State of the Union: Tree Incident, Drink Carts, Valentine’s Day

I found the end of Obama’s State of the Union last night to be extremely emotional, even if it was intended and manufactured to be such. You know it’s true what he said: We’ll never forget.

I know I have a history of being extremely personal in these blog entries, but this one might just set a new precedent. I’m currently sipping a screwdriver and writing from around 30,000 feet, somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, on my way to St. Maarten for a ten-day reunion with the sun and the sand. I’ve been awfully busy with winter trips, from the Northern Lights in Sweden to the slopes of Salt Lake, and it’s time to get my Jimmy Buffett on, maybe listen to Far Side of the World a few thousand times.

Hey – did I tell you I introduced myself to a tree on my second to last day in Salt Lake? I’m healing up quite nicely so far, thanks for asking. Would you believe I was hot dogging it through a tree run? Had Ryan Dearth Photography not been so concerned about my condition, he would have pulled out his camera and captured the whole thing. Come on, Ryan, that tree would have certainly noticed the flash and swayed left, don’t you think? What kind of photographer are you?

Otherwise, things have been good. Things have changed a lot for me since I was in St. Maarten exactly one year ago. Lots of things are still the same, but things have certainly changed. For one, I’m way busier than I was in 2012 outside of Wake and Wander. The brand has continued to grow and has brought me more work, but a consequence of that has been less time to write for myself. I think that’s been an obvious transition the blog has gone through, from a tell-all to a show-and-sometimes-tell. Part of that is that Travel and Escape buys a bunch of my blog entries a month and limits what I can do with them here (hence, the teasers and links). It’s a good thing – a great thing – but it’s been a change, for sure. I hope someday someone will integrate the whole damn thing and turn me loose, but until then I will continue to build the brand organically and follow the trail that I have wandered thus far.

I’ve learned from many travel writers that it has to be a simultaneous growth – putting an emphasis on one side of the coin or the other produces the expected, skewed results, both in writing and life.

By the way, I’m pretty sure Southwest is on to something with its decision to get rid of the drink cart in favor of tray service. I’ve had to go to the bathroom for quite some time now, but the drink carts here aboard US Air have had the aisles blocked solid. There’s literally a half dozen people standing up in the aisle. I don’t understand why old habits have to die so hard in large corporations – ditch the damn drink cart already. And I’m still leading the charge for cupholders.

Last year at this time, I wrote a short story called Table for One that resulted in me being terminated by a woman I was seeing – she thought I was hung up on my ex or something. That was disappointing – to have the hammer come down so hard on my passion – but I will say that I do very much enjoy writing and capturing emotions on the page and I will continue to do that so long as I am able. Everything has its consequences. I’m going to enter a short story contest put on by mainstream fiction writer James Patterson that seems right up my alley (thanks to Wicked Good Travel Tips for the, uh, tip). The prompt: Write a 500-word short story about a relationship that no one approves of. Game on, my friends – I’m cooling down the iceberg as we speak.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day but I don’t think I’ll write anything specific for it in terms of a publically released story. We’ll see how the rum goes down tonight during the island sunset – maybe something will spark (last year I got so drunk my first night in St. Maarten that I sat on the shower floor for an hour the next morning trying to shake the cobwebs).

2013 is the year to reap the rewards of all I’ve worked for these past few. Celebrating, not dwelling, is my new year’s resolution – an admittedly large task for a writer.

Bathroom’s finally open. Adios, amigos.



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