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Her narrative essays have appeared in the travel anthologies A Womana€™s Europe, published by Travelers Tales, 2004, and Go Your Own Way: Women Travel the World Solo published by Seal Press, 2007. Step Two) I found a travel writing workshop in Marin County near San Francisco and signed up. Little did I know that the editor was new himself and was looking to expand his stable of writers. He laughed and said, "If you want to get ahead in this business you have to put yourself out there." Words to remember. You'd think he would have given up on me by then, but he told me to send him something else. Mark's no longer the travel editor (so I'm afraid you can't follow my lead) but his advice to put yourself out there still applies. The sad thing was that I was invited to cover the trip, but due to editorial considerations I had to turn it down. In the evening we went up the mountain by Gondola for a reception and were greeted by Miss Blackcomb and Miss Whistler in ball gowns imprinted with maps. Elkridge Lodge A in northern Saskatchewan than back to SaskatoonA - this is my current sched.
Tomorrow it's up to Elkride Lodge where I will a) get a facial b) do something called a Bog Walk through the forest and c) go horseback riding.
Montegrotto, Italy - Ita€™s taken awhile but Ia€™ve finally found the sacred lake - at least the former site of it. Sitting on a mossy stone bench I pick up a stick, tempted to dig into the cracked dry soil where a number of votive offerings like tiny bronze horses and chalices have been found.
The next morning I enter a tiled treatment room in my hotel wondering if the ancient Venetians ever wallowed in mud. Fangotherapy, or mud treatments, are the keystone of the regiona€™s spas, offered at more than 100 hotels in Montegrotto and its larger sister spa, Abano. In the afternoon I consider taking the train into Padua, 11 km away, but Montegrotto is weaving its spell on me and I end up lounging by the pool. At the Hotel Neroniane a row of weathered columns stands spot lit in the garden a€“ a legacy of the Romans who eventually (and peacefully) mixed with the Venetians and dedicated the area to Aponus, god of the springs. By then Montegrotto was more spa resort than holy site, but there were still some otherworldly figures around. Before Lana gave birth to Hugh Jackman, the plan was that Grace was going to drop her car off at my house, and we would take her to the airport so she could attend Lana's baby shower planned for the next day. She pulls the people out of the car, assesses their health, calls 911, waits for police and ambulance, and leaves. Situation 3: While my apex of terror is science fiction, Grace's are haunted houses and horror movies. Part of the fun of Haunted Houses is thinking that what you're seeing is real, so you are in the moment. But there's always that one person in line for the joint that the monsters seek out because they are especially afraid. Grace is shaking in terror while she tries to find her way out of a blackened room where a man is trying to scare her.
Grace turns and bitch-punches the monster as hard as she possibly can, disabling him for her escape. Or, more accurately, Grace, who is in the fetal position against a wall, screaming, "PLEASEDON'THURTME," again and again while the rest of us are laughing too hard to save her. Grace and Lana (one of my cousins and the mother of Hugh Jackman) are being chased through a darkened maze by a man with a chainsaw.
Lana had turned to look to see where the Chainsaw Madman was, but kept running as she did so. Do they buy cleanup plans at Acme?I mean, jeez, I'm no engineer, but are we really throwing tires and mud at a gigantic pipeline?
The summer of my 7th grade year, my Ma and Stepdad decided to fuck up a vacation by going round trip from South Dakota to New Mexico with all four of us and my Ma's terrier.
To make it even better, we went in a 4 bedroom, one bath, 400 square foot hellhole dubbed The Widowmaker.
South Dakota is like God's little joke on America, with it's vast plains of WHERE THE HELL ARE WE. 2) The Rootin' Tootin' Cowboy Salootin' Dinner Show--Oh, how I wish I were just dicking around about this one.
So then, to really round out the fuckery, we moseyed on down to The Land of Enchantment--New Mexico (henceforth The Land of Broken Dreams).


I got chased through a thornbush thicket by a band of rogue deer while wearing a wetsuit carrying flippers and a Sonic Size Dr.
Me: "Fine until I caught an edge on a root, flipped in the air a couple times, then landed on my elbow and punched myself in the ribs during the dismount.
