Category Archives: Travel Issues

Cara’s Blog Book Tour 2014 – Day 2

Book Cover - Cara Lopez LeeWelcome to Day 2 of my 2014 blog book tour! Please join me through October 15 as I celebrate Conundrum Press releasing the new edition of my memoir, They Only Eat Their Husbands: Love, Travel, and the Power of Running Away. Today I visit two blogs:

For travel lovers, today at I share safety tips on when to take the risk of talking to strangers to increase your chance for adventure: When To Talk To Strangers.

For writers and book lovers, today at the Conundrum Press blog I consider how writing a memoir illustrates the creative power of seeing life as a story:  Creating Our Lives as Stories.

Here’s where you can find my online tour through October 15:

BLOG BOOK TOUR, October 6-15, 2014
Celebrating the New Edition of Cara Lopez Lee’s Memoir,
They Only Eat Their Husbands:

October 6
Jim Heskett Blog
6 Questions with Author Cara Lopez Lee

October 7
Conundrum Press
Creating Our Lives as Stories

October 7
Travel Dudes
Travel Tip

October 8
The Paper Tiger
Long Time No See

October 9
The Blood Red Pencil
Here’s a Book In Your Eye

October 10
Everyday Underwear
The Wrong Direction

October 15
– Pubslush Blog
Women on Wednesday
– Murder is Everywhere
Long Time No See

Compassion Fares Without the Compassion – Why United Airlines is Dead to Me

This is a story about the death of a relationship…with an airline. But it requires me to briefly include the death of my Mom – that’s what I called the grandma who raised me. On May 29, I phoned Mom and for the first time in my life she had no idea who I was. She’d broken her femur a couple of months earlier and medications were increasing her dementia. I called the next day and was relieved she knew who I was again. She asked when I was coming to see her. She was in an LA nursing home, I was in Denver.

This is a story about the death of a relationship…with an airline.

On Friday, May 31, I booked a flight for the earliest day I could get away from other commitments, June 22. My hope was to see Mom again while there was a chance she’d remember me. I never considered booking a compassion fare, because she wasn’t precisely dying. She was 88, so she might live for years or days. I chose United Airlines, because: 1) I’d been a frequent flyer with United for about 14 years, and racking up miles with them earned me occasional free flights, and 2) Denver is their hub, so their flights tend to be reasonably priced.

Continue reading

Getting Kicked by Route 66: Part 10 – No Getting Sick in the Gateway Arch

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Last night, Steph and I were more lost than we’ve been yet on this road trip, when our car tripped over the brick and mortar of Saint Louis, Missouri’s oldest district: Laclede’s Landing, perched on the Mississippi River. As sunset bathed the brick in yore, olden, and ago, Steph used her cell phone to call her husband in Utah and asked him to book us a room for the night on He booked us at the WS Hotel and Spa, just three blocks from us, more cheaply and easily than we could have in person.

“No one could have done that on the original Route 66,” I said.

Steph passed this on to her husband, then relayed his response, “He said ‘That’s right, you guys are cheating, and he’s hanging up now.’”

Our car tripped over the brick and mortar of Saint Louis, Missouri’s oldest district.

We ate dinner at Hannegan’s Restaurant and Pub, where I had a delicious Irish stew with puff pastry topping, while Steph ate soups and salads in hopes of fending off the ongoing ailment that seems determined to choke the breath from her lungs.

Continue reading

GETTING KICKED BY ROUTE 66: Part 8 – A Sick Travel Partner & A Dead President

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Stephanie and I spent last night at the Springfield, Illinois Route 66 Hotel, with vintage autos parked in the lobby, and a V8 engine revving in our room — Steph snored and coughed with a vengeance. I suspect my sick travel partner will soon abandon this road trip. “California or bust” is one thing, but “California or die”? Not so much…though I am beginning to understand how the Donner Party could eat each other.

Stephanie and I spent last night at Springfield’s Route 66 Hotel, which has vintage autos in the lobby.

Steph’s lighthearted sarcasm about the tackiness of Route 66 is starting to smack of complaint, things like, “Y’know, there’s a reason they replaced this torn-up road with a freeway!” When I ask if she’s depressed, Steph says, “It’s not depression. It’s resignation.” In her defense, my responding to every inconvenience with “It’s an adventure!” is probably about as helpful as Shirley Temple tap-dancing for a migraine-sufferer.

Continue reading

HURLED INTO THE KENAI FJORDS: An Alaskan Adventure You Won’t Find in Travel Brochures – by Guest Trekker Laura JK Chamberlain

“-est”… That’s how I’d describe Alaska. It’s the United States’ furthest northwest state, with the Aleutian Islands reaching further west than Hawaii. It has North America’s highest mountain – Mount McKinley – the largest national park, the largest national forest, the globe’s third longest river system, and the world’s largest sub-polar ice field. The state is larger than most nations: divided in half, each half would still make the largest state in the Union. Lake Hood, four miles outside Anchorage, is the largest float-plane base in the world. Alaska boasts the northernmost railroad, in Fairbanks, the continent’s northernmost town, Barrow, and the southernmost tidewater glacier, Le Conte. It’s the lightest, darkest and perhaps boldest, harshest, prettiest place on the planet.

I heard the groans and felt the snap of calving glaciers.

My first trip to Alaska revealed characteristics of the Divine I’d never before imagined. Laden with supplies, I hiked across spongy tundra trying to imagine empty-handed Alaska Natives dwelling for more than 3,000 years in what appeared to be useless, barren land. I witnessed a bold land of non-stop daylight, heliotrope flowers, soaring eagles, black bears, blond grizzlies, moose, foxes, Dall sheep, caribou, snow hare, jumping salmon, humpback whales, puffins, and more. I heard the groans and felt the snap of calving glaciers. I watched forty-foot tides sweep over the deadly mud flats surrounding Cook Inlet and viewed lingering evidence of the 1964 earthquake – the most powerful quake in North American history.

Continue reading

EVERYBODY’S GOTTA GO SOMETIME – Bathroom Survival Stories for World Travelers

Whenever I write or read about travel, I focus on adventure, learning, beauty, maybe even making a difference. But whenever I talk about travel, whether with global trekkers or homebodies, at some point we end up giggling and gasping over the same subject: bathrooms. So, here’s the straight poop on three of my overseas toilet tales, which didn’t make the final cut of my travel memoir, They Only Eat Their Husbands. Please excuse the potty humor. It comes with the territory.

I wasn’t about to let a little killer diarrhea stop me from seeing the Taj Mahal.

Kunming, China

For the night, I’ve checked into a large hostel, a dim, dank, dismal place that’s not enticing at all. When I grabbed my backpacking towel and walked down the hall to the showers, I took one look and decided not to perform any ablutions until I arrive in Lijiang tomorrow. The stench from the trench toilet was foul, and the showers were parked right next to it, with suspicious pools of yellowish-brown water on the floor. Unfortunately, my bowels could not wait.

Continue reading

GETTING ON WITH IT – What a Traveler Picks Up and Lets Go

On every journey, I pick new things up and leave old things behind: belongings, attitudes, friendships. I love Alaska so much that it wasn’t until after my talk in Bellingham, Washington that I realized something had dislodged inside me on my last visit to the Last Frontier.

I had fun talking with the small but enthusiastic group at Village Books.

I had fun talking with the small but enthusiastic group at Village Books, yet my insides felt chaotic. I wondered why. Part of it was due to something I normally wouldn’t talk about here, but then, I suppose this is the perfect place to talk about it…

Continue reading