So much in common

If you take different mythologies from different cultures, the names may change and the story lines may vary but there is always something in common.
– Maynard James Keenan


Winter wanderlust setting in…

Temperatures in the single digits.

Cars dirty with salt residue and road grime.

Three inches of snow last night.

I want to get away.

But, not to a beach. Not to warmer weather. To better winter weather.

I love winter. I need the change of seasons to keep my internal rhythms right with the world. But, Central Illinois is not my idea of a “Winter Wonderland”.

Switzerland, Colorado, Banff, Bavaria, Scottish Highlands… those are the winter wonderlands I want to visit. Now. Right now.

Sadly, it’s January. I’m a teacher. There’s no traveling for me in January; so, I’ll just have to settle for virtual travel. If you’re in the same boat, or sled (much more winterish), check out these photos and websites to cure that winter wanderlust.

St. Moritz, Switzerland

St. Moritz

St. Moritz, Switzerland; photo courtesy of

Seriously. Isn’t that absolutely stunning?

Little villages nestled among forests. Trees with boughs sagging under the weight of fresh-fallen snow. Are you kidding me? That’s where I would love to be right now.

I’ve never been to St. Moritz. I’ve been to the Lake Lucerne and Mt. Titlis areas, but never the iconic St. Moritz. When I go (notice the optimism), I would love to go during the snowy months. I’ll take what I can get, but seriously – what could be better?
Continue reading

Travel juice… a must have!

The more I travel, whether for a day or for days, the more I realize that a portable battery charger is as indispensable as my toothbrush. 

I recently* spent 4 days in Sonora, California. Lovely area, but horrible cell phone service. My battery drained 5% within minutes of unplugging my phone. No joke, but when using Google Maps for navigation, with my phone plugged in and charging to the car’s USB, my battery still lost power – it couldn’t even maintain juice!

If you haven’t already bought one, invest $10-30 in a portable charger pack that you can carry in your purse or bag and stay juiced up.

How do you choose? Price and mAh. What’s mAh? The amount of power stored in the pack. Look at the battery in your cell phone or tablet (or Google your phone’s mAh) to find out how much power (in mAh) you typically have. If your phone takes 2000 mAh to charge, for example, a 3000 mAh portable pack will charge your phone, in theory, 1.5 times.  Continue reading

Homesick? But, I’ve never been.

“Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you’ve never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground.”
― Judith Thurman

Ain’t no surer way…

“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.”
― Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer Abroad

The one constant… baseball.

I don’t have to tell you that the one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has been erased like a blackboard, only to be rebuilt and then erased again. But baseball has marked time while America has rolled by like a procession of steamrollers.
― W.P. Kinsella, Shoeless Joe

Some people are as good as Spring…

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Decisions, decisions… and my dilemma.

When I think about travel, I think about upgrading my gear. I am a firm believer that you can never have too many bags… until it comes to actually footing the bill. Then I’m a flip-flopper.

See a bag. Check it out. Add it to my cart. Leave it in my cart. Think about it. Go back and stalk it. Almost complete the purchase. Think. Stalk. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

I am currently stalking two bags…

The Tortuga Air and the Tom Bihn Spiff Kit.

Do I need either of them? No, not really.
Do I want to spend the money on them? No, not really.
Do I stalk them online every few days. Yup.

So… If I don’t need them, why do I want them so bad? I love the idea of them. Continue reading

Two companies, similar products, different styles, same city.

Whenever I can, I like to buy products made right here in the U.S.A.. I have found several companies that I keep going back to, two of which are based in San Francisco – Waterfield and Rickshaw Bagworks. Coincidence? I doubt it. I think one successful entrepreneurial spirit inspires another.  Quality demands quality competition. Both companies believe strongly that producing on a small scale produces uncommon quality. Both companies believe in using quality materials, like high-grade waxed canvas and heavy-duty YKK zippers. Now, Rickshaw and Waterfield may both produce quality bags and accessories, but they do not exactly vie for the same target demographic. Continue reading

Rickshaw Velo… commuter, carry-on, utility pack.

Months ago I promised a review of my new Rickshaw Bagworks Velo Backpack. What happened? Life.

Sometimes life takes over, we get busy, and the next thing you know I realize that I can’t quite call myself a blogger if I am not, in fact, blogging. But, today that changes.

So, the Velo.

veloWhat can I say? Since July, since “life happened”, I think I have carried it with me every day. 

We flew across the pond and visited Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and the Nederlands together.

We carried thousands of dollars of cameras, computers and tablets together.

We weekended in Michigan and Chicago together.

We commute to work carrying grade book, papers to grade, a laptop (sometimes two), a tablet (sometimes two), and all of the accessories I need for a day at work.

And the verdict… I love this bag. I do. I wasn’t sure I would when I opened the box, but love happened.

So, what do I like about the Velo?