Tag Archives: travel

Stockholm Stream of Consciousness – Unedited

from: Casey Butler
to: Casey Butler
date: Sat, Nov 15, 2014 at 11:54 AM
subject: Stockholm11.15
mailed-by: gmail.com
: Important mainly because it was sent directly to you.

Hot choc may just end up being dinner. Seems like the Scandinavian thing to do.

Lies. Actually the largest portions of anywhere here, I think. Which makes it quasi-acceptable to pay like $19 for veg risotto. Sort of.

Swedish girls have beautiful hair. And beautiful everything else.

Swedish men are the same.

Surrounded by Viking stunnahs and the thing I most miss is talking with…

Everyone here actually wears Nordic sweaters.

A woman at the table next to me quite literally has hair down to her knees. How?!

Sent while at large.

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Priorities: Same same but different.

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine did a radio interview and she had to choose a single word on which to focus. She chose “priorities.” Her explanation resonated with me, which isn’t really surprising, as I’m sure that it’s part of the reason we’re friends, but the funny thing is that I keep coming back to it. I’ve had a lot of conversations about priorities lately and the word just seems so weirdly pertinent to my life right now. (My life always?)

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about priorities is lifestyle–and the choices we make that contribute to it. I will never be the person who says, “Must be nice!” (I swear that few more irritating, passive-aggressive comments have ever been uttered.)

While I realize that many things in life are beyond our control and, of course, it’s not always feasible for people to, say, up and journey across the globe, I also believe that if that were truly what said people wanted, they’d find a way of making it happen.

I’ve received lots of generous messages from friends and family while traveling, asking how it is that I’m able to visit so many extraordinary places. I usually say that I am very fortunate that I’m paid for doing what I love: Writing (particularly about action sports) has not only taught me a lot, but it’s taken me to remarkable locations and brought so many incredible people (above-mentioned friend included) into my life.

But you know what? Journalism–and especially that kind of journalism—is not a job into which you simply fall. I’ve worked hard for those experiences, and I’ve sacrificed things that most 30-year-olds take for granted (nice car, savings) in order to get them. Of course, I’m glad that I have, but the point is, when I had to choose between a 9-to-5 with benefits and a risky adventure, complete with a heap of credit card debt, I chose the latter. And that’s how I ended up in New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore, Lisbon… It was just a choice–and for me, it was a no-brainer because that was what I wanted from life at the time.

Now, I don’t want exactly the same things, and Continue reading

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Monday, September 15, 2014. 10:22 p.m. (I think.)

“Do these things work?”

I looked around, surprised. I hadn’t realized that he was talking to me. I looked some more: Tall, teal eyes, nice kicks. He glanced at my phone.

“Oh,” I said. Mobile boarding pass. Right. “Yeah, it should.”

“Okay,” he said, adding, “I don’t fly very much.”

I asked him where he was from, where he was headed.

Seattle (it’s not always rainy), Seattle (he was just visiting his brother)

“Are you flying directly?” I asked.

“I wish. Through San Francisco.”   Continue reading

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I’ll send you a postcard…

Happy belated Labor Day.

While everyone else is back to work and back to school, I’m officially on vacation. (Well, I mean, working vacation, but it’s still glorious. Because it’s that good kind of work that I mentioned.) I’m sitting at Arabica in Portland (Maine) (the original one–settled in 1633, according to the infallible Wikipedia) with beautiful people with beautiful tattoos, probably within a mile of Bill Clinton, contemplating surfboard builders and California rollers.

Tomorrow morning, I’m heading west! I was thinking, this will be my first flight in almost a year, which is insane after hopping from airport to airport on a pretty much weekly basis the year before that. It’s funny the way something can become second-nature and then slip right back into novelty territory. I find myself asking questions like, “Do I need a passport to fly domestically?” “How much time should I give myself at the airport?” To be fair, I usually do need a passport and the [international] standard 1.5 hours before boarding when traveling. I know, I know, douche jar.

Anyway, after my wicked busy summer, I’m so looking forward to reuniting with the Left Coast. And having the time and energy to write more. Look for dispatches from the West and new stories soon. Right now, though, I’m going to pack up the MacBook and go sip some Allagash, straight from the source.

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Plans, and an absence of.

I was standing in the warm garage, talking to the mechanic.

“We know where to find you,” she said, smiling. I can’t remember what we’d said before that, but I know that I replied, “Always in the same place.”

I’d meant the mountain, but it occurred to me how odd it was for that to be true.

Five-year plans. I’ve never, in my life, had a five-year plan. Even when I was a junior in high school, when everyone who wants to go to college has a five-year plan, I didn’t. For me, it was more like, I’m going to design school. Maybe. Or maybe I’ll become a doctor. Eh. We’ll see…

Do people actually make those things—five-year plans? I suppose they do. I went to J-School with a really ambitious guy who wasn’t content with a five-year plan. He had a “15-year plan.” It may or may not be worth noting that it began to disintegrate even before we’d graduated. I can say that without feeling bad because he’s doing really well now.

