Prompt 11

You’re going on a cross-country trip. Airplane, train, bus, car, or bike?

Since I have already crossed the country from New Jersey to California by Greyhound bus, I will choose the Armtrak train on returning trip to New Jersey to enjoy the beautiful scenery across the country without being crammed into a flying compartment on air, not being able to move around for hours at a high price. And forget about driving a car, which may sound adventurous but is dangerous.

Dangerous because what if I happen to encounter some vile group of people who have pledged allegiance to their secret creed of violent belief hell-bent on harming fellow human beings as in the movie “End of the Road,” in which the Queen Latifah character and his family on the road to Texas future from California past encounter series of manacing racist strangers. On the contrary, traveling in the company of people, although strangers, provides me some sense of security and relaxation, freed from maneuvering navigation and driving, which sometimes will prevent me from appreciating the pleasure of watching scenery listening to music, the moody sweets of my spirit.

It was in the same manner that emigrants -not necessarily foreigners but those from the east coast- crossed the continent on oxen-driven wagons as accounted in Horace Greeley’s An Overland Journey from New York to San Francisco in the Summer of 1859 in which the renowned editor of the New York Tribune and once a president hopeful opposite Ulysses Grant. This book inspired me to come to California by bus, which I considered a modern-day equivalent of a wagon. What used to take a good 6 or 8 months for the easterners to arrive at West overland by wagon took me a week to reach California by bus. Notwithstanding any inconvenience in the road trip, it was my version of reenactment of the Oregon Trail in the spirit of frontierwoman to start anew in the Wild West.

Lonely Planet California by Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet California (Travel Guide)Lonely Planet California by Lonely Planet

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

FORGET La La Land. Horace Greeley, founder and editor of the New-York Tribune, writer, and statesman whose ingenious wit melded with erudition and humanity endeared him to the American public urged the people on the East Coast, especially educated unmarried women in the east – to move to California for its primordial beauty: “Fly, scatter through the country, go to the Great West, anything rather than remain here.” Also, Henry David Thoreau described California as a pristine virgin land where a terrestrial River of Lethe flew the Lethe of the Pacific. The collective literary rhapsody comes to life in this world-famous travel book with its signature vivid colorful pictures and detailed, itemized information on the region in suavely offhand  convivial narrative style that entices you to love California at first sight.

Abundant with its rustic and restive natural beauty unsurpassed by glamour of tinsel cities and its unique melding of multifarious cultures and rich history, California is a sun-kissed prize of the States. Take a hiking in Mt. Shasta, and this awe-inspiring mountain will stir your imagination and makes you believe it a home of a sky-spirit as the native tribe believe. If you are in mood for being in touch with the caress of the blue waves away from the meele and reality just for one day, you can elope with your beloved or with your own weary self to Big Sur. Nested against mysterious-looking redwood forests, the Big Sur Coast has all the elements for being a lovers’ paradise where you can be in your most unguarded self and be a Phoebe Cates or her lover in movie Paradise. On the next day, a visit to Santa Barbara will be quite a cultural feat by visiting the 18th century villas, shops, and churches built by Spanish conquistadors and priests. Or you and your fido friend can do some super-fun splashes or even venture surfing at Huntington Beach on weekends. And of course, there are Disneyland and Universal Studio if you want to meet your favorite characters from childhood and roll with what the best amusement parks can provide to your wildest dream at the best.

This book is a comprehensive overview of the places and history of California in addition to rich remedial information on the rates of currency and estimated expenses expected of traveling the region if you come from a different country. Written by several veteran globe trotters and well-traveled Californians in compilation, reading the book will give you a sensation of listening to your friend’s travelogue or experiencing a jolly tour guide by an amiable cicerone all to yourself for free. Moreover, the book will equip your mind with knowledge of the region, so that when you actually go there, you will appreciate the beauty of the region like never before.

Italy Dreamin’

Amalfi Coast photo book, Italy (60 photos) : Europe series 4Amalfi Coast photo book, Italy (60 photos) : Europe series 4 by Akira Okubo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


When my spirit feels weary of existential dealings of daily life and whets a desire of carefree escapade from the reality I am anchored in, I tend to daydream about places I want to travel alone. John Steinbeck once admitted that oftentimes, reading magazines and books full of colorful pictures of foreign countries would be more satisfying than actually going there, save all the hustling and bustling, flotsam and jetsam related to traveling. Hence my choice was this beautiful pictorial read of Amalfi Coast in Italy on my Kindle Fire. The delightful pix of southern Italy will take you out of your humdrum life while looking at them; they bring vibrancy of the ambience of the region to your eyes and allure your heart to the romance with the beauty in a heartbeat, alone with yourself.  The rustic and restive sensuousness of the scenery as vividly illustrated in the pictures will dazzle the reader’s eye like a beautiful paramour secretly pleading with you not to leave.