The iPad gets a keyboard

OK this is very cool – I’ve just added a keyboard to my iPad, as I hope to do some consistent blog-posting while I’m on my Thailand journey. Observation: it’s a very SMALL keyboard. My fingers are stumbling all over one another as the scramble to get out of one another’s way.

I suppose if I had ever learned to type – which I absolutely REFUSED to do, lest I end up in the “typing pool” in some office (if you haven’t any idea what that is, watch a few episodes of Mad Men – it’s where women were chained to their typewriters like the galley slaves in Les Mis, pushing out business correspondence), one of the few jobs women were deemed worthy of in the 1950s – each of my fingers would know its place and the keyboard traffic would be a lot more regulated.

Alas, I’m still a two- to four-fingered typist and am likely to remain so. The keyboard definitely has it all over the punch-button method of writing that I could do on the iPad alone, though. Cursor buttons! A tab key! Not to mention a group of clickables at the bottom of the screen I don’t know how to use yet.

Fair warning, then. This solo traveller has just found a new in indulgence to pursue while sitting all by her lonesome at cafe tables worldwide. Let the blogs begin!



No Rustle da Sheep!

No Rustle da Sheep!



The offense of carrying wool or sheep out of the country, formerly punished by fine or banishment.

But the ridiculous statutes against against owling have made it an offence to transport sheep out of this kingdom.
Arthur Aikin, The Annual Review and History of Literature

Offences against public trade are next in order: these are owling, smuggling, bankruptcy, usury, cheating, forestalling, regratiing, engrossing, monopolies, carrying on trades unlawfully, and transporting and seducing artists.
John Trusler, A Concise View of the Common and Statute Law of England

From the following report, made by Mr. Baker in December, 1703, it appears that the new law had by that time abated though it had not quite stopped the ‘owling’ trade along these coasts but that import smuggling still flourished.
Smuggling and Smugglers in Sussex

This word comes from the idea that ‘the smugglers of wool carried on their work, like owls, under cover of night,’ says the OED.

A Big Map of Some Rather Small Countries

Amazon delivered a HUGE map of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, & Vietnam Nam on Wednesday, and I’ve put it up on my wall with those little removable foam widgies. I’m booked to go to Thailand for a month starting on the 16th, G*d willing, but now it seems the month will be not long enough – not nearly, for all the routes and journeys I can now see if I turn my office chair just a quarter way to face the map rather than the computer.

What their pin-up girls were to WWII soldiers, this map is to me: a reminder that there’s a better world a- waiting if I just step out my door and keep on going.

It’s One Way to Travel – from

It's One Way to Travel - from


The act or practice of driving a chariot or coach.

If a man indulges in the vicious habit of sleeping, all the skill in aurigation of Apollo himself, with the horses of Aurora to execute his notions, avails him nothing.
The English Mail-Coach and Joan of Arc, by Thomas De Quincey

The diversion especially in the winter season used by the Dutch is aurigation, i.e., riding about in wagons, which is allowed by physicians to be a very healthful exercise by land.
A Library of American Literature, 1889

In Flanders, persons engaged in aurigation are particularly attentive so to use their vehicles, as not to injure foot passengers.
The London Magazine, January to April 1826

This word comes from the Latin ‘aurigare,’ to drive a chariot.


I write this blog as if it were a letter in a bottle, cast out upon the open sea to bobble in the surf and ride the great currents wherever they may carry it. To anyone who finds it, rimed and barnacle-crusted, as they walk along the shore – have the kindness to pull the cork and read what this pilgrim has scrawled.

I dedicate it to all the travelers, both those who are on the road and the others who are at home with maps and journals in their laps, plotting their next escape.  Whether you travel by tour bus or tramp steamer, in rags or in resort-wear, I bid you hurrah.

I especially honor those women who go it alone, the ones who don’t allow their solitary status to keep them bound to a too-familiar place. Here’s to those who sit at tables for one, to you who read in coffee shops but welcome a friendly smile and relish a good chat. Come and sit with me if you find me, let’s trade travel tales and stories of all the people we have been.

Next stop – Thailand. But more of that tomorrow.