Road Kill

by Maureen Magee

Mageru pulls over to the side of the road, parks and idles the Land Cruiser. We are still a few hours away from arriving back in Addis Ababa. He looks over to me, pats the steering wheel and says “I am a little tired. You can drive.”

This does not strike me as a generosity I should accept. Although I am confident in Canada, Ethiopian driving doesn’t exactly rev my engines.  “Oh…I don’t think so, honey.  The driving here is very different from my experience back home.”

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Driving In France

Nervously, I edged into traffic and was, within a few minutes of breath-holding, relieved by the minor miracle of finding a free parking space in front of a cafe. I sat down with my iPhone to map a plan for the week. 

In search of sun and warmth, my idea was to head for the Mediterranean beaches but was told it would be very crowded in July, and the distance seemed too far – 8 hours on expensive autoroutes. So I convinced myself to keep it simple on the first day and headed to Beaune, the "wine capital of Burgundy," less than two hours away by toll road. 

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Wild Moose Chase

Story and Photos by Jean Kepler Ross

“Brake for Moose - it could save your life” - the road sign in Maine promised. My cousin Julie and I toured New England in the Fall and we were excited at the prospect of viewing moose.  Unfortunately, they were proving to be elusive.

The road signs were encouraging: “Moose - next 3,000 feet,” “Moose next 4,000 feet,” and “Moose - next 9 miles.” Finally, we saw a moose: a metal moose sculpture hiding in the grove of trees next to a scenic waterfall in Rumford, Maine. I began quizzing the locals to find out how we could maximize our chances of seeing the actual animal. 

Innkeepers in Bethel, Maine, reported once sighting a moose in their backyard. It was looking in their window at their son, who was watching television. So we gazed endlessly through our hotel window, but no luck. We saw a billboard in Bethel promoting a three-hour guided tour to search for moose at dawn. We were very motivated, and we were sure a guide would help us in our quest, but we wanted to do it without losing sleep and turning into zombies.

As time passed, we started to doubt the signs. “Moose Crossing - 2 Miles” - if only. We spotted a flock of wild turkeys and a road-killed red fox and got a whiff of a skunk. 

Our waitress at a cafe in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, told us, “You never know where or when you’ll see one. They’re not afraid of cars. If you see one on the road, stay back as far as you can to watch it; if you go close, they might charge you.” She told us that one had recently appeared right in front of her in the woods while she was riding a four-wheeler on trails. She added that she’s seen moose many times. This village is near Moose River, and the name made us hopeful, but although we looked everywhere, we didn’t see one.

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Leaving It All Behind

by Susanna Starr

 

To the outside world we had a beautiful life. There we were, living happily with our children in our lovely suburban home. We had interesting friends. What would possess us to leave it all and hit the road? But that’s what we did, launching ourselves into points unknown in the big red truck we bought to replace the suburban station wagon. It also replaced the 4 bedroom 2-1/2 bath home with a cab-over camper that provided just enough space for five people to sleep. Only one person, even if it was a child, was able to walk about at a time.

What we had in mind was simply to begin our personal odyssey with the ultimate destination unknown. Anyone can do it. Despite prevailing opinion, it doesn’t take much, just the initial decision to find another way. That’s how the travel plan began. Leaving all the details open allowed us to experience adventures that we never could have conceived of. That’s how the travel plan unfolds, if you make the space. Our previous lives were now lost and gone forever and we had embarked on a new one.

This one ultimately took us from suburban south shore of Long Island to the sparsely populated area of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Not one of us spoke Spanish, but we ended up living there for several months, most of it on an isolated beach, on what was later to develop as Playa del Carmen.

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Are We There Yet?

by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers

It comes from the back seat, in varying tones of voice. Sometimes it’s said with anticipation, as when we’re on the way to the White Mountains and Mary is primed for a day at Story Land -- or when it’s that ice cream time of the afternoon. Mary’s always primed for that. Sometimes it’s said with a yawn, when we’re headed home after a day’s skiing at Gunstock Mountain. In our car it’s never a whine, because everyone knows what happens to whiners – no one can hear anything they say.

photo courtesy Stillman Rogers PhotographyBetween the two of us, my husband and I have developed quite a repertoire of responses. Some are met with a few moments of puzzled silence as the layers of implication sink into an 8-year-old mind. Some are met with immediate protests of disbelief, others with a long series of giggles. We are heartened by the latter, because we can’t imagine traveling with anyone who doesn’t have a sense of humor.

This isn’t actually all 110 of the answers we have come up with, but enough to get you started. Once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are endless.

“Yes, that’s why I have stopped the car here by the side of the road under these pine trees next to a swamp, without a house in sight. Be sure to tell me when you want to go somewhere else.”

“Not quite yet. I expect it will be only 16 more hours, 26 minutes and 43 seconds. Too bad there’s no place to stop for food on the way.”

“I have no idea, because we aren’t actually aiming for any place.”

“I’m completely lost. I think we’re actually heading away from there right now.”

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40 States in 40 Days: The Ultimate Class Trip

by Pierce Greenberg

One morning last November, I was searching the internet in the school library when I came across a post on our school’s website. “A New Look at Study Abroad: 40 States in 40 Days – Taking Applications,” it read. The course was offering six hours of credit—three hours for writing and three hours for sociology. Immediately, my interest was piqued.

Belmont University: A New Look At Study Abroad
I’m not an inexperienced traveler by any means. Between the ages of 6 and 16, my family traveled to 16 countries in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. I’m pretty sure I had been to more countries than I had states.


This left a gap in my heart—I had always yearned to learn more about and see more of this country I call home. No matter where I went in the world, I always loved home the best. So, call me a homebody. Or maybe just call me an American.


After an extensive application process, I found out in December that I had been accepted. My parents were in full support and the planning began. But I don’t think reality hit me until I was standing on the tour bus and it began to move. This was really happening.

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