Fresh From the Blogosphere: Reviews of You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper

You Can Keep Your Adventure bookWell friends, it’s coming up on a month now since its release and some of my fellow bloggers have weighed in about my travel/humor guide You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper. I wanted to share this with you in the event that a) you haven’t gotten around to reading it yet and b) you would also like a glimpse at some other blogs that deserve your attention.

At the end of my last post I included a link to Kate Denny’s review of my book on her excellent blog Travel Far, Eat Well. Today I’d like to share two more with you.

The first is by Manny from The Greenwich Mummy blog. Besides being a delightful person, she covers a wide range of lifestyle  subjects from her Greenwich (London) base. Whether it be parenting advice or just something to do for the weekend, she knows her town and is happy to share it.

The second is by Carl from theoldfellowgoesrunning. His blog deals partly with running, and partly with many of the myriad topics of everyday life – all through his unique and genuine perspective. He’s a genuinely nice guy, and I’m not just saying that because he reviewed and recommended my book 🙂

I hope you take the time to check out my fellow bloggers’ sites and if you haven’t already done so, my book You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper – you know I’m just going to keep bringing it up until you do.

Have you read my book already? Leave a comment about what you did or didn’t like!

No More Excuses! Why it’s Time For You to Travel – An Excerpt from You Can Keep Your Adventure. Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper

pr-planeIn anticipation of the upcoming release of my travel guide You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper, I have modified the penultimate chapter to give you a taste of the kind of insight (and humor) you can expect.

Just a brief word of caution, I’m going to be blunt: Get out of your chair!!!

“But, wait!” you might say, followed by any number of excuses with varying degrees of legitimacy. I don’t want to hear it. If you’ve been following this blog that means you’re fully informed and therefore no longer unaware of all that you’re missing. Hear me out as I break down your excuses with both how and why it’s time for you to start traveling.

I Don’t Have Enough Money to Travel

Do you honestly think anything so lame as money would stop a real traveler from traveling? Granted, how and in what style you travel is dictated by your finances; but it should never be the determining factor to go or not go. So you don’t have much money; big deal! Most of my adult life I was just above the financial waterline myself. The key is in setting priorities. For example, which will mean more to you in another ten years – a new TV or that cruise you booked for a steal? By keeping your burdens as light as possible and setting aside a little at a time, most people this side of the poverty line can at least do something.

If money is really tight – and believe me; I know what that feels like – why not try something of short duration and close to home? Can’t afford an air ticket? Take the train or do a road trip. Maybe it’s not as exotic as you would like, but it can still encapsulate all that is good about the act of traveling; and the deposit in your memory bank will be greater than the withdrawal from your real one.

I Don’t Have Time to Travel

I’ve got one word for you – lame! Nobody has enough time to do everything they want to do, so it again comes down to priorities. Just as you would drop your loose change into a jar, scrounge up as many vacation days as you can. Budget your time so that you can steal away – even if it’s just for a weekend. No one says you have to spend half a year backpacking through Asia. I myself have never been away longer than three and a half weeks at a clip. It’s not the quantity but the quality the counts, just as it does in every other aspect of life. If traveling is really something you want to do, you will find the time to do it. I know you’re busy; I am too, but that still doesn’t count as a valid excuse. Nice try, though.

I Don’t Know How to Plan a Trip

I believe you. With so many options and variables, even those who work in the industry sometimes feel like their head is about to explode. But no one is saying you have to do it all yourself. Find yourself a knowledgeable travel agent or talk to someone who knows the drill. For example, this blog is full of ideas and advice. If you lack confidence, start with something small; a cruise, a road trip, an all-inclusive. Once you recognize that you’re a reasonably intelligent human being and that this isn’t advanced Quantum Physics, your confidence and sense of adventure can only grow.

I’m Scared

I’m not going to patronize you and say that there’s nothing to be worried about. The world is a scary, unstable place. But you know what? The same is true where you live. To overcome your fears you have to first learn why you have them. I realize this might be unpleasant. Finding the root of your fears is like giving a prostate exam – uncomfortable even if you do manage to put your finger on it. Still, all it takes is to realize that the benefits far outweigh the risk, and much like that exam, it will leave you with greater peace of mind.

Traveling is a Hassle. I’d Rather Just Read About It

OK, it’s time for me to pull out the big guns. Let me tell you about the best meal I’ve ever eaten. It was in the restaurant of a tiny hotel overlooking a valley on the Italian island of Ponza. First came the antipasto – a delicious medley of fresh olives and cheese bathed in a light drizzle of olive oil. Next came the rice balls and potato croquettes. After that the waiter brought out a heaping dish of linguini with shrimp topped by a dusting of fresh-ground parmesan cheese. Finally, after well over an hour of eating, came the main course – baked swordfish that was caught just that morning. I’d describe it further but it’s hard to see through all the tears welling up in my eyes at the memory alone. Suffice to say it was fabulous, especially when washed down by salad, dessert and a potent bottle of the local wine.

