Monday, February 2, 2009

Looking Forward

I find myself walking home from the Ossington subway station in Toronto, Canada. Slung over my shoulder is a lotto 649 / Toronto Blue Jays golf bag won months ago at the Rogers Centre. The contest? To be the fan of the game. I had to be louder and more obnoxious than twenty five thousand other people. From the onset there was no question that the prize would be mine.

As I pass Black Belt World a scrolling red L.E.D. sign flashes the message "Take control of your life today!!!" The three exclamation points really attempt to send home the message, however as a high school English teacher all I can think is: One or None. That's the rule. Still, the message sticks with me. While I think the personified marquee, constantly informing with its cold illumination, wanted me to enroll in its lessons and two aye em practice sessions, I nevertheless will take control of my life today![!!]

My bag's strap digs into my right shoulder, weighed down by my night's purchase. Five travel books. A closer inspection would reveal two from National Geographic: Japan and Hong Kong. There is also a Fodor's Thailand, a Rough Guide to Paris, and Let's Go: Europe on a Budget.

While Thomas Kohnstamm's Do Travel Writers go to Hell? has taught me never to view Travel Guides as any sort of definitive text, they are always my initial starting point. And with the Toronto store B.M.V. (Books, Music, and Video) located at both Dundas Square and on Bloor Street they are more than affordable. I never have to pay more than ten dollars for a guide book.

My plans were set in motion a month ago, but they're only now starting to race forward. My biggest worry, since Mulako helped me solve my Zambian issues, is obtaining a Kenyan visa - but there's no reason to worry about that now. Not while cheap give-away-quality plastic nylon straps cut into me. Right now all I can think about is getting home, and adding the books to my shelf for future reading and planning.

I wish there was a way that I could think of anything other than travel, but it doesn't seem possible.

I keep hearing about the travel bug, and how once it bites you, that's it, you're done for; once it bites you, you will forever be consumed. If I could, I might try to avoid it, but unfortunately that course of action would do nothing. You see, I've been previously bitten.


  1. Go! Go travel! While you're young, while you're able! What did Mark Twain say? Years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did nt do than by the ones you DID do.

    By the way, I'm from Toronto, too.

  2. Oh gosh, please don't think that the world of travel writing resembles anything like Thomas Kohnstamm depicts in his godawful book of pure fantasy. I forced myself to read that trash - couldn't finish it - but trust me, the lives of the majority of 'professional' (something Thomas K wasn't) travel writers is very very different. There a trillion reasons he didn't make a success of it, all outlined in his book. But most of us - and you need to trust me on this, I've written around 40 guidebooks for half a dozen of the world's most respected publishers, and I know writers who've been doing this for 20 years or more - do NOT work like Kohnstamm and we take our work seriously.

    What's really important though as far as using guidebooks is to make sure you're always using the most recent addition. If you're using something that's more than a few years old it's bound to be out of date. The only thing that can probably be trusted in it is the history section.

    Love your attitude though, and love the concept of the blog! Go for it!

  3. I love the last two paragraphs of this post, and they literally sent shivers down my spine as I can totally relate.

    I can't wait to follow you on your trip (um, through your blog, I mean, not in a crazy stalker way!)


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