Roadside Adjustment


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The horns! You honk your horn when you are turning, passing, about to pass, have just pulled alongside someone, might pass soon, are thinking of accelerating, see a dog, or see another scooter. Oddly enough, NOT when you see a huge cow in the road.

I jumped to alert every time the taxi driver honked from the way to the airport to the hotel. It was 3 am, with little traffic, so it was more intermittent. Now, it’s just background noise like the birds.

The light turns green and EVERYONE is just honking to go. Let me find a video. Phil has the good ones on his phone, and he’s still asleep. This is a very quiet street In Bengaluru.


It’s the sheer amount of traffic! A two lane divided road (2 in each direction) becomes 6 or 8. Cars are smaller, tuk tuks even smaller, so no one needs a whole lane, and they aren’t given the chance to have one anyway. The millions of scooters just wind their way in wherever they (sort-of) fit. Add in pedestrians, dogs and cows, and holy shit! But it just seems to work. Everyone knows the “rules” and gets where they are going and I have yet to see even a scrape or fender bender.

India has a real problem with sexism and assault, with the need for women’s only subway trains, tuktuks, and busses, and most women I see on scooters have been riding sideways with their feet on a wee platform – so unsafe! It has been great to see empowered women driving their own transport, and driving lessons for women offered.


We took a ferry yesterday across the river. Holy wow. This thing pulls up to the bank, and drops its Higgens Boat style front, which is the loading ramp, and a free for all of pedestrians and scooters pulls off, with the ramp only 1/2 hitting the bank, and the other 1/2 in the water.

People disembarking are fighting through the massive crowd that has rushed up to board. Phil and I were maybe 2nd or 3rd to arrive, and he somehow ended up about 50th scooter to get on (I walked). It was CRAMMED. And then this small suv pulls up (think Toyota RAV4), and I am assuming it will have to wait for the next ferry (just maybe 10 minutes), but NO, they are PICKING UP scooters and moving them over to make room for this thing! I was doubtful of room for one more scooter – but a CAR?! Well, it worked, they lift the ramp about 4 inches off the surface of the river, and away we go!

It’s madness. No WAY would it pass any health and safety regulations, but it works. And it’s FREE.

We went across to Panjim to pick up Phil’s Royal Enfield, so I (finally) got to drive the scooter back. One scary moment on the narrow track with a bus barreling waaay to close to me, but it was all smooth sailing. Phil asked how I was doing on the roads – and I needed him to clarify whether he meant the traffic or the road surfaces, because for all the road craziness of India, the surfaces are markedy better than the streets of New Orleans – barely a pothole in sight!

“Let’s go have an adventure,”

he said. So we are off to India for a month.


After months of thinking and planning, routing and rerouting to fit in some UNESCO Sites, and some cuts to be realistic about the number of hours we want to be driving our motorbikes each day, we have a tentative route.

We arrive in Bangalore late, late tonight (really tomorrow morning), and will spend a few days acclimating to the time, the heat and the sheer numbers of people. The rest of the week will be in Goa, sorting the bikes and catching up with Phil’s old friends. We’ve booked our train north for Monday (since it’s only once a week, Monday it is!), and will watch the country go by out the window as we head north for 22 hours to Jaipur, where the adventure *really* begins!



They are calling our flight in Amsterdam now. See y’all on the flip side!

Bratislava Baggage


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Budapest-Keleti Railway Terminal, where it all began.

I am always super paranoid about my luggage. When I ride a cross-country bus, I pick a seat above the baggage hold, so at every stop I can see that no one is taking it; I don’t go to the loo on a train without taking my bags with me; I repack my day bag on travel day to have all my travel documents and all currency, regardless of use in that country, on me.

One time. All it takes is letting your guard down one time for your bag to disappear.

Now, keep in mind that I’m not talking just about some clothes. When you live out of a suitcase, your bag is literally home. Imagine arriving to where your house should be, and it’s just gone. That was the feeling that washed over me at that luggage rack.

I had minimized on this trip – I’d borrowed a smaller suitcase from my boyfriend because I was flying with an airline for the first time that is notoriously tight with their restrictions, so they can charge extra fees. I had been brutal in the decisions as to what was going to make it in to that bag as well – only my most favourite pieces of clothes; only my most vital of travel ‘essentials’. And they are all gone.

