“You don’t need magic to disappear, all you need is a destination and a great hostel!”

Yesterday was the perfect day: sunny, warm and dry. A breeze from the south kept my house cool. It will be warmer today, but this room, in the back of the house, is still dark and cool. I’m going to be out on the deck today with a good book and a cold drink. My outside table is perfectly shaded by branches from the scrub oak. Gracie lies in the shade at the right angle formed by two sides of the deck. She sleeps deeply and sometimes even snores.

When I was teaching, I was usually traveling in July and August. I was one of those backpackers who slept in hostels, on overnight buses and sometimes in parks. I bought bread, peanut butter and jam and ate sandwiches to save money. Sometimes I bought a cooked chicken and tomatoes for a fancy dinner sandwich. I had a Go Europe guidebook which listed free food at happy hours. I’d nurse a drink and eat my fill. Overnight train travel was my favorite route between two places. Sometimes I’d just buy a seat and try to get comfortable enough to sleep, but a couple of times I bought a couchette and was able to stretch out on a mattress and sleep.

Traveling in Europe was a huge adventure for me. I got to see all the places I’d only read or dreamed about. One summer it was five weeks in England, Scotland and Ireland. Another summer it was six weeks traveling in Finland, Russia, Denmark, The Netherlands and England. The big trip was eight weeks in South America. I landed in Caracas and left from Rio. In between, I traveled from country to country by bus, car and planes. The best plane ride was over the Andes from Lima to Cusco. I saw the shadow of my plane on the mountain tops covered in snow. In those days few Americans traveled in South America. We met only one other in Paraguay who asked to join us at an outdoor cafe. He had heard us speaking English. He was the head of Pan American Airlines in South America and was on his farewell tour of Pan Am offices before his retirement. He told some great stories including one about Eisenhower visiting South American and having to extend runways for his plane. I think that trip was my all-time favorite.

Eight weeks from now I’ll be in Ghana.

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12 Comments on ““You don’t need magic to disappear, all you need is a destination and a great hostel!””

  1. Hedley Says:

    We are on the clock for Ghana but what does it mean ? How long will you be away ? Are there going to be random KTCC’s from the road ? who is watching Gracie and Fern ? Is KTCC going in to hibernation ? Are you going to have special super duper guest columnists like im6 ? Are you doing anything stupid down the sacred croc pool ?

    Might as well get this out of the way

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I am leaving early on the 20th of September and will be in Ghana 2 and 1/2 weeks. I am hoping to write a few if I can get to an internet cafe. I am traveling with friends from Peace Corps days so I might not have the freedom of time I’ve had traveling by myself.

      I will ask im6 and why not you? My friends mentioned going to Paga, the home of the sacred crocs, but I would bypass the crocs to go to the museum across the street to buy cloth there.

      • Hedley Says:

        Well, taking it upon myself to speak on behalf of the group, We would prefer that you skipped Sacred Croc World

      • katry Says:

        I will skip sacred croc world! My friends want to go, but I will hurry across the street to see the old man and his granddaughter.

  2. We’re in a heat wave here, much cooler than the ones You normally have in America bot hot for us 🙂 We were supposed to get thunder but the weather passed south of us, we did get a few drops of rain though but I think most of it evaporated just as it hit the ground.

    I’ve normally traveled to one place and then takem day trips around it except for when a friend and I went to Portugal, then we just planned the same morning on where we wanted to go next.

    Time just flies, it feels like it was a week ago You started planning the Ghana trip 🙂

    Have a great day!


    • katry Says:

      We will have hot, hot days starting tomorrow. We, on the cape, haven’t had a heat wave, but the city has. I can’t even remember the last time it rained here.

      I loved Portugal. It is one of the favorite countries I’ve visited. I had a rental car and traveled way up north where few people go: into the Duro valley. It was a wonderful trip.

      That’s true about the planning. My friend Peg called and said we have great plans already with the flight booked, the internal flight from Accra to Tamale and a reservation at the game park. She said she was getting excited too!

      Have a great evening!!

  3. Coleen Says:

    Hey, I’m excited just reading posts like this! September will be here before you know it!

    It will be hot here as well…right into next week. Ick.

    Waving to keep cool…


    • katry Says:

      I turned my AC on about an hour ago. Poor Gracie was panting so I knew the house was hot for her. She is my barometer.

      I ordered some stuff for my trip today so I am really getting excited. I need a couple of new shirts so they’re next.

      My house is getting cool so I’m waving in the cool of my house!

  4. Bob Says:

    Our AC is on here 24/7 to defeat the upper 90s temperature. The low temperature in the mornings has been hovering just below 80 degrees. Summer in North Texas is not for sissies.

    When we first moved to Texas in 1953 my father was driving in West Texas. He had just had AC installed in the car and he stopped at a cafe to get a cold drink. Sitting next to him at the counter was an older man wearing boots, jeans and a big cowboy hat. He had leathery skin and a red neck from working outside for many years. My dad asked the man how people lived here before the invention of AC. The man replied that in those days it never got this hot.

    The anticipation before a vacation trip is like waiting for ketchup to flow from a new bottle. 🙂

    • katry Says:

      We haven’t hit 90˚ though Boston has had enough 90˚ days in a row to have an official heat wave. I turned my AC on late this afternoon as the humidity came back.

      That cowboy must have been a forerunner of weathermen who talk about global warning.

      I just ordered a few things for my trip. Next I have to get a prescription for anti-malarial pills from my doctor.

      It is a long, long wait!

  5. Birgit Says:

    Not whole Europe by train today, just half of Germany. We took the cheap option which was a 9 hour ride with 5 slow trains through the Black Forest and along the river Rhine back home. Vacation is over.

    With or without crocs, I’m looking forward to hear about your Ghana adventures.

    One week of KTCC music to catch up…

    • katry Says:

      I don’t think I’d have the patience to take that long train ride. I remember a ride through the Black Forest when the road was totally covered in fog. I was driving while my parents held their breaths.

      I’m sorry your vacation is over, but you did have a wonderful time. The memories will hold you for a while!

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