The Labyrinth

We write to teach ourselves to speak with others, to record the journey into the labyrinth.
~ Anais Nin

Sab's Top 10 Totally Offbeat Paris Things to Do

Sab's Top Ten Totally Offbeat Paris Things To Do: I usually skip lists like these. I've seen similar lists written about Austin, even from major travel sources, and they almost always miss the best parts. Nonetheless, Sab hooked the hell outta me when I read "discovering the city through walking, and are things that can be enjoyed outside". Walking is my favorite form of exploration, and I spend more time outside than inside. When it comes to the outdoors, I'd go so far as to call myself an addict. And the list? I'll let you read for yourself. I call it a win.

Fav phrase of the day, /w thx to Lili: (French) "ne 'tinquiètes pas"; "Do not worry"

The Cave Hostels of Cappadocia, Turkey

Turkey Goreme - Backpacker Cave Hostel
Photo by Cindy Dam

Squats - The Cave Hostels of Cappadocia, Turkey: There was a moment during last week's #TNI that caused me to do a double-take. The question was: "[What is the most] Ground-breaking hotel or hostel? Why?". The answer that caught my eye was from @LindsayTessis: "Loved the hostels in Cappadocia, Turkey - they're all built in caves! I mean, who doesn't want to sleep in a cave at least once?" I'm sorry, did she just say "cave hostel"?

Now, I've stayed in caves before. Spain, America, Mexico... you got it. Love 'em. But an actual hostel built into a cave? I immediately checked into these magical little grottoes for travelers in more detail. After all, some places just throw around the word "hostel" without knowing what it actually means. Then I started seeing cave hostels popping up with things like "free internet" and "breakfast included" and I was sold. These. Caves. Are. AWESOME!

I've already been jonesing to go to Turkey, and these cave hostels literally pepper the region of Cappadocia. Eight euros to stay in a cave with net-access in Turkey? I'm definitely landlocked on the wrong continent. The more I hear outta Turkey, the better it sounds. Seriously, Lindsay said it perfectly: "who doesn't want to sleep in a cave at least once?"

There is a huge list of cave hostels [Here on HostelBookers]. Last week's #TNI centered on innovations in travel, easily making it my favorite "Travelers' Night In" so far. Check out the #TNI Roundup [Here on ZipSetGo]. If you've stayed in one or more of these, and have favorites or suggestions, leave a comment or send me a tweet.

Song of the Day: [Click to Download]
San Jaya Prime - May Angels Take You [Dying Vicariously]
"May Angels Take You [Dying Vicariously]" by San Jaya PrimeDisclosure: This week's Song of the Day was produced by myself. Shhh... it's a secret.

Understand Ourselves

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.
~ Henry David Thoreau

Squats - Sedona Hostel

Squats - Hostel Sedona [Closed]: Sedona, Arizona draws in travelers from all around the world. When I was there in 2004, there was a shaman named Andre staying in the hostel who'd come all the way from Russia. I haven't checked the world map in the last few hours, but, when last I checked, Russia wasn't what you'd call "in walking distance" from Sedona. I don't know though... opinions vary.

Sedona once had a hostel. It was real. I saw it. Hell, I even have a picture... a very, very bad quality picture. I'll be sure to assail you with that here in a bit. But that's not the point. The point is that they once had a hostel. While it was everything that you would want in a hostel, it was faced with two hard facts: no buses or other means of transport bring travelers into the city who would normally stay at a hostel; and, the amount of traffic it did draw wasn't enough to compete with escalating land prices. Just months after I left in '04, the hostel shut its doors for good. Until there's a commuter line into the city, it's unlikely that another hostel will have an easy time of replacing it.

You can't miss the place where it once stood. When you're coming up from I17, it was on the left side of the hill just before the intersection where you'd either turn towards Flagstaff or Cottonwood. With the dining room doubling as a party area, and with no curfew, almost every conversation quickly became animated and would carry on into the long hours of the night. As with every hostel, travelers would gather to share tips and stories from the day... before making plans for the day to come. Anyone who's been to Sedona knows that a day can be spent bouldering, browsing art, writing at a cafe or just listening to live music. There's always plenty to talk about with other travelers.