The organizer bags that I had personally stitched from upcycled HowAh Ya Jazz Fest shirts, in alligator, red beans and rice, and shrimp patterns; my wee vespa that I bought in Canterbury on my first scooter road trip, that is my stand in for the real thing at all the big landmarks; my hostel padlock I bought in that tiny village in Denmark, and the le Krewe d’Etat keyring. It feels like at my one year mark, the last connections to New Orleans and home were ripped away from me, and I am super sad.

I went to get my bag, that I had put in the center luggage rack instead of above my head, trying to avoid exacerbating my neck injury any more than necessary, and was just in disbelief that it was not there. I looked behind other bags, as if somehow there was room for it to be tucked away. I stared wide-eyed at the guys in the next seats, who I could not communicate with, so they just stared back. I rushed through the length of the train as it slowed into the station, hoping upon hope that somehow this was going down right now, and not sometime in the past three hours, and I could still prevent my home from disappearing. But no.

As I told the conductor, he told me “I will wait” and I checked the train again. I rushed through, but unsurprisingly, it had not miraculously reappeared where it was supposed to be. Then he said, “I have to go”. The train had to stay on schedule. And off it went, and I was left standing on a decrepit platform in Bratislava, in shock.

Policia. There’s a sign down at the end of a platform, and maybe even a station. I head down, but it’s 8:30pm on Easter Sunday, and I am in Slovakia, so of course it’s dark and locked.
Into the terminal, where window after window is rolled down, locked up… no one about. I finally find someone working. I ask “english?” She responds yes. Then I say my luggage was stolen. “I am closed! Go down there!” As she literally pulls the blinds down in my face. It is 20:35. Her window is clearly marked to be open until 20:50.
On to the next window, and I finally find someone who seems to even remotely react in a way that makes me feel that anyone at all cares. He sends me to the police. After telling him I already tried that, he takes me down there – to show me where to go and pawn me off on the police, or to actually help and maybe translate, I don’t know his motivation, but it is him that is keeping me from falling apart. He is just as surprised as me that there are no police at the station.

Heading back across the platform, we run into some sort of railway staff (I can tell from their bright orange safety gear) and he talks to them. They seem to have concern. The police are walking by! He tells what has happened. They say “Well, that could have happened in Hungary or Slovakia. There is no way to know,” and they keep on walking. I am officially defeated.

My hostel was directly across the street from the entrance to the train station, so I had only a short walk to some sort of safe place. The front desk guy looked into what shops might possibly be open on Easter Monday, because in Eastern Europe that is still a thing and a major holiday where no work or banking or school happens. I slept in those clothes that night. And roommates who were complete strangers the night before helped me with some shampoo and toothpaste and a comb so I could shower and head into the the day feeling just a wee bit better.

It was like a slap in the face when on Monday my Facebook feed shows me the US Dept of State posts about #crimevictimabroad and how they are there to help. Ha! The night before I called, and got Trey from Missouri on the phone who, once he confirms I am safe and have a place to sleep, says “Good luck and try us gain on Tuesday when the holiday is over”.


My “Day in Bratislava” was spent at a shopping mall and making calls, finding a toothbrush, some underwear, and a clean shirt. Not exactly the sightseeing whistle stop that I was planning on.


Central Shopping Mall, Bratislava


On a strange rock ‘n roll whim the week previously, I had made plans to fly from Prague to Amsterdam Wednesday for a brief stopover to see a concert with my boyfriend, when his friend had to back out of their long-planned trip. He saved the day with the bright idea to go get my actual suitcase with the clothes I had left behind in Edinburgh, and bring them to me in the Netherlands. It was so lovely to see a smiling face and get a comforting hug, and even lovelier to have clean socks after three days on the same pair. I now have a change of jeans, pajamas, and several shirts. It’s still less than most people take for a week-long holiday, but it’ll work.


That wee 24 hours in Amsterdam flipped the script, and separated me from the bad just enough to make me able to sit here and write this up. I know it’s just ‘stuff’, it’s just that it was ALL my ‘stuff’; I had gotten rid of everything else before I left New Orleans. And I will still be traveling. I’ll just be getting a luggage cable padlock for the next trip.

“Plan A”

It’s taken me almost a year to get my “sea legs” and feel that maybe, just maybe, I have this traveling and living on the road thing figured out. Now, it’s time to get serious, because I promised myself a two-year effort, and that first one went by QUICK!

I’ve had some amazing adventures, met some wonderful people, and saw things that I never knew existed. And then I didn’t write about it. I have notes, loads of notes, and photos galore. Time to mainline some caffeine and tell y’all about it. I have literally been living my dream, and I have no desire to go back to that old reality.



Watch this page for updates and stories in the next few days; LOTS of stories.