Dispatches from the Boulevard of Broken Dreams and other travel observations

About me and why I am doing this


What can I say? I plan to write about travel without invoking, relying on or encouraging bucket list thinking. Instead, I offer up both my own experience and as importantly my education over how I came to travel as I do. These stories are examples of how I have been learning to not to get trapped by convential limitations, both mine and anyone else’s.

I am 65 at the time this blog begins. I have 5 kids all of whom are grown and some of whom have married and even provided my ex and me with some grandkids. I have an ex wife with whom I raised those 5 great kids. We get along fine due to a mutual focus on merciless sarcasms as our main means of communication. She is better at it than I am, which I think comes from me providing her with more material.

Aside from them, a central focus in my life has been travel. And now I find I can do more of it because of not having significant constraints of job or family. I don’t have to plan and implement family vacations anymore. Much as I do enjoy them. I just can do what I want now and how I want to.

That doesn’t mean this blog is aimed only at people with similar freedoms. It just means that I have become free to explore what about travel really brings me pleasure now. Hopefully that is helpful to anyone that has similar interests.

And how do I travel? It is not exactly a normal way for an American of my vintage.

I travel now very lightly, between 15 and 25 lbs on my back (7 to 11 kg) with the goal to be less than 20 lbs most of the time. It all fits in my carry-on sized backpack and in a side satchel.

I use public transport as much as I can. If a route could involve a ferry I will go out of my way to take it. My next priority will be a train. A coach or city bus works fine too. I look for trips where not only CAN the trip be made without taking my car, but the trip will actually be better because of leaving it at home. A car is after all just one more thing you bring from home that has to be cared for. I go on many car trips, but if I can figure out how to not take it, I will leave it at home.

So, I don’t have anything to push. I don’t have any products to sell. I don’t have any bucket lists to promote or share. I will write a lot about places that have been great experiences, but I will try to use each of those to further illustrate how I am traveling and not just be a story of pure fabulousness. If a vista takes my breath away, it’s all the more so due to the surprise of discovering it in an unusual way. I have a mindset and I think that is the key to really enjoyable travel. Not the stuff you buy that is supposed to make it all convenient or the lists you check off.

I will sometimes mention an inn or a person that provided great service to me along the way. I think great service should be rewarded with recognition. However, I am mindful that these mentions could themselves tend to create lists for readers to go by. This blog is not going to be a travel guide which lists off recommended places to stop or to get something. The travel guide mentality is in fact one of the things I really don’t like about travel as sometimes practiced. Guides, like a bucket list, are finite and limited. They send everyone off in the same direction, stopping at all the same places. Travel, for me, should bring out the opposite in us, seeking not what is already known and recommended but the multitude of experiences which serendipity brings us. I mention these people as simply as a thank you for good service rendered. But in no way does that mean that I am saying they will be the only, or even perhaps the best, at what they do. I have neither the credentials nor the experience needed to offer up those sorts of suggestions, even if I wanted to.

Now, aside from all of that there is also the simple desire here to share experiences. I am not on other modes of social media such as Facebook. I do miss getting family and friends news from those. But not enough to put up with all the negatives. And I am told others have missed my updates on my travels. So some of this is simply to fill that need, with the expectation that some of you out there might just wish to see what I might be up to. Maybe not, but some have politely suggested this is so.

Perhaps the best piece of advice I have ever given anyone writing a legal brief was: “unless you are Quentin Terantino, we write stories chronologically.” As you will see, at least at the beginning here I have failed to take my own advice. Though I will jump around between different trips to make different points, I will try and tell a trip in order if that makes the story better understood.

A word on the name of this blog. Ditch is a name which a couple of my nieces sometimes use for me, Uncle Ditch. It originated with the obvious joke of calling me by a name more suited to a Bluesman from the Delta when in fact I was only playing, and badly at that, a baritone ukulele. I really enjoy sarcasm, even when aimed squarely at my own forehead. Though I rarely pick up that instrument anymore, the moniker sometimes survives and I find it useful to use when dealing with something of a public nature. Like this blog. So there it is.

Those same nieces, Farrin and Mariela, helped me set this whole thing up, generously giving up their time and adding their creativity which I sorely needed. So they had some influence on the name. In a way, the name is a small part of my thank you for their great work and contributions.

All content in this blog, written and photographic are protected under copyright ©️ 2019 D Abbott