Starting in 1996, I took a year off of work to visit friends and write fiction. This journal documents that year.
In their original form, these posts were static web pages, posted about once a week. But when my website was redesigned in 2017, I decided to reframe it in the form of a blog or online journal, which is essentially what it was.
In the process of converting to blog format, I cleaned up some of the HTML code, improved the handling of images, corrected half a dozen typos, and corrected or removed many dead links, but otherwise kept the text intact. I don't stand by all of the opinions expressed in these pages; there are things I would say differently or not at all if I were writing this in 2017. But I'm leaving the travelogue intact as a historical document.
Speaking of leaving things intact: I waffled about what to do about the page that describes many of the people mentioned. On the one hand, much of what I said there is now inaccurate, for various reasons, and I'm a little hesitant about giving people's full names in this era of easy web searches. But on the other hand, if I hadn't listed full names on that page, then I never would've met Gabrielle, so I'm a little reluctant to remove those names, or even to shorten them to first name + last initial. That said, if any of you want your names removed or redacted from the list-of-people page, let me know.
Content warning: At least three of the people mentioned in this travelogue subsequently died, and at least four of the married couples I mentioned are no longer together. I'm leaving my mentions of those people and relationships intact, but thought it was worth mentioning this upfront. Also worth noting upfront: there's a brief mention of a friend's suicide attempt, in week 46.
Onward to the original text.
I once took an interviewing class in which the teacher said that the purpose of an interview is to go from what and when the candidate did (as shown on the resumé) to how and why the candidate did it. I think travelogues, to be interesting, should make the same kind of progression; a list of places and dates on its own is generally boring. In some places this travelogue does deteriorate into lists of activities, but I hope I've managed to provide enough context and musings in most places to be worth reading.
For an overview of my travels, see the map. Below are links to the individual weekly posts. If you want to read the whole thing in order, you can start with the pre-departure post, and then keep clicking the Next link at the end of each post.
- Mountain View (9/91-8/96)
- Los Angeles (8/20/96-9/10/96)
- Albuquerque (9/10/96-10/16/96)
- Boston (10/19/96-1/18/97)
- week 9: Kansas (10/13-10/19)
- Sidebar 1: The Hitchhiker
- week 10: Somerville (10/20-10/26)
- week 11: Somerville (10/27-11/2)
- week 12: Somerville (11/3-11/9)
- week 13: Mt. Auburn (11/10-11/16)
- week 14: Northampton (11/17-11/23)
- week 15: Thanksgiving (11/24-11/30)
- week 16: Somerville (12/1-12/7)
- week 17: Reading (12/8-12/14)
- week 18: Fenway (12/15-12/21)
- week 19: Somerville (12/22-12/28)
- week 20: First Night (12/29-1/4)
- week 21: Somerville (1/5-1/11)
- week 22: Farewells (1/12-1/18)
- Alexandria I (1/18/97-2/15/97)
- Interlude: California (2/15/97-3/4/97)
- Alexandria II (3/4/97-3/9/97)
- week 29: Alexandria (3/2-3/8)
- Chapel Hill (3/9/97-3/16/97)
- week 30: Chapel Hill (3/9-3/15)
- Swarthmore (3/16/97-4/21/97)
- New York (4/21/97-4/27/97)
- week 36: New York (4/20-4/26)
- United Kingdom (4/29/97-5/19/97)
- New England (5/20/97-6/7/97)
- Westward Ho! (6/8/97-6/29/97)
- Washington State (6/29/97-7/18/97)
- California (7/19/97-8/10/97)
- Finishing Up (8/10/97-8/18/97)
(This page last updated before the 2017 redesign: 4 June 1998.)