After a week in Europe, the first rain of my trip came on the day I was driving from Lisbon to the Algarve region in the southwestern part of Portugal. It was the perfect day to be in a car, as I could only imagine myself slipping and sliding up and down Lisbon’s precarious hills on slick, unevenly tiled sidewalks.
I grew up in New Bedford, Massachusetts, a city where 30% of the residents are of Portuguese descent. I grew up with many Portuguese friends, my favorite pizza was covered with linguica, a Portuguese sausage, and every Easter morning my mom would stand in a long line at the bakery to pick up the Portuguese sweet bread that she’d ordered weeks in advance. Ironically, while I have traveled across Europe from Iceland to Turkey and Finland to Spain, I had missed Portugal, so this summer I decided it was time to make my first visit. After a few days in England, I flew into Lisbon and got my first taste, literally and figuratively, of Portugal.
I think SuperShuttle has a vendetta against me. Last May, as I was heading off to Europe, I waited patiently in front of my building for the familiar blue van to pull up and whisk me off to the airport, but it never materialized. I kept getting texts from them saying they were outside my apartment waiting for me, but they were simply not there. I kept telling them I was in front of my building. They kept telling me I was simply not there. And then they said they had waited long enough and had to get their other passengers to the airport and were leaving. How do you leave if you’ve never arrived?
A relatively recent phenomenon that is becoming increasingly popular has been dubbed, “Bleisure Travel”: the combining of a business trip with leisure travel. Business travelers who have a few days of meetings or a conference to attend may schedule a few days of pleasure travel before or after having fulfilled their professional responsibilities. A couple of days in New York for meetings may be followed by a weekend to explore the city; a conference in Hawaii might provide the chance to spend a few leisurely days on Maui before heading home.
If Australia is “down under,” then surely New Zealand should be called, “Farther Down Under. Over 1,000 miles southeast of Sydney, New Zealand is about as close as you can get to Antarctica without actually being there…
One of the greatest gifts of working in academia is being awarded a sabbatical. Every seven years, professors may apply for a sabbatical leave during which they work on some academic project and are released from all their other duties for a semester. In Spring of 2003 I was awarded my first sabbatical, and while I spent much of my time conducting a risk perception survey of people living close to the volcanic peaks of Vesuvius and Etna in Italy, I also took a Circum-Pacific trip in February and March to explore that part of the world for the first time. I bought a ticket that allowed me to fly in a big circle around the Pacific Rim for a couple of months, stopping as many times as I wanted- so long as I did not reverse direction. I started in Thailand, then on to Bali, Australia and New Zealand, and finally to Tahiti. I’ve written about Tahiti in another blog post, but now I will share the details of my first trip to Australia, followed by a second chapter on New Zealand.
I’m truly the king of road trips, having first driven cross country when I was 18. Since then I’ve made at least 30 round-trips from coast to coast. But by far my most ambitious journey was in summer of 2005 when I drove east from San Francisco to Boston via Texas, Tennessee, and Virginia. On the westward return trip, I drove as far west as Montana, took a sharp right turn and drove to Alaska before working my way back down the coast to California. During the trip I kept a detailed journal of my experience, and so ride along with me on an adventure to our most remote and northern state.