Monday, July 21, 2008

A New Journey

"My thoughts jump around like a monkey."

The first time I heard that, I was sitting in Gambrell Hall at the University of South Carolina. My best friend and roommate Katie was taking a religious studies class, and as a course requirement she had to sit through some panel discussion. Like a sucker, I went with her (as she had often suffered with me through organ and trombone recitals). The Hindu representative was caught completely off-guard by a question, and after struggling with an answer that's the best he could deliver. I don't remember the question or anything else from that panel discussion, but I loved the image of little monkeys jumping around, creating total mayhem in the guy's head.

I've got me some monkeys right now.

I love to write, and I have always been working on something, even when it was just for my own eyes. I have a diary that dates back to fourth grade. I have poetry and song lyrics, most of them awful, from high school and college. The interest in the diary petered out in 2002 when I started my first blog, and I have been posting on and off ever since.

My other huge interest, aside from music, has always been travel. My old bachelorette blog, What's Brewin', chronicled lots of my trips like day-hikes near Asheville and a weeklong cruise to Alaska. I even did a separate blog for my Europe trip. I love to travel, I love to write about travel, and I love learning about other people's travels. The travel-writing community has increasingly become the place I want to call home.

The big question has been how do I go about this?! Am I even a good writer? No one reads this blog, so my knee-jerk answer is "No." But dang I love it. I have two college degrees, both in music education, and all my post-college work experience has been of the same breed. I know it will be a ton of work to learn the ropes, make contacts, and try to get good at this stuff. And yet it still keeps calling me. Usually when I get a risky idea, I begin to realize the consequences and suddenly it no longer sounds that appealing. (Veterinary tech school sounded awesome. Until I realized I had to perform a castration and anal excretion exam. Back to the violin I go!)

This time I can't talk myself out of it, and honestly I've tried. The low pay, the crazy schedules, the hassles that come with all just sounds exhilirating and challenging rather than frustrating and profit-less. I think I really want to do this. The only big mystery left is my ability.

So I've taken some baby steps. I enrolled in a travel writing course, I've read two books about the profession's ups and downs, and I started writing some "real" stuff on a couple of travel webpages. If I try and fail, I'll be very disappointed but I'll live. If I don't even attempt something new, I'm setting myself up for an adventure-less life.

So here goes a new adventure. Wish me luck...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

It And It Jr.

I've never been one of those people who was afraid of clowns. I never particularly liked them, but I wasn't afraid of them.

Until now.

This just freaks me out.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

In My Own Backyard

I opened my mail yesterday, thrilled to discover that I received my new and improved passport. Immediately my travel bug began biting me again, and I spent the greater part of a Saturday night sniffing around for airfare deals, European rail passes, and travel writing information.

This morning I woke up in a more realistic state (Florida), reminding myself that the Euro is outrageous, airfare is skyrocketing, and I live in a pretty cool place that I have barely begun to explore. So Europe will have to wait a little while longer. In the meantime, I should slow down and enjoy my homeland.

Here are some pictures from Bok Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is built in the very rural community of Lake Wales, Florida. You probably haven't heard of Lake Wales unless you're from this area. Aside from the sanctuary belltower, the town's other claims to fame are Spook Hill--a haunted hill where your car will allegedly drive upwards when in neutral gear--and the visitor's center for Florida's Natural Orange Juice. There is also a lake, Lake Wailes. And yes, I spelled that way on purpose.

Once inside the sanctuary, the quirkiness of Lake Wales fades away and you're left with singing birds, brightly colored flowers, carpets of green grass, and majestic oaks decorated with Spanish moss. It's a lovely place, and unless you brought a screaming baby or a cranky grandparent I don't know how you would not find yourself completely at peace. The cloudy skies took some of the color out of the scenery during my visit, and it still remained beautiful. I would love to return in late February or early March when the spring flowers are blooming.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Lesson in Karma

Several weeks ago, my husband left the house for a quick breakfast run. He reappeared only a minute later, looking sad and dejected. I went outside with him.

His car was covered in bird crap. We had never seen anything like it; it was as if they had poopball guns or something, sat on the telephone wire above our driveway, and shot target practice for hours.

Like a good, supportive wife, I was amused and cackled for at least ten minutes. It wasn't my car, ha ha ha!!!

Fast-forward to last week. During our lunch at Kennedy Space Center, I sat alone at a picnic table while Marc walked away to take a phone call. Almost as soon as he left--they were looking out for him!--a large gull let one rip and it landed within inches of both my arm and my meatball sub. Needless to say I was uncomfortable finishing my sandwich, and Marc was tickled when he returned and saw the fun he had missed.

I thought that was it. The birdies got their revenge, we were even, life goes on.

Saturday I played a very elegant beach wedding in Clearwater. The guys wore suits, the girls wore long flowy dresses, and it was a lovely affair. And there I was, the refined violinist, in her dressy black and heels. A hundred guests, a professional photographer, and a videographer all looking on as I played the meditation music.

I never saw the bird, but I'm sure he looked pretty smug as he flew away.