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More about Caroline…

I always wanted to travel. When I was little, my parents went to Europe for two weeks. Even though I was with my grandparents, who bought me a lot of ice cream and let me stay up past my bedtime, I distinctly remember feeling peeved at being left behind. (I mean, what couple doesn’t want to bring their four-year-old with them to Paris? I still can’t imagine what they were thinking.)   

Windsor Castle, guaranteed to delight royalty watchers and history geeks alike.

Thrilled to be at Westminster Abbey and blissfully unaware of how embarrassing both the haircut and the hot pink and polka dots would one day be.

I did eventually make it out of the country. My mom took me to Europe for the first time when I was eleven and I fell in love. I especially loved London and wanted to never leave. It is still my favorite and most-visited city, and I don’t think I could ever tire of it. I was very sad when it was time to move on to Paris and was cranky for the rest of the trip (I know, ungrateful child). My mother was still giving me a hard time about this twenty years later.

I am one of those people for whom trip planning is a huge part of the fun. When not traveling, I’m at home happily dreaming up my next adventure. Though I can be a little obsessive about the details (just a little), when I’m on the road, I’m pretty flexible. I like the peace of mind of having a structure, even if I decide to chuck it halfway through.

Doubtless I had planned a full itinerary for this day, but the cozy restaurant and snowy view proved a stronger draw.

I firmly believe there is no single “right” way to travel. People who get preachy about “authentic” versus “inauthentic” travel experiences, or, worse, shame others for taking a different approach, annoy the heck out of me and should be condemned to a week’s penance at Euro Disney. I think the only travel “fail” is to fail to get anything out of the experience at all. 

We all have our own way that we have to discover for ourselves. Actually, human beings are pretty complicated, so I’ll amend that to, we all have our own ways. Maybe this blog will help you to find one of yours.

One way to travel apparently involves sticking one’s head in a steel pipe.

What can you expect to find here? Mainly posts about travel, peppered with a fair dose of history nerdiness. Plus the occasional “how-to” or packing guide, because, frankly, fitting seven-weeks’ worth of liquid toiletries into my 3-1-1 bag might have been the proudest moment of my adult life. At some point I’m going to have to share that. 

While I sometimes fantasize about dropping everything and roaming the world full-time, that’s not going to happen in the foreseeable future. Partly because of my job, in which I impersonate a responsible adult five days a week, but more than anything else, I would miss my dog. I have a nine-year-old mutt who kindly allows me to live in his apartment, tend to his every need, and delude myself that I am the one running the show around here.

No way could I leave this little guy behind for months at a time!

Even more about Caroline…

I really, really hate flying. Like heart-in-throat-at-every-bump level of hate. But I hate the idea of not seeing the world even more, so I grin and bear it (actually, it’s more like grimace and bear it).

I am excellent at reading words backwards, and at a fast pace, too. I am still looking for a way to make this talent either useful or lucrative.

I usually wear sunglasses, even on slightly overcast days. This is partly a habit I picked up from my mother–who wore her own sunglasses with a distinct Jackie O. flair–and partly due to light sensitivity. Alas, I am not often mistaken for a celebrity in disguise.

Sunglasses, one of my travel must-haves.

I love to read and I tend to reread my favorites (sort of like I tend to revisit, or really want to revisit, my favorite destinations). I read a lot of history, of course, but I love fiction too. These days, I lean heavily toward fantasy. I love, love, love the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series (Dear George R. R. Martin, please publish the sixth book soon!), but I’ve soured on the HBO version. I’m also unapologetically pro-Harry Potter. I’ve read the whole series at least half a dozen times; at least two of those rereads were after my thirtieth birthday. Right now I’m reading Susanna Clarke’s “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel”–which is awesome and gets bonus points for being set in my favorite city, London!

I love purple–a lot. I often squeal in a manner appropriate only to much younger people and the odd zoo animal when I encounter it in unexpected places. I may or may not have a purple kitchen.

One of my fantasies is to cross the Atlantic on a luxury ocean liner, first class, and traveling with an enormous set of designer luggage (complete with hat box and steamer trunk). I would be friendly, but aloof, and never take off my sunglasses. The other passengers would spend the crossing wondering about the mysterious stranger and spinning crazy tales about me. Unfortunately, along with the fact that I will never be that rich, and that designer luggage isn’t my style (heck, matched luggage is more put together than I will ever be), I think this fantasy could only happen in the 1920s or 30s. Alas.

Need another reason why travel is awesome? Consider the last time you saw French Revolution-themed public bathrooms.

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Want to get in touch?  You can email me at historycoloredglasses [at] gmail [dot] com.

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