Things I Like (and do not like – the first post of many)

Hi. My name is Jacob. These are some things that I like. Today’s topic is:

Travel. I like car rides, bus rides, plane rides, anything that goes “go” goes for me. It’s almost midnight on May 29, 2013 so go figure. Why do I love travel? I like to make friends when traveling, hear stories, and tell stories. I like seeing new places and emerging from magical portals into distant lands. Although this past week alone took me to Houston, Austin, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, Galveston, Chicago, and now Madison, I mostly enjoyed it all. It’s like God scooped me up and then put me back down in a different location. This is one of many magical aspects of God (more on God later). I like maps and navigating. I like road signs and taking pictures of them. All of them. I like playing the license plate game and I have very strict rules for doing so, including no truck plates, and you must be on the highway to start. Probably more but I’ll think of them later. I like walking around in a city, but knowing where I am. There is little greater satisfaction that getting to a place correctly and with little fuss. When my mom and I went to the Bahamas, we spent an amazing day walking around Nassau, wasting absolutely no time because I planned out our route, step by step. She still talks about how much fun that day was – we got everything done that we wanted/needed, didn’t die in the heat, and moved with purpose, enjoying every moment because we had a plan. I like learning and communicating with different languages. Or at least trying. I don’t care if I look stupid because if I try, usually it works better than if I had started off in English. I have done this with Spanish, Quechua, German, Czech, Slovak, Hindi, Greek, Turkish, and Hebrew. In Cyprus, I got mistaken for a local at a party in a cafe. In Prague, I went into a restaurant speaking Czech. This guy asked me if I came from America and I said yes. Then, he was all, so why aren’t you speaking English to me? It’s because we’re in Prague, I’m assuming that you’re a Czech speaker, so I’m trying my best, ASSHOLE. I like being the mysterious traveler who everyone wonders about. Sometimes I am chipper while traveling, sometimes I am brooding and moody, but rarely. I like getting gas in odd places – usually there’s a geocache there (more on geocaching later), there’s always an interesting little service station store building thing to go into, and you get a receipt proving that you were once in this place. This past week, I have gotten gas in Houston, TX; Elgin, TX; Westlake, LA; Lafayette, LA; and La Marque, TX. I love driving and feeling the open road beneath me. I also like sitting in the passenger seat without the pressure of doing the driving, and having the ability to read or relax. I like to use the GPS and watch the earth move as I do, or vice versa. I like to pretend that I am on the Amazing Race when doing things like catching trains and buses and planes and buying tickets and such. I like trying local foods and new foods, but sometimes I just want a sandwich. I like watching airport flight boards. I like exploring the airport. I like to take pictures; scenic, side-selfie, or silly. I like to blend in with the scenery; if I get mistaken for a local, my mission has been accomplished. I like to travel with a bag on my back containing everything I will need; it makes me feel so mobile and free.

I do not like backseat or passenger seat drivers. When I want your opinion, I’ll ask. Even if/when I do screw up, I have a pretty solid mental compass and can generally right myself within a reasonable amount of time without your help. I do not like GPS units that tell you turn-by-turn directions. You, disembodied voice from a tiny device made in China, have not driven down this road before so don’t act like you know. I do not like paying insane amounts of money for gas. I do not like road food and prefer to pack a bag or cooler full of drinks and snacks. I do not like expensive airport food. I do not like rolling bags, except when I know exactly where I’ll be going and what I’ll be doing. For example, last summer’s trip to Europe. I brought my huge camping backpack, and my dad and sister brought rolling bags. Although there are lovely wood or granite floors in most places in Germany and the Czech Republic, there are also lovely cobblestones and plenty of lovely stairs. It was amazing to be able to walk with hands unencumbered…but then not so nice to look down at the Rolling Bag crew at the bottom of the stairs which I just conquered with actual leaps and bounds. I do not like to stick out like a sore thumb – there are subtle ways to play tourist. I do not like people who get to go everywhere all the time. They make me annoyed and jealous. Newyorklosangelesmiamiparisvegascabocancunhawaiilondonbeijingshanghaiseoul.

These are some things that I like and things that I do not like about travel as of this moment.

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