Dena Taylor | TRAVELS
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Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, that's not how I thought I'd go: Denver or bust 2013 – Arrival

November 22 - Up at 7. Breakfast taco/coffee. Movers arrive 9:15am. Sleeping neighbor's car blocking. Eventually clears, truck loaded. Clean apartment. Transport cat, luggage to friends' house.  Pick up boots from shoe repair. Pick up Jim from airport. Get truck. Jim to hotel, me to friends Linda & Steve's. November 23 - Awful early. Coffee. Load car. Hugs. Decide to tow car. No tow dollies or trailers in Austin.  Jim follows me to Round Rock. Car on dolly. Freeway. Moving now. I'm moving. Blechy I-35 construction, shoulderless stretches. Rain. Traffic. Accident. Jim unfazed, steady. Me: grateful. Cat lightly sedated. Later that day - Oklahoma. Icy. Jim still unfazed. Me: still not driving, still glad. Later still - Kansas. Billboard: Where will you spend ETERNITY? Next billboard: McDonald's, next exit. Pit stop: Restroom stall. Stopover - Salina, Kansas. Recall Shawn Colvin's Wichita Skyline song, always loved. Getting there looks mostly like this: "...

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Homer, Alaska, Final: Mead, Wine and Farewell

"Is my finger in water or on land?" Mom asked. "It's in Port Dick," Paul replied. Paul, Melinda, Mom, and I were at Captain Pattie's on the Homer Spit for dinner, known for its fresh local seafood. Under the glass top of our table was a map of the area. Mom, was fingering the sweat from her glass of ice water and wondered what part of the map she was hovering over. Sure enough, her finger was in a port. A port called Dick. [caption id="attachment_2730" align="aligncenter" width="301"] Port Dick. For real. It even has a left arm. Do you think there was ever a right arm? Do you really want to know?[/caption] Captain Pattie's was the perfect end to a sunny day in Homer that began with breakfast at Duncan House Diner, a brief stop at the quaint Homer Farmers Market, and continued to a barefoot stroll on Bishop's Beach. [caption id="attachment_2732" align="aligncenter" width="512"] Reminds...

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Homer, Alaska, Part 3: I got region

"Is it always so windy in your region?" Mom asked. "Not always," I replied. "It can can sneak up on you." Mom maintains that I was named after her neighbor, Dena, a woman she and Dad lived next to when they lived in Cleveland. It wasn't because they had become great friends, or that Dena had once stood for 12 hours filibustering a bill,  or more likely, that Dena was a nun. "I just liked her name." Zzzzzzzz. So when Melinda handed me a map of the Kachemak Bay and south central Alaska, and I saw my name, I couldn't help but get a little excited. "I have a region! I have a region!" I exclaimed. "Look, right here. The 'DENA-EENA" region," I said, sounding it out. "My way!" "Oh," replied Mom flatly with a roll of her eyes. "I'm pretty sure it's pronounced 'De-NAI-na,'" said Melinda'inda, as I will now refer to her. No one was impressed. But...

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Homer, Alaska, Part 2: Homer 911

"Did you hear they're bringing back the hairy mamas?" Mom asked. "You mean the woolly mammoths?" Melinda replied. "Wha'd'I say?" Unrestrained by the chains of location or time, this exchange could have just as easily occurred over a morning cup at Coal Town Coffee and Tea as over bloody marys at Land's End.  As it were, we were in the truck on the way to the Fritz Creek General Store and Post Office (website in progress but some info here). With the cabin cloaked in weather and the time until Paul had to head back to the platform dwindling, we were Homer-bound. The next best thing was to eat, drink, shop, play games, watch movies, see some sights, and hit the beach. Fritz Creek got us off to the perfect start on Tuesday, not only because of the ambiance and hearty sandwiches, but because of a hunk of heaven they call the...

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Homer, Alaska, part 1: Shower optional

"You've gotta stop showering," Mom said. "The girls can't smell ya!" Mom and I were at my brother and sister-in-law Melinda's house in Homer, Alaska, for a 10-day visit when Mom asked Melinda's handsome single nephew, who is staying with them while working on an oil platform, about his local dating prospects. When he revealed that he showers every day, Mom was kind enough to shed some light on the error of his ways — if the ladies can't smell him they won't know he's there. But he didn't seem to mind. Not even a little. Remote locations and infrequent showering seem to go hand-in-smudgy hand. And while I'm sure a lot of people imbibe in a daily scrub, I'm absolutely certain, based on first-hand exposure, some don't. And guess what? I wasn't planning to either, mainly because the majority of our stay would be at my brother's even more remote cabin...

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(kind of barely) Working from Anywhere: London

My Amsterdam map, by the end, was worn, speckled with inked arrows and circles and tram numbers, tearing a little along the folds. My London map, well, I didn't have one.  In fact, other than letting my friends there know I was coming, I didn't do a lick of touristy planning or research.  Maybe it was because I would be staying with people who lived there and I could just fall into their company, which would be pleasure enough. Or maybe, since I'd been to London before after college in 1988 with my high-waist stone-washed denim and permed hair, I didn't feel the pressure of everything being completely new, the pressure of having to see it all. I had seen a lot already. [caption id="attachment_1989" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Chihuly chandelier at the Victoria & Albert Museum"][/caption] The person that arrived in London was mainly there to visit friends, family in Manchester and attend...

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Working from Anywhere: Amsterdam – The Final Four (days)

"Did you already booked your flight to London? My cat got very sick from traveling and she is not doing very well. I was wondering if I could move in my house on Monday instead of Wednesday." It wasn't an unwelcome request. After Bruges, I was thinking about what was left to explore in Amsterdam, how I would spend my last five days. Book, blog, additional taglines for the new client, if needed, and a non-negotiable 90-minute conference call that would generate at least a half day's revisions. And there were still some attractions to experience. But I was getting a twinge of lonely. I could do those things in London from my friends' house couldn't I? What was two days? [caption id="attachment_1939" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Cellist in front of the newly designed Stedelijk Museum, dubbed by critics as the "bathtub.""][/caption] Leaving two days early would cost me two nights of paid-for accommodations +...

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Working from Anywhere: A few days in Bruges – Week 3

"What's a 'wijnbar'," asked the lady of the couple in front of me on the sidewalk in Bruges, pronouncing "wijn" correctly, like "wine." "It's a wine bar," said her husband flatly, like he could use a glass. Since I wouldn't know my loved one's surgery date until midweek, I kept my plans to visit Bruges, Belgium. Did you see In Bruges? So good. Need to see it again now. Anyways, I wanted to climb the belfry. And eat chocolate and drink beer. ABOUT Bruges, Belgium, is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. The Gothic city center, full of winding cobblestone streets, canals and shooting church spires is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation).  The city charter dates to 1128. Old. Belgium is renowned for their beer and chocolate. And don't forget Jean-Claude Van Damm,...

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Working from Anywhere: Amsterdam – Weekend #3

I had just taken a bite out of my first bitterballen when he pinched my waist between his fingers and said, "But not too much! Ha ha ha!" It was my second expats function since coming to Amsterdam and would turn out to be my last. Not because of the guy, who wasn't trying to be awkward and inappropriate, I think he was just born that way, but because of timing. In part, the particular functions I was going to started later in the evening and would get quite crowded and loud. It's hard enough to have a conversation in a loud restaurant or bar. Add in a multitude of accents and it's nearly impossible. Who invited Grandma? I know, but that's how it is. And also, to the Grandma point, the functions thus far definitely trend toward a younger crowd. Maybe all of this is why I went ahead and had...

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