Now why would I torture you (and myself) by describing in great detail this delicious feast? To illustrate the downside of living solely through description. Maybe with lots of effort I can convey the crispiness of the rice balls; the soft texture of the pasta; the heady flavor of the wine that was likely bottled right there in the basement – but I can tell you truthfully; it doesn’t compare to actually experiencing it firsthand.

Have I made my point? Travel is the same thing. You can read about the Taj Mahal, but witnessing it in person is a whole different animal. I can tell you about how charming the Brazilian town of Parati can be, but until you’ve walked those uneven cobblestone streets bathed in half-light to the sound of a street musician, it’s all just theoretical. I know traveling can be a hassle – nobody likes being on a plane for long stretches of time – but it still doesn’t replace making the scenes you’ve heard described here your own.

I’m a Quadriplegic with Anxiety Disorders Chained to a Radiator in the Basement

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this exact same excuse (actually, I can) but if this is you, I will readily concede that your excuse is valid. In fact I really hope that you’ve enjoyed this post. From the sound of things, it doesn’t seem like you’ve got much else going for you.

Though I’m sure there are many more excuses you can come up with, I don’t have time to address them all. I think that in all things, anyone actively looking for an excuse can find one. I don’t feel any particular rancor toward those that do. I just feel kind of sad. Along with relationships, experiences are among the most valuable things a person can ever have. Missing out on that great adventure is akin to never meeting a person that would one day be one of your dearest friends. So don’t let that happen to you. I know your chair is comfy. I know you might already be in your PJ’s. Just start making your travel plans and leave the excuses for someone else – because I’m not buying them.

If you haven’t already done so, check out the preview of You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper by clicking here and stay tuned to this blog for more release details.

What’s a 47-Letter Word For ‘Up’?

Winter Street Scene, Helsinki, Finland
Winter Street Scene, Helsinki, Finland

I’ve got nothing against the Finns. During my brief sojourn in Finland they were nothing if not polite, helpful and friendly. Their language however, is a different story. I have never seen so many characters in one paragraph than I did in Helsinki during December of 2011. Considering I arrived in the morning after an overnight flight from JFK, it is conceivable that my impressions were tainted by the effects of jet lag. But there’s no way around it: Finnish is a difficult language with an abundance of letters in seemingly every word. And don’t even get me started on the double vowels. For the rest of the trip, any time a waiter or customs official seemed to be taking a long time to do whatever it is they were doing, it inevitably led to one of us saying, “He’s probably doing a Finnish crossword puzzle,” which would likely use up the majority of daylight hours your average Finn has available in the winter months. I shudder to think at what a classified ad would cost. Probably $100 just to say: For Sale.


Linguistics aside, the rest of my Finnish experience was rather uncomplicated and simple. A 20-30 minute bus ride from Vantaa Airport brings you to the heart of Helsinki. Cable cars compete with other traffic through an architectural mix of modern and classic buildings all with that hard to describe Scandinavian look. The subway is clean and easy to navigate, with underground shopping venues that seemed a particularly wise location in December.

A Quiet Corner of Soumenlinna Fortress
A Quiet Corner of Soumenlinna Fortress

Just a short ferry ride from the harbor is a cluster of islands that make up one of the world’s largest maritime forts, the Soumenlinna Fortress. This World Heritage Site was good for a few hours of meandering the ramparts, giant cannons and support buildings, and if there were a few extraneous vowels, no one seemed to mind. When I left for India later that evening, I drifted off to sleep imagining what Wheel of Fortune would be like in Finland. (Contestant: I’d like to buy an ‘A’. Pat Sajack: There are 29 A’s)

My return voyage also brought me through Helsinki for one night, allowing me some time to do some shopping and walk the amazingly orderly streets, leading us to muse at how ironic it would be to navigate the traffic chaos of India only to get run over in a Finnish crosswalk. It also allowed me to participate in the quintessential Finnish experience of a hot sauna, which basically consisted of me sitting in a steamy wood-paneled room with five naked Finnish men. To combat the absurdity of the scene, I directed my eyes to the floor and my mind to trying to decipher what they were saying along with trying to conceive exactly what sound thirteen consecutive ‘A’s’ would make. When I felt my pores had released enough toxins, I politely gathered up the damp complimentary butt napkin you take in with you, and bid them all good night.

It’s been several years since my jitney to Helsinki, and while I don’t see a particular reason to return, I am glad that I saw it. I’m sure it is even better in the spring and summer months when the weather is warm and the days are as long as the words. There might even be enough time for a crossword puzzle or two. Just please…no more vowels!

Share Your Love For All Things Travel With A Gift From!

Whether it’s a custom tee, bucket list design or personalized departure or arrivals board, Custom Travel Art can create the perfect gift for the traveler in your life – even if that traveler is you! Browse our collection now for the perfect travel gift.