A Travellerspoint blog

It begins...


sunny 40 °F
View European Adventure on danza's travel map.

The adventure has unofficially begun, and, hopefully not indicative of the future, started with a stumble.

My European adventure I suppose has not officially begun yet, as I still remain on this side of the pond, but I’ve set off from home with just my backpack (and a few other things that won’t be coming to Europe). The first stop was Fairfield, NJ for the wedding of 2 friends from Cornell. Ironically Nick, the groom, had been my travel companion the LAST time I ventured east for adventure and excitement. That trip had been 5 weeks of backpacking thru European cities - a trip that was magical and eye-opening, and kicked off my ongoing passion for travel. That trip set the bar for this trip unfairly high and resulted in stories that I barely believe now. If material runs short during times in my journey, perhaps I will break out the journal that I kept from that trip and retell some of the best ones.

Anyways, I thought this first leg of the trip would be relatively easy, but I was jarringly reminded how far the public transpo system in the US is behind that in Europe. Anxious to meet up with the many Cornell people who would be in town for the wedding, I hopped on an Amtrack train at 8:45 am in Rochester, set to arrive in Penn Station at 3:50. A quick jog over to Port Authority would have had me on a bus to arrive near the hotel by 5:30 with plenty of time to get settled and what-not before our dinner reservations. I’m not sure when or why the delays hit, but following hours of sleeping / reading / surfing the internet / rinse & repeat, I realized that it was 4 pm and that we were most definitely not in NYC. A quick inquiry told me that we’d be about 2 hours late into Penn Station, which caused only rolled eyes and a few “I should expect this by now” from some of the regular passengers. Thank goodness the trains in Europe are actually competent and show up near their planned arrival times (I hope).

When our train finally pulled in, I prepared the always daunting task of navigating the streets of NY lugging luggage behind me - in this case my big pack, a second smaller CamelBak pack, and a garment bag with my suit.
Comical it may have been but crowded bus stations and buses were no fun. Thankfully after ditching some items and the suit, I’ll be tromping around Europe with just my big pack.

Anyway, I make it to Port Authority and my 193 bus out to NJ like a NYC pro, and when we’re barely a mile from the terminal, the bus breaks down - OF COURSE. Yada yada yada… the get us a new bus after 20 minutes and I’m finally on my way. Onwards on my journey and on my way to seeing lots of good friends from college.

The weekend proceeds with what I’ve come to expect from a typical and awesome wedding weekend of Cornellians and DKEs. Too much drinking, not enough sleep, almost the right amount of shenanigans (we are at a wedding, and obviously are classy people :)). The wedding and the bride were beautiful (I’ll just post 1 picture). I guess the groom didn’t look bad either. The quick bullet point highlights:
- incredible looking wedding party (DKEs not withstanding)
- A friend perform the ceremony (Universal Life Church - WADDUP!)
- An incredible spread of hors d'oeuvres during the cocktail hour (Ceviche station, seriously?). I gave up and accepted the fact that my appetite would be doomed for the main course
- Great DJ with my personal favorite thing to add to my personal wedding PinIt page (in my head) - Extreme Percussion. Basically just a dreadlocked guy in front of the DJ booth rocking out on a small drumset with the music
- Open bar but I’m too busy dancing to drink all that much
- Party til 12, after party til 1:30, after after party til 3 or so
- Good times, good memories for all. Hopefully even more so for the happy married couple! They have an awesome sounding honeymoon planned with a great combo of adventure/extreme activities and lying around relaxing on a beach.
I’m sure I left some stuff out, but I try not to make these too wordy. I was surprised to learn that a number of Cornellians have been reading the blog thus far. I guess that other people pay far more attention to FB than I do. Got more than a few comments that I need to spice it up, apparently I’m losing people’s interest. So for those people - here’s the important thing: I land in Europe on March 20th. After that my posts will actually about foreign lands, beautiful maidens, fearsome dragons and everything else that lives outside this continent. I’m going to keep writing until then because I kinda enjoy it, but feel free to ignore posts until then (or after then - no sweat off my back :)).

Life’s a game made for everyone
And love is the prize

Posted by danza 19:59 Archived in USA Tagged wedding nick begins cornell raina Comments (0)

Adios Madison

leaving people & places behind

It’s hard to leave a place you love.

Obvious statement maybe, but true. Hell, it was hard leaving Vail/Denver last week, and I was only there for 6 days. Leaving a great place like Madison after getting to know the people and places for 3.5 years is a whole ‘nother kind of effort.

I know that I should be rejoicing for my freedom (from work) and my upcoming adventures, but it is really hard when I know what I’m leaving behind, but don’t yet know what I’m looking forward to. I remember feeling the same way before leaving for college - no doubt that the future will be awesome, but what I have right now is pretty damn great too.

I expect that this is not the last time I will feel this melancholy excitement (or is it optimistic regret?) over the next few months. I know from experience that I will form a special sort of bond with many of the places I travel to, and no matter what is next, a part of me will want to stay in that place with those people I meet. Such is the fate of us travelers who want to see the world.