But yeah, I thought he was mad, and for exactly that reason: Plans are arbitrary. I believe that there are reasons why things happen, but I do not believe that the plans we lay, should we choose to do so, have much, if anything, to do with it. “The best-laid plans…”

I prefer a vague plan full of qualifications and the freedom of ambiguity:

  • I’d like to do that. Some time.
  • I’ll probably be [insert whatever here] six months from now/two weeks from now/Saturday…

Flight map.A year ago, I was heartbroken, not by a person, but by a country. I was about to leave a place that I loved. Love. Will always love. People who I love. My “plan,” if you will, included two months of intense, intercontinental travel, a couple of surf comps, and many, many youth hostels. And then, big, glaring—if kind of glamorous—blank space.

What would I do between France in October and Sydney in December? Well, I’d figure it out, I reasoned. But last July, it was a mystery, and one that became less and less sexy with time.

A few weeks in Bali put me off living there for any real length of time. Vietnam was still a quasi option. A girl who I met in Malaysia invited me to Nepal. I could do Nepal. This is how these things happen, you know. You meet a girl in Malaysia who invites you to Nepal. But I couldn’t afford the flight. Truthfully, I couldn’t afford anything. Change of plans.

I returned to the States disheartened, with designs of getting my proverbial shit together. (I’m still working on it.)

I only intended to stay here through a single ski season, but I sensed pretty quickly that Maine numbed my nomad tendencies. Eight months in, I’m surprised to find myself calling this place home. More than that, I’m surprised that it feels like home. I am surprised every day when I don’t want to leave. Then again, I’m astonished every day by the beauty of this place. And that of its people. I feel the occasional searing pang for the inconstant, but it only takes a minute of clarity to see that it’s all around, regardless of venue.

So, I think I’ll use that airline credit for an actual vacation—or two—instead of a one-way ticket. And then come home.

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Learning Curve: The Road Less Traveled.

Wizard's Gulch

Full disclosure: I have been skiing for a long, long time. Well, I’m 28 and I’ve been skiing since I was 3. Okay, here comes the disclosure part. I’m still not that good at it. I mean, I suppose “good” is all relative, but I can’t ski the way a lot of my friends do, flying between moguls or dropping cliffs with seemingly small effort.

I grew up skiing the East Coast, exclusively, where groomers rule and rules abound. My parents also happen to be strictly on-pisters. Last year, I skied New Zealand, which is what I like to call a lawless land.

Deterrents. Cardrona.
Deterrents. Cardrona.

While it may not truly be “lawless,” New Zealanders are definitely a lot more blasé about what actually constitute boundaries and who may ski within (or outside of) them. Continue reading

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The year is new.

Oh, so it is. I’m usually much more on top of my New Year’s posts, but 2013 was one heck of a year and I wasn’t really sure where to start. Then I thought, I’ll just begin with what’s always closest to my heart: the food. (And drink.) And I’m gonna preemptively put a few dollars in the proverbial jar, because I’m about to sound like a… well, maybe just don’t read this if you’re prone to fits of jealous rage. Right, the food…  Continue reading

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Sap Sap Sappy Thanksgiving 2oThirteen.

This Thanksgiving Eve finds me sitting at an Ikea kitchen table that I shared with an ex, once upon a time. It’s now in my bedroom. In my parents’ house. There’s only one chair. (The other one was lost in a flood.) It’s also from Ikea. This visual gets more depressing with every passing detail. There’s even a candle. Unlit. And an opened box of Entenmann’s “donuts.” And a feline reposing in my lap. Just kidding… about those last two things, anyway.

The floor behind me is, literally, covered with books and laundry and 10 pairs of shoes and five pieces of luggage and 37 pieces of cameras and a statue of Ganesha.

So, at 28, this probably isn’t exactly where most people would want to be. But I am thankful to be here.

This has been one crazy year (so far). I didn’t realise until my mum brought it to my attention, but I set foot on five continents in eight months. That’s, like, the definition of a crazy year. But also the definition of a remarkable year.

Continue reading

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Rickety Rollercoasters.

Bali Cont’d. (Finally.)

I was relocated to a private room (complete with sheer, bamboo “walls,” immediately on the other sides of which my neighbours slept). The ocean was rowdy and the people who lurked near it were always trying to sell me silver jewelry, so I became part of the poolside décor and watched time (and yoga teachers-in-training) pass by in bulk. I eventually spoke to one of them. The yoga teachers. Her name was Steph and she was from South Australia. She invited me to join her for lunch and soon, I had 30 new friends. They told me where I could find good cafes and ATMs. The combination of good company and the (thankfully) shattered illusion of confinement made Villa Serenity infinitely more enjoyable.

One day, we went to lunch and afterward, we stopped at an ATM. This particular machine didn’t accept my bank card, so my new friend Laura told me how to find another one:

“Walk down the beach until you see a big, white building,” she said. “Turn left and keep asking the security guards until you get there. It should only take about 35 minutes.”  Continue reading

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