Ticking Clocks

The question comes up often: Why don’t I do this full time? Travel. Write about travel. Make it my job, my life.

I envy some of my fellow bloggers who have put careers on hold, sold their belongings, and set off around the world. The guy who writes the voluminous how-to guides, the Australian midwife, the intrepid budget travelers, all those couples on open-ended global honeymoons. It’s what I should have done at their age. In my twenties, I wanted to live abroad. Sometimes I regret that I didn’t. Sometimes.

The thing is I have a career. I’m a writer, an editor, a journalist. I work on magazines. I’ve worked for a long time to become good at my vocation. I endured crap jobs that paid so little I lived on rice and macaroni & cheese. I moved from city to city following the next job.

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The Travel Ban

I saw a video this morning from over the past weekend. The news were interviewing an Iranian-American man who had been waiting for his brother to arrive at LAX airport in Los Angeles when he learned that his brother had been detained and was going to be deported. The man was distraught. “I left Iran because of this,” he said. “I’ve lived in America for twenty years,” he said. “I am an American citizen.” “Now this happens here,” he said.

I’ve heard many similar stories this week since the sudden ban on travelers from seven Middle Eastern, majority-Muslim nations and the 120-day suspension of admission for all refugees. Families, children being detained for hours. Green card holders who were legal residents of the U.S. There were protests against the ban at airports in major cities and federal court rulings blocking it. And yet it continues.

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My Trusty Backpack

My little blue LL Bean backpack has been my constant travel companion since my first international trip to Montreal in the summer of 1989. Along the way, it has been my day pack through nearly 20 trips to 22 countries, on five continents.

As backpacks go, it’s pretty basic. It has a main compartment and two outer compartments for smaller things. I originally got it to carry my books in graduate school, but it has shined at carrying my cameras, rain jackets, guide books, and water bottles on trips. It’s also been my computer bag and briefcase throughout much of my writing career.

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