“Mother Nature made continents. Human beings made countries.” 

Today will be hot, in the high 80’s. I am already behind closed doors with the AC cranking. The dogs are sprawled on the couch having their morning naps. Outside my window, the day, despite the heat, looks inviting with a blue sky and a bit of a breeze. My dance card is empty today, but I do need dog food. I’m thinking delivery.

When I was a kid, the future was tomorrow, but I did have dreams for when I was older. I knew I’d travel. That was a given after I had seen the first pictures in my geography book. I saw crops growing, snow covered mountains and houses, none of which resembled at all where I lived. I didn’t know anyone who had the same dreams I did. Travel meant New Hampshire or Maine or even as far as Vermont. We did make it to Canada and the falls. In my head, I started the list of countries I had visited, but that list didn’t get any longer than Canada for years, but I still dreamed of where I’d go.

For my college graduation my parents gave me a trip to Europe, one of those nine hundred countries in three days sort of trip. I was going to go with college friends. I didn’t; instead, I was going to Africa. My mother and I shopped from a list sent to us by Peace Corps. I was limited to eighty pounds of luggage. We bought enough underwear to outfit a chorus line. We bought dresses for a warm climate. One of them was purple, and I’m wearing it in several pictures. I also had skirts and short-sleeved tops. We bought sandals, leather sandals which didn’t do all that well in the heat of Ghana. The soles went first. We bought necessities like deodorant. We found a brand supposedly good for days with just an underarm swipe. It gave me boils which were really painful. I couldn’t raise my arm high enough to write on the chalkboard. The boils finally disappeared as did the deodorant. I tossed it. Some of the stuff we bought were found in Ghana like toothpaste, soap and tooth brushes.

My entire wardrobe after a time was made with Ghanaian cloth and sewn by a neighbor, a seamstress. I packed the purple dress away. It didn’t fit anymore, too big. It was the same with the other clothes I had brought, especially the underwear which got too big and wouldn’t stay up. I didn’t buy new underwear. It seemed a waste of money. I used a thin string belt to keep embarrassment away.

After Ghana, I still traveled. One summer I went from Venezuela to Rio. The trip took the whole summer. I saw my geography book come to life.

The list in my head of countries I have visited is a long one now with Canada still at the top. The order is chronological. Ghana is second on that list.

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4 Comments on ““Mother Nature made continents. Human beings made countries.” ”

  1. Birgit Says:

    It’s travel time again, the joys of traveling in overcrowded reginal trains. Yesterday it took me 11 hours to never reach my destination down south, it was absolutely chaotic and I returned home. Next try today and I made it! 10 hours instead of 6 h and 5 trains instead of 3 but yeah, success! Visiting relatives. Did I mention that the heat wave is back? Nearly 100°F today. We hope for a thunderstorm tomorrow.

    • katry Says:

      Birgit,
      I’m glad someone is on the road (the proverbial road). Why are the trains so overcrowded? Here on the Cape it is the roads. It took me double time to get to Hyannis for my concert. Some people were stuck in traffic so long from down cape they never made it.

      Boston has the same heatwave. It was going to hit nearly 100° or even 100° today. Down here we were in the mid-80’s. Living near the ocean has its perks. No rain predicted here.

      • Birgit Says:

        Regional trains are often crowded, summer school vacations and this summer we can get very cheap tickets for a change. 9 Euro/month valid for every regional train nationwide so many more people can afford to take a train at all. Slow but cheap traveling. Our rail infrastructure is quite old and bad by now and additionally Corona is still raging and trains are canceled often, too many sick train drivers and technicians. It’s a mess but it’s great to have these cheap tickets. Adventure trips 🙂

        Clear blue sky, still hot, still waiting for much needed rain…

      • katry Says:

        Birgit,
        Cheap tickets would grab my attention. No similar deals here maybe because of so few options for traveling. There is a train every summer from Boston to the Cape on weekends. There is also a sight seeing train from Hyannis to the bridge. It is a wonderful ride.

        People don’t take trains between cities much here. I would love a long train ride with a sleeper, and there are some. I wonder if they take one cat and two dogs?


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