These things I’ve left behind are unnameable.
They are feelings
and glances around corners
and sweeps of wind
and moments of laughter.
They are sand beneath my feet
and the people next to me
as I dug in my toes.
They are city lights
who burn in
one state or another.
They are places I’ll roam
trying to replicate
but never duplicate.
Favorite Fridays, pt. 2
Favorite Fridays! Todays feature: destinations!
> Amsterdam, Netherlands. Don’t roll your eyes at me. Don’t go, “oh, gee. How typical. A twenty-something who enjoys partying loves Amsterdam. How shocking.” Don’t you do that, because my love for the city of Amsterdam had absolutely nothing to do with legalized marijuana. Amsterdam was one of the most creatively alive cities I’ve ever been too (which, ok, might be a product the pot) as well as one of the most beautiful. The canals and houseboats are charming and quaint, the row-homes gorgeous. The occupants had their own style which each pulled off effortlessly. What really did it for me, though, was when I looked inside a row home and saw a tree growing through the middle of it. Underneath? A man practicing karate. In full garb. I have the feeling that is only something I would have seen there, and it reaffirmed my feel that in that city, you could turn a corner and never know what type of gem you’ll run into.
> Charleston, South Carolina. This city is every romantic notion you have of the Southeastern coast. The oaks, the dripping moss, the columned porches on lavish mansions. It’s everything the old money South can be - historic, regal, charming. But it’s also infused with a youthful culture of trendy bars, shops and restaurants that make it very well rounded for any traveler; satisfy your inner nerd with Civil War knowledge during the day, indulge your inner foodie and lush at night. I fell in love with the city simply walking it’s streets, finding my way into hidden gardens and taken secret ivy grown alleyways. Oh yeah and… she-crab soup. Mmm.
Holiday Travel Secrets
By Carly Yansak
“Where are you flying into?”
“Atlanta to Philadelphia,” I reply. This has apparently made me some type of travel expert:
“Oh! Well, can you help me for a minute? Do you know why my ticket says this?”
I stare blankly at her for a moment – it’s 4 a.m. Blank is the only expression I can muster, though what I really want to convey is malice.
“I don’t even know where Panama City is,” she continues, “how could I have a lay over in it?”
“It’s in Florida…” I offer. It’s all I’ve got.
Holiday travel - it’s the worst part of the season - we all know it. It causes sane people to ask insane questions, it makes us want to get out of the car and drag that motherfucker out of his so we can beat him unconscious, and it’s always tempting you to stab that flight attendant, whose hit you with the beverage cart three times now, with the nail file you snuck on.
It’s okay. It’s normal - there’s a general feeling of angst accompanying holiday traveling. We’re all moving towards family dramas, pasts we’ve left behind, places we swore we’d never go back to. After your fifth Bloody Mary in some nameless chain in some generic terminal, you’re wondering: what will they think of me, of my life? How will they judge me? And what will I think of them, of their lives? How will I judge them?
The stress of it all, it twists us up. Then, throw our contorted minds onto a crowded highway, airport or bus terminal and man, is it over. Those repressed feelings have found their outlet.
And you know what? This, I have discovered, is good.
If you unleash your holiday crazy on strangers instead of loved ones, your holiday is bound to be much more pleasant. The strangers will make it easy to do so, too.They will test your patience, try your kindness and absolutely fuck with your sanity.
Luckily, after years of traveling through some of the worst airports (aka, PHL), and braving some of the worst traffic (aka, I-95) I have reached a state of enlightenment. I have found the perfect way to untangle my anxiety and make my holiday traveling easier at the same time. This philosophy is my gift to you, my fellow weary travelers:
Remember you are always right. I should have offered this gem to Ms. Panama City. For a FACT, you know when you booked the flight there was no 7-hour lay over in Wichita Falls. Never mind the empty wine bottle next to your keyboard when you did it, there’s just no way, and don’t let that know-it-all Delta counter girl tell you anything less. If you wear your confidence like chainmail, begin demanding to see supervisors and threatening to Yelp a review that would cause bankruptcy, they will cave. Which leads me to my next point of advice:
- Become a bigger problem then they care to deal with. It’s Christmas Eve, and there is a line longer than Bon Jovi’s sexual conquests behind you. The last thing this single mother of 5 children wants to do is keep dealing with you, a person that could halt the line for the next hour. Repeat profanity, job-on-the-line remarks and over the top demands are not excessive, they’re necessary.
- Use positive visualization. No matter what situation, this tactic is bound to sooth the fiery soul. Stuck behind that guy going 15 in a 35 because he drank too much eggnog? Imagine his tire blows out, causing him to spin uncontrollably and then, shit, he’s way too acquainted with that tree. Woman in the seat next to you talking about her bunions far too loud? Picture wrapping your headphones around her neck ‘til oh, look, she can’t speak because her esophagus is crushed.
- Medicate. There is nothing wrong with Xanax if the “doctor” prescribes it (I’m your doctor).
- Never forget what lies ahead. Presents. At the end of all this, you get presents. Glorious, glorious gifts that even if they do suck, you can return them for cash and buy what you’d really like.
They are tactics that, all in one, release my inner frustration all while clearing a path to the gate wider then your Aunt Mildred’s waistline. After these emotional spa sessions, you’ll be unwound, purged. You’ll find it doesn’t matter how everyone will judge you or how you’ll judge them. All that will matter is you arrived, and the people who are there to welcome you – well, they aren’t so bad.
Misdirection is Direction.
I envy people who have always had a dream - something that has resonated through their bones and called to them from the universe beyond. You hear those stories about the make up artist who would break in her Mothers room and paint her face brilliant shades, or the policeman who would go around giving people fake tickets with his little notepad.
But me? I had abstract hobbies. Those one’s you can’t commit into something tangible. I read like a nerd and made beanie babies talk to each other. What the fuck does that turn into? A children’s show host?
I used to enter (and win, thank you very much) little creative contests. I’d write cruedly put together essays or photograph my dogs in costumes, yet somehow I don’t see that as my foreshadowing to a Pulitzer.
I envy the dreamers’ sense of direction. I look down and see four million arrows sticking out under my feet, each pointing to a different horizon; they look down and see one arrow, one horizon. They take one calculated step after another towards the clear figure in the distance, and I stumble like a mad woman towards an obscurity of a mirage.
The ironic thing is my only sense of direction is to go in all directions. I crave adventure. I’m dying to see as much of the world as I can possibly take in. I give some of this credit to an Aunt of mine who travels the world in wide, Goliath steps. When I was seven she began sending me post cards, each one a small photograph of my fantasy. Up onto a huge world map a sticker dot would mark their origins, and underneath it’s shadow I’d pour over the post cards, astrally projecting myself to streets of Paris and peaks of the Alps, trying to imagine my perfect sense of wonderment as I turned each new corner.
So far, misdirection has taken me in the right direction. I’ve lived in a place like this:
Have seen places like this:
And now, go on to live in one like this:
My quest is over. My next home has been marked. T-minus 38 days, and my urgency for flight will have me touching down in another frontier. One so foreign to me that my mind drools over the thought of such new material it shall gather. Yes, off I go…