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Tuesday, June 15, 1999

I've been trying to write about what I did in New York City last fall so I can put it up in my travel website, but it's so hard to really say what it was like. I usually end up with a "I went here and saw this and did that" but that doesn't really say what it was like. I can't explain the joy and boredom and happiness and excitement and even fear that I feel when I travel, especially when I travel by myself.

I love traveling but after a while I just want to go home. It's like there is just too much to take in. I get a real shiver when I start out on a trip, even a day trip, and love to watch planes take off and Greyhound buses head toward the interstate. I enjoy just the movement of travel and like to sit on a bus and just watch the country roll by.

I go to museums and visit historic sites and I enjoy them. I love to see what people have done and places they have lived and how they lived. I am always amazed at what small places most people lived in. Still that's more to give me some place to go. A goal to walk toward. What I really love to do when I travel is just to walk through a town.

I like to see what the street signs are like and what kind of neighborhoods they have and what the town thinks is important. This is why I so enjoy volkswalks when I travel. They take you to the the "important" places, of course, but to get from one place to another and to fill out the 10 kilometers they also take you through places that you wouldn't normally go to. They take you through ordinary neighborhoods that are often the most interesting.

I don't shop when I travel, except to pick up necessities such as food or sunblock, I'm not interested in finding the perfect little restaurant. I do just fine with a grilled cheese or a hamburger. I enjoy finding inespensive little restaurants, but that's not why I travel. I collect roads and counties but it's more to just go new places than to simply collect.

Now that I've discovered the internet, I enjoy taking pictures and putting them on my website, but I'm not a good photographer and they're more for me to remember than for other people to admire. In fact my whole website is to help me remember. Even this journal is for me to look back and remember and see where I've been and where I've gone, just like travel. With the journal I'm just traveling through my mind and thoughts.

Now I can watch television and see a shot of New York City and think "I remember that place, I walked down that street." I can watch a movie of San Francisco and think "I climbed that hill. I remember that building". I can read a book and, if it's about a place I've been to, remember what a place was like. I can meet someone and, if I had been to the where they come from, remember what the place they came from was like.

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Rachel Aschmann 1999.
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