Tuesday, March 23

Professional Rock 'n' Roll Vacation Planner?


What perfect timing to be talking about travel and vacations on TFC! On April 1, I will be leaving on my annual trip to Seattle and I just got done mapping out our itinerary. Yep, I make itineraries for my vacations. It's funny with my writing, I generally plunge, just diving into whatever scene, meeting my character there and following them on their journey. Eventually I stop to plot, but normally I just fly by the seat of my pants.... Well that is what I did with my first two novels, lately that approach isn't working as well. Normally I am very organized (well, I try to be) in terms of scheduling my day, etc and that bleeds into vacation planning.

It all started with my first trip to Seattle in 2004. I went there to remember Kurt Cobain on the ten year anniversary of his suicide. I wrote an essay about the trip here in case you're curious about the details. My friend Eryn and I planned that trip together. We were both huge Nirvana fans who'd been impacted by the band and Kurt's suicide in our early teens and we'd never been to Seattle. We were also major music nerds. We wanted to track things down like the location of the original Sub Pop Records offices, the site of Nirvana's first show, and the recording studio where they made their first album Bleach. So we combed books and articles about Nirvana and other Seattle music history and plotted out what we wanted to see. There was lots and it was spread out all over Seattle and beyond into Olympia and Aberdeen. We needed to make a plan to fit it all in. Conveniently about a week or so before our trip, I came down with a cold and stayed home from work. While I lazed on the couch, I plotted out our first itinerary.

I did not expect to fall in love with the city of Seattle the way I did. I was just going to check out the music history, but from the moment I arrived and took in the lush greens (all that rain = beautiful vegetation) and big bodies of water (I'm a Cancer girl, I love water), I was head over heels. Seattle is the rare kind of city where nature and urban environment co-exist. Plus the people were so laid back and cool and the food was amazing for a vegan like me. I've wanted to move there ever since, but sadly, I'm a starving artist who can't afford a cross-country move at this point. So until I can I've made a point to go back every year. With the exception of one year when my Seattle visit was part of my makeshift book tour, Eryn has been my partner in crime. See, we are the Leopard twins as someone dubbed us because of our similar coats (that's me on the left when I used to be a blonde):


Eryn lives in Denver and I live in Chicago so it's nice to get to see her on a yearly basis and hang out in our mutual fave city. Even though our first trip was 10 days long, we didn't see everything we wanted to see and in the meantime we read about more places we wanted to visit, plus we have our favorite spots, so we've continued making itineraries. It's convenient (we are reliant on public transportation so it's good to know what buses we need to take) and it also allows us to make the most out of our trips, fitting in the old favorites and new spots. Plus, as a vegan, I like having places where I know I can eat something other than a crappy salad plotted out. Yeah, okay, it's kind of anal and controlling. It bugs my husband a little bit when we travel together that I want to plan everything out. So I'm trying to create a happy medium. I think I did for this Seattle trip, basically just by planning a neighborhood or area per day to go to, listing out the bus routes and potential sightseeing, shopping, and restaurants/bars to check out, as opposed to putting us on a serious schedule with a ton crammed in. This works out because it's just Eryn and me this year along with our friend Jenny who has been to Seattle with us before. We know what we like and have a couple new places to check out, but we don't have to cram a ton in.

Last year, Eryn and I acted as tour guides (or camp counselors as became the running joke) and took our other friend Jenny and our friends Lynn and Jade none of whom had ever been to Seattle. They were also big grunge fanatics, so we made sure to map out all of the important sites (like the building where the movie Singles was film, natch). They throughly enjoyed our guided tours and the way we researched all of the stuff for them to see according to their tastes. So, I think if this whole author thing doesn't work out, I might have another career opportunity-- researching and planning out rock 'n' roll themed sight-seeing for various cities! I'd really make an excellent tour guide/travel agent! I could either plot out your trip for you or of course, if you want a personally guided tour especially in Seattle, you could pay my way and bring me along :)

Here are our first satisfied customers from left to right Jenny, Jade, Lynn and of course loyal tour guides me and Eryn. We are standing on a piece of rock n roll history, the bridge that Kurt Cobain supposedly lived under (but more likely just hung out under when he was an angry teen) and wrote the song "Something In The Way" about:


Anyway, what about you? When you go on vacation are you like me, planning stuff out so you make sure to fit in all the sight-seeing and good restaurants, or are you more like my hubby, who would rather play things by ear since it is vacation after all? And what do you think, should I be a rock n roll vacation planner?

11 comments:

bookaholic said...

I am more of a plan your holiday sort of person. Love your post!

Gerb said...

I'm not a very good vacation planner - that's more my DH's department. He books things way in advance and researches stuff online and does all the stuff I seem to procrastinate. I just kind of like to pick up and go. Of course, my method can be a little iffy.

P.S. Seattle is one of my very favorite cities, too.

Amanda Ashby said...

I never plan anything on my holidays BUT if I ever get to Seattle then I soooo plan to make sure that you're my tour guide!!!! And weirdly enough I've been listening to 'where did you sleep last night' all morning while I write.

Punk Rock Girl said...

Athens, Georgia is a perfect rock'n'roll vacation spot and my own personal Disneyland. Saw Ratt through a stage door at the old Georgia Theatre, and Michael Stipe and Mike Mills walked in right behind me at the 40 Watt Club once. Great times.

Melissa Walker said...

Love this post! I'm a planner, too. I go to the California Central Coast every year with my three best friends from high school, which I love.

And I'm about to hit Spain for three weeks... most is planned, but I'll wing it part of the way!

Have fun in Seattle!

Jennifer said...

You are the BEST rock tourguide on the planet! I was a happy camper for sure! So sad I'm not going to be there this year :(
LOVE U,
Lynn x

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