The experience of a lifetime

As a young woman, I never had any interest in backpacking through Europe. If you had offered me the chance, I would have declined on two counts: my excessive need for cleanliness and my lack of a third or fourth language. Knowing college level Spanish would have been useless on such a trip.


Lest you have the wrong impression of me, I am an outdoorswoman of some skill, an experienced camper until age and a bad back stopped me. I strap on a hydration system and hike up mountains in the Smokies and New Hampshire, battling outdoor allergies and weak ankles, but soldiering on. My favorite places are Yosemite and the Shenandoah Valley. I have an extensive collection of waterfall photographs, and I will kill myself to find the best vantage point for the shot.


So you will not be surprised to hear that I am going on an adventure, one that I’ve been wanting to do for most of my adult life. I am going to drive across the country at my own pace, alone.


Before you assume I’m crazy, keep in mind that my parents have done it three times in the past four years. Nothing bad happened to them, they never felt as if they were not safe and they are in their 70s. A middle-aged woman, not particularly attractive, wearing old, inexpensive clothes, should not draw negative attention. Being alert to my surroundings should keep me safe, not to mention that I can kick the shit out of you if I have to.


I read that travel writing requires traveling alone. That seems right to me; when writing about your experiences, it is counterproductive to filter them through the perceptions of another. Clarity is the victim. It’s hard enough to translate feelings and ideas into prose, without worrying about what someone else is thinking.


I’m going to blog about this trip, itself a solitary experience if nobody posts comments.  Since my computer has a webcam, with any luck I can figure out how to post video of myself talking about the day’s experiences.  Pictures are a given.  Wish me some technological luck, and of course, safe journey.

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