He does it simply because he knows they piss me the hell off, and I'll spend all day brewing about how much that one song makes me want to light children aflame, until I finally start singing it in my head and kind of enjoying it, in which he'll promptly switch to a new one. Lana also may or may not have made an innocent comment about her cervix on Facebook a week ago, to which Grace and I promptly reacted with a warning--only 3 cervical posts without a report to STFUParents.I set a trap. She writes a column at the Toronto Star, Canadaa€™s biggest-circulation newspaper on solo travel.
Louis Post Dispatch, New Orleans Times-Picayune, New Hampshire Union Leader Post, the Halifax Chronicle Herald, Vancouver Sun and St. James Miller was myA grumpy brilliant teacher and to this day I haven't had a more insightful workshop leader, except maybe Philip Lopate.
As soon as I got back home I sent him the two pieces that I'd already had published (see yesterday's post), one on rock climbing that I'd sold to NOW Magazine and one on a German spa that by now, I'd sold to both the San Francisco Chronicle and NOW. At 30,000 feet passengers can expect matchmaking advice from ABCa€™s The Bachelor, Jason Mesnick and girlfriend Molly Malaney, complimentary party packs, an open bar, speed dating and other games, before ita€™s lights out for a full eight hours of beauty sleep.
Please feel free to take a look and upload your own profile, or a frienda€™s if you think they need some help! A There were a lot of us, so I joined the pokey group of fearful cyclists, but it turns out we weren't so bad and ended up merging with the rest of them. I would rather go to Fernie, BC for any other reason than a funeral, but that's why I'm here. It wouldn't be so bad if I were a better packer, but I'm carrying far too much stuff and everytime I open my suitcase it explodes like a microwaved baked potato. Bubbling hot and vaporous, set in a wild marshy forest at the bottom of Monte Castello, it was a place of mystery to the ancient Venetians, a holy site devoted to the cult of the horse.
Maybe several millennia ago it was a sanctuary a€“ now ita€™s the grounds of the Hotel Preistoriche in the Italian spa town of Montegrotto, 45 km from Venice. If this were still the 8th century BC Ia€™d be up to my ears in magical rites and sacrifices instead of a weeka€™s worth of spa treatments, and the accommodations wouldna€™t be nearly as comfy as my 5-star hotel, the Grand Hotel Terme, down the street but I cana€™t help thinking something has been lost. Travelling down from the Lower Dolomites it takes a 25-year underground journey, soaking up mineral salts before gushing out at a temperature of 87C. Finally at dusk I rouse myself, wandering through the towna€™s boutiques and then, because Ia€™m nosy, into the various hotels. Therea€™s a lot going on under here: roiling water, prophesizing gods, Roman relics and offerings to the cult of the horse.
Your hands are branches reaching into the sky,a€? says Christine, my massage therapist, her pale hair gleaming in the soft light. Energy therapies - treatments which work with energy fields in and around the body to remove blockages and restore balance - are one of 2009a€™s hottest spa trends and I need to de-stress.
Developed by Holtz Spa, it taps into the vibrational energy of various Canadian trees by using essences made from tree cuttings that are distilled down until only their imprint, i.e. With roots that extend underground and branches that climb the sky, they were seen by pagans as connecting the mysterious realms of the underworld and the abode of the gods. Suddenly, she feels a hand under the brim of her baseball cap, knocking it gently off her head and to the floor, just to startle her. Both of their husbands and the rest of the people that were there are assisting the Chainsaw Madman in his pursuit, enjoying very much the scene they are creating. This resulted in her running as fast as she could, headlong into a wall, and ricocheting immediately to the floor. We chose the RTCSDS based on their claims of being the set of the movie Dances with Wolves, Grace's favorite movie. IA listened to lectures byA the then-editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, John Flynn, and by the then-editor of the Dallas Morning Post, Larry Bleiberg, and went home and wrote two articles.
At the Toronto Star offices,A Mark showed me around and asked if I'd brought anything for him to read.
I'm a full believer in the old-fashioned spa cures of Central Europe, Germany and Italy (haven't tried France yet) A and this is where my vacation dollars go. The one thing I've learned from traveling is to buy clothes that don't take up much room - this means way more polyester than is good for me.