As stated in my previous post on Sedona, there are still legal boondocking sites where you can pitch a tent or park a car for the night. That's no replacement for what you'll find in a hostel, but it definitely covers the budget side of things. There are some boondocking sites listed [Here on The Wandering Hobo]. With Jerome just a hitch away, and with the natural artistic richness in Sedona, it gives us alternative travelers a remaining foothold into the city., about that photo I mentioned. It was taken with a disposable and it hasn't traveled well, but here's a shot from the back patio of the hostel:

Left to Right: Li, Ken, Mary

Related Posts:
The Last Hole in a Sedonan Wall

Song of the Day Westy - Cosmos [Click to Download]
"Cosmos" by Westy

Travel Fail, Travel Win

Double-hitter, one full of travel win... the other full of laughter at seven different travel fails. Let's kick it off with the win!

Why choose to travel solo? In eighty-eight days, Lauren is going to set sail on her travels... and she's going it solo. Bravo! Bravismo! This isn't a foolhardy jump into traveling solo without reason. Instead, Lauren's really nailed down some of the best benefits to meeting the horizon on your own terms and by yourself. Don't miss this article on Never-Ending Footsteps.

Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Travelers: If you've ever wanted to get travel wrong, then you're in luck! Landlopers has given the scrib to the seven habits that you can adopt to make sure you get the least out of your adventures. Who wants adventure anyways? That's what hotels are for.

Word of the day: (Spanish) "aberrante"; aberrant, deviant

One Glimpse

Would but the Desert of the Fountain yield
One glimpse--if dimly, yet indeed, reveal'd--
  to which the wilting traveler might spring,
As springs the trampled herbage of the field!

~Edward Fitzgerald's "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam"

12yr old girl's Zombie Haiku

This talented 12 year old girl handed in a Zombie Haiku for her assignment... and got into trouble with her school over it. Read for yourself, this is awesome!

Zombie Haiku
by Miss Tuesday Cain

Murder of the mind,
...all the zombies will have died.
Blood will fall like rain.

[poster version below]

Spread the word. If you love creativity, individuality and/or zombies, get this out to others who share the same love. Let peeps know that this is NOT trouble, this is talent! Just no biting! ...unless you're already a zombie.

Also on: [Tumblr] [Facebook] [Twitter] [Twitpic] [reddit]

This image is under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License, so feel free to tweet it, blog it or even modify it. While I designed it for her, I would prefer attribution go to Miss Tuesday Cain. It's her poem and her story. Click on the poster to go to Flickr.

12yr Old Girl's Zombie Haiku

Note: This week's RoadNews is a bit different, but creativity, individuality and self-expression are all firmly ingrained in the traveler's spirit... 'n this girl deserves our support. Also, I take personal offense to the fact that this happened in Austin. Zombies are not only a part of the culture here, but they're the life of the city... well, minus anything that really resembles any form of actual "life". Zombies need rights, too!

Update, April 14: Ryan Mecum, the author of the book "Zombie Haiku", sent out the best tweet about Tuesday's poem: "A 12yr old girl's in trouble for writing a zombie haiku in English class. Probably happened to Stephen King, too." He's absolutely right, I can only imagine that King spent years getting into trouble at school. Sending mad thanks to Ryan for the awesome reminder and the support.

The moment that changes everything

Untitled by Qynn Vee

Lesson - The moment that changes everything: You've been at the carnival for some time now. You've ridden the rides, you've laughed with your friends, and you've had more than your fair share of funnel cake. In fact, you shouldn't've shared that cotton candy a few minutes ago. You can feel it. The day has worn you out. You're ready to leave... except there's that one "friend" who wants to stay. Isn't there always? Your desire to leave is less than their desire to stay, and so you stay.

Day drags towards nightfall. You feel you could almost pass out or throw up, whichever comes first. Then it happens. The sun begins to set. The sky itself begins to color and dim. Is it just you, or has the fair become more quiet? Finally, as the last light of the day looses its hold on the night, the electric neon world of the carnival bursts into vivid life. Rides, booths, restaurants and games all explode in new colors of light. The air itself changes color, glowing in tandem with the neon rows of rainbow bulbs.

