Travel

Distractions? What distractions?

If you’re traveling is tourism, you have a great many ways to occupy your time. I can kill a day in a museum with the best of them. If you’re traveling is work, however, then chances are you will need to find some way to distract yourself from your new lifestyle, at some point. Things become much more mundane when they are a daily occurrence. It’s just the way things are in the world.

Distractions come in many forms. They can be elaborate and well thought out projects. They can also be simple things that someone else would take as a break away from the norm. And, also, they can be more traveling. Escaping your exotic location for another exotic location, as crazy as that sounds, can be quite liberating.

Since I have come to live in the desert, I have used all three of these devices as distractions from my daily grind of super-hot weather, horrendously bad drivers and sand storms. I find that each one has its individual merit at any given point. Sometimes, you need an escape, and sometimes you just need to get your head right.

In a world full of social media, it is much easier to stay both distracted and connected at a distance than when I initially started traveling the globe. Back in the 80s, you called home collect or wrote a letter and mailed it. That was high-tech communications. The rest of the time, you were just wherever you were. These days, you can hop on your smart phone from pretty much anywhere on the planet and talk or text with anyone you want. Still, other times, you need a better distraction from where you are than that.

If I want a big distraction, I travel. Getting away is very liberating. It cleans out all of the bad karma and lets you just be. It usually also has a lingering affect, once you return to wherever you escaped from. If you are a follower of this blog, you already know that I tend to blog when I travel. I find it lets people know I’m still alive (Mostly my mom and dad).

On a more important note for other travelers, it can also be extremely cost-effective. If you have uprooted yourself and moved a significant distance for work, say to another continent or completely across a continent, then exploring new places can be considerably cheaper with the reduction in new travel costs. Once I made it to the Middle East, I realized that I could travel around this side of the globe considerably cheaper than when I was always looking at traveling from the USA to wherever I wanted to go. Since that realization, I have done a fair piece of traveling around. The cost savings for nearby plane tickets make it too good to pass up.

For simple distractions, I usually like to go with movies. I’ve said it a thousand times and it still holds true; every movie theater looks the same in the dark. The coke pretty much tastes the same everywhere in the world too. There may be subtitles running across the bottom of the screen, but that’s okay. Most places tend to have a showing in some form of English. You can usually find one. If you want a social experiment, you can try the native language. When I was stationed in Germany, the local town had a second-run movie theater located just off base. We would find out what they were going to show, go rent the video, watch it a half-dozen time, and then go to the movies and see it in German. It was good fun. Usually, the parts you couldn’t understand didn’t drastically affect the movie.

As far as more elaborate ideas go, find a hobby. I think everyone knows by this point, but I write books. Fictional novels keep my otherwise unoccupied mind in check. I am currently working my way through editing revisions for publishing my fifth novel, while trying to find some time to keep writing my eighth novel. As hobbies go, I find writing books to be extremely cathartic and easy to practice anywhere on the planet. If I have a couple pens and a tablet of paper, I’m pretty much good to go. An internet connection is good for researching idea and items, but at the end of the day, that’s why they call it fiction. I highly recommend finding a hobby that is easy to pack and travels well. As a side note, all the travelling gives me great inspiration for my writing. You never know when the great ideas are going to come along.

I have developed several different distractions to keep my head in-check as I move about the globe. Like I said, if you are travelling for tourism, great. If you are traveling for work, I find a thought-out distraction to be a good way to keep me both happy, and mentally challenged. Find something that appeals to your own individual style and throw it in the bag next time you head out. Having something to distract you from your surrounding can be mentally lifesaving, even in the middle of a holiday (Me going to see Avengers while in Bangkok would be a good example of this. Hahahahaha).

Now, get out there. Have fun!

A picture of my latest creation. Well, the various pieces of it anyway.

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US Road Trip 2017, Day 15. 

