Bella’s suitcase! Not just any suitcase…oh no….a BATMAN suitcase!
I was just as excited when Gia’s Hello Kitty suitcase arrived a couple weeks ago. Bright Pink. Hard Shell. And on wheels. I think I may have rubbed off a little on Wayne’s two daughters. I am not sure when or how, but they have my extreme love of travel at 4 and 5 years old. Luckily they don’t read yet so I can tell you that Santa Claus has
gotten them suitcases, embroidered toiletry bags with their names, travel stamps, stickers, pretend passports to stamp, travel coloring books, and I am thinking that luggage tags are in their near future! I never thought I would find Bella’s request of a Batman one, but thanks to Potterybarn kids…success!!!
In the time that I have known them, I have been to Japan, Ireland, and Ecuador. Their great-grandma took a trip to England and Scotland. Their aunt went to live in Abu Dhabi for a little while. This has all probably been a great influence. Gia says she wants to live in China and Bella always says something slightly different. I am so proud of their curiosity of the world and how much they want to learn about it. I was already planning on buying them
suitcases, especially for when they come to visit us in Chicago, but then we went to a store and they saw suitcases and have been obsessed with them. They are now saying all they want for Christmas is this dog toy thing and suitcases. I cannot wait to give them to the girls!
Their excitement makes ME so excited as well! I love to teach them about new places and showing them pictures of all the places I have been to. I cannot believe how much they are showing a passion and curiosity for it at so young of an age. It makes me feel so special to be a part of their growing up in this way. I even signed them up for Little Passports, which is so much fun and valuable to their education about the world!
To travel alone is a battle on it’s own. A fun battle, but a battle all the same. I love that I am able to meet whomever I want and hang out with them whenever. I love that I can sleep when I want, eat when I want, and go wherever I wish to go. It is, however, lonely sometimes.
While in a museum or experiencing something spontaneous and fun I often wish to lean over and talk about it with someone else. A friend, a companion, a relative, whoever. I want to talk about what I am seeing and what I am experiencing. I think it is beneficial to travel through both journey’s.
It was the end of my Round the World trip. The thought of me leaving hung heavy within me. Everything I went to visit on my last day in my beloved London was tainted by the thought of leaving. Shakespeare Globe lost it’s magic, because I knew I would not be around long enough to attend a performance. The Tate museum was beautiful, but once it was closing I knew I would be forced out and not allowed back in until my next visit. I longed to get lost in my favorite city, but I knew living on the streets would not be the most logical decision for myself. I stayed out wandering around all the cobble-stoned streets that I
could, until the sun went down. I stumbled upon St. Paul and literally ran into the steps. The air was growing colder and people were leaving work. I had decided that this was the perfect opportunity to people watch and embrace being in London at that moment. There was a girl with a white hat sitting across the courtyard seeming to do the same thing. Older men with suitcases and hats briskly glided across the courtyard, children skipped around in their uniforms from school, and a crowd of young twenty something’s were out and ready to protest Libya’s war.
I took a deep breath. I could feel tears creeping up. I had to get a hold
of myself! There is nothing quite like visiting another city and just being present in that specific moment. Thinking about where you are, what you are looking at, and that you may not ever come back to this place again. It removes me from routine thinking and what strengthens my soul.
After starting my day with tea, my social media ritual, and then stumbling across a video of a busker in NYC being treated unjustly and then arrested, I have a bit of a fire in me. I have a background in performing. It talks a lot of…well….balls to be frank to perform. Not only perform but perform by yourself in front of numerous strangers.
Like other countries, you need a permit to perform on the streets in New York City. There are laws and very specific regulations to follow. This particular busker seems to have those laws memorized for some reason. You can never prepare for the corruption of the police anywhere you go. Remember that. Sometimes you can be doing absolutely nothing and still be harassed. Wrong cop on the wrong day.
When Elise and I decided to travel to Prague for a weekend, it was on a whim and one of our last weekends living overseas. Normally, I would have researched a place prior to going. This time I only had enough time to download some sights to go to while in the city.
We arrived from a 20 hour bus ride from London. It was long. At one point I needed to use the bathroom and there was no promise from the driver that he would wait for me while I went to find one.We finally got there. Exhausted. We also had to find our hostel. We
stumbled off the coach, grabbed our bags, and went for the restroom. You had to pay, so we went to an ATM nearby to get some of the currency, but once again I had not done my research so I wasn’t sure the exchange rate equivalencies with crowns to dollars. We just grabbed the minimum in order to use the restroom.
At this point we knew that we had to get on a train and go to the main train station, and then our hostel was in walking distance from there. With our duffel bags full and weighing us down, we staggered
through the train station. We were tired and were not necessarily trying to hide that we were definitely tourists. We pointed at signs, argued with one another, and studied signs in a foreign language we knew nothing about. Suddenly a man bumped into Elise and showed her something on his belt. She didn’t really look down because we were really trying to figure out how to get tickets to get on the train. We somehow felt like we were in the right place, but we didn’t have tickets yet. I suggested that maybe we buy them on the actual train. He then knocked into me right after Elise and said, “Tickets please.”
He was dressed in normal clothes and looked a bit intimidating. I didn’t get a good look at the badge on his belt because he flashed it so fast. Apparently he and his friend were the train police. I called back Elise saying that he wanted our tickets. I asked him where I could get some since we were lost. He then insisted on seeing our
passports. Elise took her’s out and handed it to him. Something was not right about this situation. He was odd and yet seemed like he knew what he was doing. I held onto mine and showed him. He tried to grab it from me and I told him “no.” That was when I stopped believing he was police. He said that they would arrest us “stupid Americans” since we were illegally on the train platform without tickets. I told him that we were lost and more than happy to purchase tickets, but we just could not find where. He then refused to give Elise her passport back until we gave him a thousand crowns. At this point after the bathroom purchase, I could figure out that was about maybe around $40-50. He kept on harassing us and calling us names.
He finally took us to an ATM and I agreed on about half the amount and he had to show us where to buy tickets. Elise put her card in and
the ATM wouldn’t work. I then put my card in and it wouldn’t work. We tried once more then I turned to the ugly, mean man, and I said “Well looks like your stupid Prague machines don’t work!” He tried then and I demanded the passport back. He wouldn’t. Elise tried once more and it did work. We gave him the money and he gave us the passport and the direction of where to buy tickets. It was so annoying and not the greatest welcome from such a beautiful city.
Morale of the story: Try not to look like tourists and in turn bringing attention to yourself, but mostly NEVER LET ANYONE HAVE YOUR PASSPORT. NEVER EVER!
Police or not…they are corrupt everywhere. Hang on to your passport!