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It’s all Shazza’s fault. 

I was explaining to her my plan to spend several months of my fall sabbatical traveling in New England. You should blog about it, she said. I rejected the idea out of hand. But you’re always writing, she insisted. My response that I just don’t see myself as a travel writer must have sounded pretty insistent, because she didn’t press the matter any further. 


Or, at least, that’s what I thought. Until a few weeks later, at an event on campus, Cathy moved in on a conversation I was having with George and Ryan. You know that trip you’re taking? she asked, not really waiting for an answer. Well, you should blog about it. 

I didn’t realize that Shazza knew Cathy, and she still claims innocence. But Shazza is a sly one; there’s more going on there than meets the eye. And recruiting Cathy was a shrewd move. Cathy is made of rather sterner stuff; someone thinking of disagreeing with her needs to have all their ducks in a row. But I wasn’t expecting to need mine that day, and had already dropped them off at the pool. 

Cathy also knows how to move in for the kill. Sensing my defenselessness, she promptly enlisted George and Ryan to her cause. (So successfully, it turned out, that they spent the rest of our conversation giving me travel tips and destination recommendations.) 

In professional settings, I am usually ready for potential ambushes. But here I was not only only without ducks; I had been completely outmaneuvered. Cathy motioned to others to come over and agree with her, and I could see that resistance was futile. I gave in. 


So here’s the first installment. Though I honestly don’t understand why some people are so keen to read my ramblings. In fact, rambling is really very un-American. In the UK, there is a club called the Ramblers’ Association, whose members go wandering over hills, down dales, and along footpaths all over the country. But I doubt there’s such an organization in the US. 

Or, rather, I doubt that there is an organization with a similar name, because rambling conveys no sense of purpose. Americans love a sense of purpose. They want goals, and objectives. They don’t go rambling; they go hiking. It’s so much more purposeful. 

Well, this travel blog has no particular purpose; it’s definitely going to be more of a ramble than a hike. I don’t know if Cathy realizes that, though I’m pretty sure Shazza does. But it’s her fault that it exists in the first place.