Category Archives: Travel Writing

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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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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Smarter Travel On Public Transportation

Gas prices has been on a rollercoaster lately. With the possibility of crude oil prices going up to $70.00 a barrel, your gas bill may up costing as much as your rental car bill in some places.

If you’re concerned about your travel budget, why not beat the cost of gas and visit a town with a good public transportation system?

In North America, there are several cities you can visit where you can skip reserving a rental car. Think of the savings when you take a public bus, train or ferry boat around town or out in the suburbs. Not to mention the incentives for using these services to the most popular locales.

Here’s a listing of a few places in North America that you can get around easily by public transportation… Continue reading

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Commentary: Happy Thanksgiving?

Tweet Thanksgiving in downtown Minneapolis, 2007 – Photo by Randy Stern Ah, Thanksgiving! The feast that mired in historical discourse. Depending on your worldview, Thanksgiving (USA) was supposed to honor the first “Pilgrims” from England who sat down with the … Continue reading

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The Road to #MAMA16FR…and Then Some

Tweet 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2.4 GT AWC – All Photos by Randy Stern I love taking road trips. There are two ways to take this. When a time constraint is imposed, road trips can be harrowing, frustrating and counteractive. … Continue reading

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The Last Road for The Show

Tweet 2016 Chrysler 200 Touring – All Photos by Randy Stern Back in 2014, we were pleased as punch when Fiat Chrysler Automobiles introduced a mid-sized family sedan to compete with the big boys. However, things have since changed… It … Continue reading

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V&R@5: Five Favorite Destinations

Tweet“I’ve been to many places and seen many faces…” To achieve maximum value in this work, you have to be where the story takes you. It could be an auto show, a media drive event, a meeting or a place … Continue reading

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V&R@5: Five Favorite Hotels

TweetWhen you are working, you need a home away from home. Such a place should always be affordable to the budget, but full of value. That would mean a comfortable bed, a good place to work, reliable and fast wi-fi … Continue reading

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