The last day in Potsdam started on a good note. I slid out to the house and grabbed dad to go golfing. There was a little discussion before we were off, but we were off. A nice trip out to Raymondville through the big town of Madrid, and to the Raquette River Country Club. 

In a word it was …. wet! The whole course is in high ground and it was still completely saturated. It made finding balls a challenge. Nevertheless, it was a good time. Dad had a blast and we only lost a small number of balls. The score, now that was a different story.

After golf, it was back to the house to hang out with mom and dad for a while. Mom had a doctors appointment, so I jumped ship and did a little running around town. A had to stop and take pictures of my friend Jeff’s old house, so he could see what the college kids have done to it since he moved. It was in pretty good shape.

Back out yo mom and dad’s for a little while. Mom appreciates the time, even if it turned into a nap on the couch. I said bye to the parents and headed back jnto the village to meet more friends. The meeting of friends never stops in this place. 

Walking across the street to the Elk’s Lodge, I learned that I won the sign in. Good news! Bought a round for the bar. Started playing a little tear tickets with my friend Jim. Split another big winner. Yup. 

I ran back to the Motel and talked to my Buddy’s EJ and Stephanie for a bit. Headed back to the room to catch some sleep, I got a text from my friend Mary. I won a raffle ticket at the Elk’s too. Yup, one of those days.

It’s been a good day. Good night.


Looking down the first fareway. Raquette River Golf Course and Country Clud.


The Roxy movie theater. The first movie I saw here was The Towering Inferno. 


Thank you! Just figured out how to pay for the gas in the drive home.

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US Road Trip 2017, Day 14.

Sunday in Smalltown USA was pretty quiet. I also woke up a little hungover, so it was extra quiet. 

Took a trip out to mom and dad’s that lasted most of the day. Had a nice talk with Pops will mom was coming home from church. I spent most of the day with them. 

On the way back into town, I stopped at Sergi’s Itialian Restaurant for dinner. I wanted to get my east coast pizza fix. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, best pizza outside Italy. 

From the pizza place back to the Elk’s Lodge to sign in and get a coke. One coke led to 3 Jameson on the rocks and a bunch of idle gossip. Good times, always good times. 

Good night all! 


The Raquette River, running through the village of Potsdam.


The Raquette River, below the dams. 


The BEST pizza! 

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US Road Trip 2017, Day 12. 

Sadly, today started with some work. I had to get the computer out and answer some work emails. It didn’t take long, but it emotionally pulled me from vacation mode for a few minutes. 

My excuse for work complete, I headed out to mom and dad’s to see what they were up to. Mom had to go volunteer at a Red Cross blood clinic and dad was mowing the yard.  I had a good conversation with them for as long as it lasted. 

I met one of my best childhood friends for lunch. It had been quite a while since I had seen Bob, so catching up was great. After I stopped to do some banking, and catch up with some more people. 

I drove around the village looking for an ADK sticker for my truck. After I stopped at the first place, every place I stopped tried to send me back to the first place. A little small town goose chase. 

Next, it was back to the Elk’s Lodge to help out with the stuff I volunteered for last night. Oh well, I always get roped into something while I’m home. It turned out to be fun. Everyone was joking around and making fun of each other. 

Not feeling the gumption to go out or to go eat, I decided on going to the movies. The movie theater in town, The Roxy Theater, shows a half a dozen different movies. I remember when it had one giant screen and showed one movie. That …… was a long time ago. 

The movie choice was Valarian. It was very good! Coming out of the theater, the sun was down. The Air was cooler and all around is quiet. There is some miscellaneous traffic, some people out walking the streets, and some people out at the outside bars, otherwise it’s quiet. I’m setting on the front porch of the Lodge watching the cars. 

Goodnight. 


The Lodge. 


Looking up the street. It’s always busy in this place. 

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US Road Trip 2017, Day 11.

Woke to rain this morning. The north country has been getting rained on all summer, so I guess this is okay. My truck needed a bath anyway.