This is not me trying to illicit pity or anything - I know I’m extremely lucky and hope that great experiences will be coming soon. But anyone with a heart can see how it can be bittersweet. Madison will always hold a special place in my heart and my history. I was friends with a lot of very cool people and together we did some awesome things. Now follows a nostalgic “pat myself on the back” account of a fraction of those awesome things. I hope those who knew me in Madison will see something that we shared together and smile. I know I always will (as will my right calf :)).

Great parties thrown at 304Loko and on various boats and lakes around Madison
Badger FOOTBALL, basketball, and hockey games
Beer (and wine) festivals - Great Taste, Dells on Tap, Wine and Cheese, Beer and Cheese, Bockfest
MUFA games followed by the Dane (Mini G’s and Twerkaholics holla!)
The City Place porch (did this never have a proper name?) - BBQs, Beer Die, parties, a boxing match (1 - 0 baby!)
Tyrol Basin - site of learning to snowboard and my 1st concussion
Frisbee tournaments all over the Midwest (especially Hallowinona, Sandblast, CHC) and outside the Midwest (TiV - GET ON MY LEVEL)
Tailgating at Brewers and Packers games
Trips to Chicago (Lollapalooza, NYE, St Patty’s Day, Book of Mormon, North Coast)
The Union Terrace
Farmer’s Market
The mysterious forgotten nights, only 1 of which ended with painful injuries
Biking into work
The Case of the Missing Pumpkins
GoT and Settlers (keep it up NERDS)
The U.P. for snowboarding and backpacking
Laying out on the soft sand of volleyball courts (Go Sandy Clams!)
Trampoline Dodgeball
Camping trips and solo keg stands
Sky Diving with 25 BALLERS
The Lake House :)


That’s about all I’ve got for now. Please add comments with other incredible times I might have forgotten, or what your favorite is. They all have crazy stories attached - buy me a beer and I’ll tell you all about them.

For a quick life update I am currently in a car driving east thru Indiana. My wonderful parents flew into Madison after a cruise to help me clean and pack up my apartment. And I needed all the help I could get :). Also thanks to those Madisonians who came to help - special mention to Jessica Gulliver who teamed up with my mom for the cleaning the remnants of 3.5 years in that apartment - Jess: “I wish I could unsee some of the things I’ve seen”. My Dad and I spent most of the day becoming real life Tetris masters while packing the car and storage unit. Within the week I will be in NYC for a wedding, and then will bounce between there and Boston until I fly to Stockholm on March 19th. Can’t wait!

Be well and spread joy!

PS - I think I need to come up with some sort of signature way to end these things. Something like “You stay classy San Diego”. Failure on the 1st attempt :)

Posted by danza 22:22 Archived in USA Tagged driving friends leaving madison nostalgia Comments (0)

There comes a time

For throwing caution to the wind

snow 10 °F
View European Adventure on danza's travel map.

So! My first blog post - how exciting! I’ve had this account for a couple weeks now but could never get it started. I became inspired a few nights ago after going to a UW mini course for Travel Blogging. The class itself didn’t contain too much, but it got me thinking about the blog and how to get going on it… and I realized I’ve just got to start writing. Not wait until I start traveling and assume it’ll just start and be easy. Besides, this is an exciting time here in the US- I’m drawing into the final stretch and I’m gettin real on preparations. (Going away party - CHECK; Giving away possessions not worth storing - CHECK; Actually packing the rest into my storage/car - ways to go)

It is a big goal of mine to maintain an entertaining (or inspiring?) account of my travels. I guess just something that people would want to read. Small problem is that I’ve virtually never written for fun or anything. No journals, no short stories, no love sonnets to unnamed crushes. So I have no idea what my “voice” is, or what the “theme” or “motif” of my blog is going to be. (Note to self: Too many “quotes”). "Creative Writing" has never been a passion of mine, but traveling is, so maybe this will work

There are so many travel blogs out there, how can I distinguish mine? One popular angle is to come up with a gimic or topic to focus on. One guy in the class had a blog in which he was 283 days into 365 things I’ve never done before, in 365 days. Very cool idea! I’m probably going to check out his blog before I turn in. But I don’t (currently) have a gimic or tag line like that.

But then I thought about, ‘Who am I writing this for?’ Am I trying to become a popular, well-known travel blogger? Even if I did want that (who the fuck wouldn’t), I’m pretty sure it is not going to immediately happen with my first attempt. So I think my answer is that I’m doing it for myself and those people back in the States (or wherever) that I know and love, and we’ll see if it spreads beyond that. For now, I’ll try to keep in simple, insightful, and fun to read until I actually figure out what I’m doing.

HOPE YOU ENJOY (don’t you just hate all caps?)

Posted by danza 11:50 Archived in USA Tagged night start intro Comments (2)

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