Today, instead of sacred pottery vessels and chanting priests, ita€™s aqua exercises and deck chairs around a sprawling thermal pool. Good for the joints and muscles, ita€™s a big hit with the German, French and Italian spa lovers who flock here.


After soaking up the minerals in the mud, I relax in a bubbling thermal bath then retreat to my hotel room where a second therapist gives me a quick circulation massage. His prophesies of the future were interpreted by an oracle, or priest, who read the signs either through the misty sulphurous water or by tossing golden dice. As it is, Ia€™m all too aware this isna€™t a pine-filled forest but a treatment room in Ottawaa€™s Holtz Spa, a sleek urban day spa steps away from Rideau Shopping Centre and Parliament Hill. For the past three weeks, Ia€™ve been in a€?moving hell,a€™ surrounded by boxes, suffocated by paint fumes and up to my ears in blinds installations and air con deliveries. They have a frequenter card, but the stamps arena€™t plain circle punches--they look like burros. I'm not a homeless person or 4 years old--I just have no idea what real people eat for food. Upon arrival found a sticky note taped to the floor with the words "Kevn Costnar stood here," on the way to the food line, where they handed you a metal plate and metal cup and filled your plate first with SEARING HOT BEANS, invited you to sing on stage and crush your soul. And I get to explore Whistler, where I've never been, and do some cycling and something called an eco zipline which I believe is sailing across tree tops on a rope. Many have fenced off a€?mud farmsa€™ where troughs of mud and hot spring water lie steaming in some mysterious alchemy.
This weekend in Ottawa is a much-needed break, and if renewal means channeling my inner tree, so be it. It's like a serial killer house--and when you pass by the bed, a terrible child leaps off and into your face--she is chained to the bed.
I had a job once that had contingency plans for losing sticky notes (ironically, at an oil company), but BP has no idea what they'll do now, short of sending FEMA down to potato cannon squirrels with wetsuits and ShamWows into the pipeline in a constant stream."See, squirrels are pretty small, and can hold five or six ShamWows. However, since it was Monday, and we were leaving for New Mexico only on FRIDAY, we had some time to kill.
In the early days I would write an article and send it out to about 60 newspapers, and maybe one would pick it up.
When I couldn't find theA contact info for the editorA of the National Post, I gave that one up - obviously any excuse to avoid the project would do. Analyzed for its healing and pain relieving properties, the mud here is taken so seriously that the European Patent Office has declared it a drug. No, it probably us, because wouldn't that count as sexual assault?), and you acknowledge that it's all fake, but it's fun to be surprised. He relayed a story of having to hunt down a manager to find out, and in the spirit of contribution, I saida€”rather loudlya€”a€?Bring me the donkey puncher!a€?I knew the second the word left my mouth what I had done. If we shoot 6,000 of 'em at the leak at the force of 500 Nascar engines, then they should be able to soak of most of the world's fuel in a couple hours. Down to the wire, I sent emails to the other two editors and asked if I could send them some questions. After I'd written for the Star for about aA year, Mark asked me where I saw myself going and I broached the idea of a column on solo travel.
For my writing I tend to concentrate more on Europe and Asia (who wouldn't?) but this year I've done more Canadian pieces and am falling in love with my own country. I wheezed the air out of my lungs in response to my own idiocy, and laughed myself into tears.
Stories about my travels, my travel disasters and the crazy wonderful and sometimes dangerous world that is out there.
Eight months later John Flynn was no longer the editor but his successor picked it out of the slush pile, ran it and my career had begun. The Globe editor answered my emails while the editor of the Toronto Star, Mark Atchison, wrote back and said, "Why don't you come down to the paper and I'll show you around?" I might have been new in the business but I still knew that this was a rare stroke of luck.
Once people knew the stories were true (I'm strict about sticking to what really happened and you should be too if you want to write travel articles) people liked them better. Now I'm lazy and don't market much at all, so lucky for me IA have a regular gig.A And yes, I would write the article before I sold it. And Lana, I am still deciding if this counts against you or not, it was a cervix post involving you, that you commented on--I think this makes you guilty.
Hopefully it's that way for you as well, because ifA you don't love it, you'll give up fast.



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