I guess I’m just ambitious


The French sure know how to make a sheep pen look scary

I don’t mean to be ungrateful. I appreciate it. Every time. I really do. But I guess I’m just… I’m more ambitious than that.


I’m not sure when we changed over. Was it September 11th? Was that when we stopped saying “happy travels” and retreated into the more fearful “travel safe”? Is that the day we let a finite event darken our ongoing reality?


Because I feel safer abroad than I do at home. Danger is in the mundane, the autopilot trip to the store among people with a thousand things on their minds (and a steering wheel in their hands). Wish me safe grocery shopping if you like, but in the streets of Paris? Safely safe me in safety. Alert to the details of the place I’m enjoying.



This sign in the Vatican warns that there are two types of walking. I know which one looks like more fun to me.

I am not scared of your televised danger,

I am not scared of every stranger.

I am not scared, Sam I am…not.


Whereas in the US post office this morning a guy was ranting about “This is bullshit!” and “It’s like the fuckin’ DMV in here!” Granted my local post office is the slowest specimen this side of the Euphrates, but still, this was more hostility than I’d experienced in any of the supposedly dangerous lanes of international travel. And the guy was pushing a baby stroller. Good luck, kiddo. Because the danger is in quotidian malcontentment. Daesh ain’t got nearly that reach.


The worst danger I encountered was the septic stink of a fellow passenger. Which was potent. Whew. Somebody’s belly didn’t start off happy, and airline food didn’t help at all. That’s the danger I faced. No need to call the army. (Well, perhaps they could send a gas mask?)


Border guard station on the German border. Oh we live in a terrifying age.


I am grateful to every one of you who wished me safe travels. I am. Thank you. And I’m grateful that we live in the most peaceful time in human history. (Don’t believe me? Come on my tour and we’ll talk about the Counter-reformation.) A time so peaceful, so prosperous and fundamentally secure that property values around the world have gone through the roof, and hordes of people are crowding into the places that used to be reserved for the privileged few.


Kinda annoying, but better than the alternative.

So thank you, friend, family, acquaintance who wished me “safe travels” yesterday. I wish the same for you. And more. Much more. I guess I’m just ambitious like that.


Travel! It’s terrifying!