That surreal moment between day and night has passed. A new world is born. It's still the same fair that has tortured you for the past few hours, but it isn't. It's transformed. You feel energized--charged; dare I say, 'enchanted'? You can't believe that, just minutes ago, you felt like dying. Did someone change the music? You can feel the beat... the pulsing and breathing of the night itself. You feel like you could stay up all night in this new wonderland. Your own laughter grows louder, more energetic, joining the raised volume of the laughter from all around you.

This is the moment that changes everything--the moment when one world is born from the death of another. You turn to that one stubborn friend and you thank them. Without their bullheaded foolishness, you would've missed the magic of this moment... and you would've never known this world that had been hiding all around you.

Now, ask yourself: "Do you really believe I am talking about the carnival?"

Song of the Day: transient - crazy [Free from Dusted Wax]
"crazy" by transient

World's End

One cannot divine nor forecast the conditions that will make happiness; one only stumbles upon them by chance, in a lucky hour, at the world's end somewhere, and hold fast to the days, as to fortune or fame.
~ Willa Cather

Speakeasy - Starstruck

Speakeasy - Starstruck, NYC, NY: When the 2K ball-drop was approaching, my friend Marf 'n I got it into our skulls that we should see the ball drop in New York City. We couldn't afford the trip, but we went anyway. That left us homeless on the streets of NYC for two weeks. One of the places that gave us shelter was a little Eurodeli just a block or so away from Time Square, directly towards Hell's Kitchen.

This little 24-hour diner served everything from a cheap burger to a pricey plate 'o lobster. Everyone but the cooks were Italian, and, coincidentally enough, were all called "Nick". Hmmm. And the Mexican cooks were all called "Cookie". Nn'huh. When my friend Marf and I discovered this little jewel, we immediately had suspicions of mafioso activity. After seeing money changing pockets following a dog race, we were pretty much sure. Then there was the random guy who walked in, said nothin' to no one, walked downstairs with a duffel bag, then came up empty handed... leaving as quietly as he'd entered. Just a normal day at work?

After spending time with the deli's host on a second venture, he gave us his real name and told us to make the place our home. Every night, they would rope off the upstairs part of the diner. On a few nights, that's where the two of us would smoke and catch some Zzzs. This wouldn't be the last time that we were taken in by "the families", but it certainly was the first.

The night before the big ball-drop, the owner told us that we should stay with them. "You'll be safe here. No worries. An if police run in, don't you worry you any. We keep their riot gear down in the basement."

I haven't verified for myself that the building's gone, but that's what I've been told. Other than Marf, Richard the Dutchman, Omar from Morocco and myself, I don't know how many other people even remember the place. It was one of Chelly Wilson's three porn theaters on the block that'd been turned into a diner. The closest entry I could find for it on Yelp was [here]. Until I see for myself, I'll actually keep my hopes up on this one. It wasn't the kind of place that you'd expect to see go under without a fight.

Song of the Day: [Click to Download]
San Jaya Prime - May Angels Take You [Dying Vicariously]
"May Angels Take You [Dying Vicariously]" by San Jaya Prime

Venezuela's Tower of David

"A 45-Story Walkup Beckons the Desperate" from The New York Times: When David Brillembourg died in 1993, he left multiple straggling companies and an uncompleted skyscraper that has been called "The Tower of David". Since then, homeless families from around the city (and even other countries) have migrated to the tower and made it their home. They've even juryrigged an electrical system, brought in running water and have installed satellite dishes for television. I've read this article multiple times now, and have finally decided that I need to see the place myself. Also, I need to read the book "Shadow Cities" by Robert Neuwirth, as it covers communal squatting areas like these. Read the full article, there are a lot of lessons on economics, community, politics and human ingenuity to be learned here.

Not Fit For Travel

It is not fit that every man should travel; it makes a wise man better, and a fool worse.
~ Owen Feltham [source]