The Important Lessons

A far-from-complete list of some of the more interesting places I’ve caught some shut eye (aside from the numerous couches and floors I’ve crashed on since that became an acceptable form of boarding):

  • On a train from Barcelona to Toledo, Spain, piled into a tiny compartment with 4 other women, each of us taking regular watches against the creepy Spanish men who kept trying to break into our berth
  • Perched next to a box of chickens in an old school bus trying to get to Belize
  • On a beach when the barracks at my research station on San Salvador Island in The Bahamas got ungodly hot, and I wandered out with a towel to brave the no-see-ums in the tropical breeze
  • Our Cabana by Moonlight

  • In a hammock in between fish counts on Key Largo
  • In a cabin on a ship, sailing around the world
  • Curled up on top of my luggage in a top bunk on a 3rd-class train from Delhi to Agra, India
  • On the cold, filthy tile floor in an airport in Chennai, India, when it had to close down because of rioting caused by India beating Pakistan in a cricket match
  • On a bench in Havana while waiting for my travel companions to buy old Soviet textbooks at a book fair
  • Propped up against my friend Laura while on a bus from Munich, Germany, to Dubrovnik, Croatia, waking only when the military guard in Bosnia asked for our passports and we had to get out and hang for a while
  • Again, propped up against Laura on a bench outside of the bus terminal (and inside the red-light district) in Rijeka, Croatia, surrounded by “interesting” characters
  • In a train station in Koblenz after drinking 3 bottles of wine with friends when we missed the last train with student fares to Leipzig (I learned how to say “Können Sie die Flasche öffnen, bitte?” expertly)
  • In tents on beaches all around the Big Island of Hawaii, through rain and storms and high tides and rowdy locals partying all night long and deliriously close to an active lava flow
  • Day 113 / 04.23.11

  • In a candle-lit, sand-floored, open-walled cabana right on the ocean in Tulum, Mexico
  • Leaning against a wall and shoved next to my duffel bag in a standing-room-only train from Rabat to Marrakech, Morocco
  • Under a wool blanket in a nomad tent in the middle of the Sahara Desert after riding a camel all day
  • In the international terminal in LAX with the rest of the vagabond riff-raff for a 5-hour, overnight layover, during which we discovered that in this terminal, the bars close the latest and the McDonald’s opens earliest (by the way, LAX is a pit, and I would gladly pay good money to never ever stop there again)
  • In between midge attacks in the thick summer of Arran Island in Scotland
  • At the edge of a canyon — The Wedge — in Utah
  • Between the wolves and the stars in Yellowstone

Glen Rosa Campsite
Lesson learned from travel: sleep is a precious thing. Catch it when you can.

This is in response to BootsnAll‘s 2012 Indie Travel Challenge, Week 3 prompt: Have you ever studied or taken classes on a trip? What did you study, and perhaps more importantly, what did you learn while on that trip?  What would you like to learn on your travels this year? The full description of the prompt can be found here.


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