It is both great and weird to be back at Hemingway’s Cafe in Lueneburg, Germany, which has, of recent, become a strange metaphor for my writer life. Hemingway’s almost burned down but was saved, and now breathes again. I have not written a word since my last novel, REVENGE OF THE SEA. Will I live and breathe again?
This will be my first travel blog journal series. While the more deeply personal items will be edited out (unless they are extraordinarily meaningful or I’m feeling insanely courageous that particular day), I do plan to try and journal all my experiences in the US. It is so exciting to write my first travel blog series! I used to journal a lot when I was in college, especially on summers when I visited my family in Kentucky and would sit for long rides on Greyhound (when they used to literally stop at every place imaginable, even malls in small towns; in fact, though they’re much better now, when taking Greyhound, one could multiply the normal drive time by 3! Also, if you smoke, you are immediately removed and have to find a way back home or relocate, whichever is easier).
I have not been in the US for a year because I have been living and writing in Germany after marrying a wonderful German woman (my wife, Corinna). I will be starting my US trip in three days, in perfect irony, in the city where I was born: Miami, FL. Oh, Miami, where you bronzed my skin brown and my heart ocean blue. Oh, Miami, where your sunshine filled my bosom with an unabashed, indestructible, positive faith in possibility. Oh, Miami, where my mind was first opened to diversity like a gull flying around the world.
I will rent a car in Miami and drive around the old stomping grounds, including the cemetery where my father and stepfather are buried, as well as the first place I ever worked: El Pub. At El Pub I learned to speak my first Spanish words, saving enough money to buy my first car, a 1977 red Monte Carlo with a moody transmission that literally fell onto the street just before I graduated from Coral Gables High School, my little brother and I getting out and pushing the heavy old vehicle all the way home.
Well, this time, I won’t have my old Monte Carlo, but a Budget rental car. I will leave Miami and drive through the Everglades, visiting with my old friends the alligators, then up to Tampa to play a little, off to Daytona Beach to walk around, then finally up to Jax Beach where I plan to really get in some beach time (how I miss the beach!). Then, I will catch a flight to Atlanta, GA to stay with my mother. Atlanta, as usual, will be my launching point for many cool visits (e.g., Charleston, SC to see my best and oldest friend, Lousiville, KY, to see my dearest aunt, etc, etc). To end my journey, I will fly back to Miami and stay for a few days with another one of my oldest, closest friends from high school … then the long final flight back to Hamburg.
It is going to be strange going back to my homeland again after a year abroad … but I look forward to the road therapy and unique perspectives I hope to be granted as a result of the 5-week vacation, as well as visiting with close family and good old friends. I’ll also be photo journaling for a music video to a song I wrote entitled, American Highway, which I’ll be entering into three different songwriting competitions this year. Wish me luck!
Well, I have to say goodbye to Hemingways for a little while. However, I look forward to sharing my adventures with you next Friday from the roads of Florida.
Yours in travel,