The day started with utilitarian activities, aka laundry. It’s a necessity of travel longer than a weekend getaway. Well, at least the way I pack it is. Which I guess leads to a question, how heavy do you pack? Do you run with the minimum or are you the three roller bags and a carry-on kind of packer? 

Personnally, I prefer minimalism. Anything under say, one week to maybe ten days, I will pack for the whole thing. Anything longer than that, I pack for a week and plan on doing laundry somewhere. US hotels, little French towns, German Guesthouses, downtown London, I’ve done laundry lots of places. I find there is usually a laundry around. Sometimes you have to track it down on a side street, but it’s usually there. 

I have found that I spend a lot of time on the move. Wether it be trains, Metros, planes, or on foot. There was a bicycle once, in Ireland, but we won’t get into that now. I tend to prefer lighter backpacks to clothing options. That’s just me, and it works for the way I do things. On a trip like this one, where I’m driving most everywhere, I really doesn’t matter if I overpack. I tend to pack the same amount anyway, because it’s habit. Do you stay the same, or do you switch up your packing when you travel?

After the laundry, it was out to see mom and dad. The parents appreciate some face time now and again. I spent the afternoon catching up with them. They were very happy. 

After mom and dad I was headed bank into town. I made my mandatory stop at the local Elk’s Lodge to sign in and say hello. As expected, everyone was happy to see me. With it being meeting night, the stop was longer than usual. 

All in all, a good day. 


The dryer is going round and round. 


Waiting on traffic in the big city. 

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US Road Trip 2017, Day 10. 

Back on the road again. Today was another one of those Point A to Point B travel days. 

I left Bethesda heading north, opposite the flow of the morning rush hour, and made my way up to NY.  The run through all the historic places along route 15 in Maryland and Pensylania made me want to stop several times. The signs for Gettysburg also had me. But, I persevered. 

For the most part, the drive was nice. I love driving in the mountains. When you’re pulling a hill, and the V8 in the truck is whinning, and your ears pop, that’s when you know your in hill country. The run north through Pennsylvania and New York was all driving in the mountains. It was good. 

Clarification. The driving was good. The roads were horrendous. From the Northeast Extension in PA, pretty much all the way north on I-81 to Watertown, NY, was road construction. Pennsylvania had tore up Road being rebuilt. New York had miles of cones out at a time for some ditch job or ramp repaving job. It basically sucked bad. 

The green dense trees and the vertical change helped to make up for it. By the time I got into the ST Lawrence River Valley, I was okay again. 

I came north, or home I should say, to spend a couple days with my mom and dad, and hangout with friends. I’m sure it will be a good time. 

Rolling into the hometown of Potsdam, New York, I pulled up at my usual home away from home, The Northern Family Motel. I always stay here when I’m in town. The Motel is clean and neat, and the rates are super reasonable. They have a fabulous breakfast spread. They also have an awesome staff. Eric, the owner, is a high school friend of mine. I think he’d be offended if I stayed anywhere else at this point. Hahahaha. Seriously, if you’re passing through this way, you should give them a try. 

From the Motel, it was out of find food. As any local knows, the first stop is Jreck’s Subs. It’s a Northern New York institution. Ham and cheese on wheat, extra hot peppers. 

After food I stopped at the Local Elk’s Lodge (Lodge #2074) to sign in and see as many people as I could. It wasn’t a long commute, as the lodge is all of a good 100 feet around the corner from the sub shop. To get inside I had to ring the front door bell. I forgot my membership card in my bag. Inside, it was good and full as Wednesday night is dinner night at the lodge as well as Golf League night. I made the rounds and promised everyone I’d be back out tomorrow night. But it was a long drive, so I wasn’t gonna start the party just yet. 

Even going someplace you know well can be an adventure, at times.


Breakfast on the road. 


Every time I drive by the sign for FT Indiantown Gap, it makes me smell. Good memories from the Army Reserve in that place.


Driving in the mountains. 

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