Category Archives: Travel Writing

V&R Stories: The Last Train Home

Tweet NOT the last train home… – Photo by Randy Stern Nine years of living in the San Francisco Bay Area taught me a lot. Among the lessons I learned being a Northern Californian involved making the right call when … Continue reading

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Travelogue: Lamenting The Lonely Highway

Tweet Des Moines on a Saturday night. Photo by Randy Stern Sometimes, the romance of the open highway may not be as romantic as I once envisioned. When I was younger, I found myself driving between Southern and Northern California … Continue reading

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Travelogue: Doing Dallas on Earth Day

Tweet All Photos by Randy Stern If travel is a challenge – let the games begin! On Earth Day, I partook of a challenge that had been swimming in my head for years. The challenge is to do a day … Continue reading

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Travelogue: What is a “Good Trip?”

Tweet All Photos by Randy Stern What constitutes a good trip? That all depends on the traveler, really. Commonly, we all want a hassle-free experience from the time we leave home to our return. How that is measured is an … Continue reading

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V&R Stories: A Pivotal Moment in My D.C. Life

Tweet Photo by Randy Stern As Easter approaches, we are reminded by the many ways the world celebrates it. Whether we wake up to express our faith or to follow other traditions identified with that date, Easter symbolizes the possibilities … Continue reading

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Travelogue: New Roads Found in The Carolinas

Tweet The Blue Ridge Parkway – All Photo by Randy Stern New adventures, new opportunities…these are what I always worked hard to achieve. This seems to be the theme of this work on this site of late. So far in … Continue reading

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Historiography: A Personal History of Flight

Tweet …indeed! All Photos by Randy Stern I arrived from my trip to the Chicago Auto Show this past Friday. The memory of a successful show still lingers. It was a great trip overall. However, there is nothing like getting … Continue reading

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Travelogue: The Anxiety of the Infrequent (Air) Traveler

Ah, the pratfalls of traveling! You know the feeling after you booked your tickets, your accommodations and decided which mode of transport to use while at your destination to discover the multitude of things you need to do before your departure date. This goes beyond the items you need to pack, the documents you need to gain entry into another country and the items the Transportation Security Administration has restricted that you might need on your trip. No purchase of maps or diarrhea medication prescription can even scratch the surface all of the intangibles that goes into travel preparation.

So, let me ask you one question: how prepared are you when you travel? Continue reading

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V&R Stories: “Doing A Little ‘East Coast Swing'”

Ten years ago, I embarked on a life-changing journey.

As corny as it sounds, the “life-changing” part is very true. At the time, I did not know how much it would change my life. It certainly altered the course of my future in various ways.

On the evening of January 29, 1996, I boarded an America West Airlines jet from Oakland Airport to Las Vegas. It would only be the first leg of a remarkable trip. When I arrived around eleven in the evening, the lights of the slot machines in the terminal blared as I hoped to catch the last nonstop flight to Philadelphia. I was originally slated to layover at McCarran Airport until 2:00AM, but was desperate to get eastbound. The flight was full, so I waited stand-by. It was also Super Bowl weekend as the flight had fans coming in from Phoenix on-board. My lucky break arrived as I was the last one to board the Airbus onward to Philadelphia. The door closed and I took a middle seat on the red eye out East.

My mission was to promote my work, called Gen-X Bears, to the people in Philadelphia, Washington DC and Phoenix. This would be a weeklong expedition covering places I never been and meeting a whole slew of people for the first time. I was a neophyte in international community organizing, always relying on local resources to promote my work in the community.

So, what was this fat substitute teacher from California doing in these places promoting an idea that already pissed off half of the bear community? When I walked the streets of Philadelphia, Washington and Phoenix, I asked myself the same question. Then, I came upon some inspiration in the mortal words of Admiral David G. Farragut: “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”

With eyes wide open to new experiences, this was a journey that accomplished a lot in my life and for my people. Continue reading

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V&R Stories: The Homecoming

There used to be a time when waking up at 3:00 in the morning to head to an airport was effortless. That was before I turned 40. Luckily, I was able to rise to the occasion and be ready for a delayed SuperShuttle. No surprise. My experience back when I lived in Northern Virginia prepared me for late SuperShuttles who have problems finding homes in nice, quiet residential areas.

I was already nervous. The SuperShuttle showed up late and I was on my way. That was fine. My nervousness after six years of not flying anyway was slowly calming down. As I did not need to check luggage through with a carry-on and my satchel, my next task was to tackle the Security checkpoint. Did I have to take off my shoes? No. Did I have to take off my belt? Unfortunately, yes. But, I forgot to put my cell phone on the conveyor and I got grief about not taking my iBook out of the sleeve. Ok, fine! You win! I will admit that it wasn’t as bad as I thought now that I have gone through the experience for the first time. I’ll just have to better prepared next time. Continue reading

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