Maybe Prince Edward Island and work my way east, and then south, then zig zag my way down til I hit South Africa?!

Luisa said...

I think I would not go into depth and try to hit as many places as I could. That's typical of me!

hdknowles said...

Maybe you could come with us in January - Barcelona, Rome, Athens, Euphesus, Cairo, Alexandria Malta and back to Barcelona - more research for your upcoming book. Find someone to watch the kids for 12 days - now wouldn't that be simple.