How’d you do this?

the little car that could

the little car that could

Well, my usual retort to this question is “Oh, you haven’t seen my car, have you?” But in all seriousness, I’m a saver.  I’m not nearly as adept at bargaining as the seasoned SendMoneyPlease, who just flew around the world almost entirely on frequent flyer miles.  (Yes, it can be done!) 

But I love a good deal, and I’ve been saving up for years – notably, by continuing to drive my 1994 Suzuki Swift. 

Though I’ve had several threats to have it mysteriously disappear, or not-so-mysteriously be driven off a cliff while I’m away, I consider this the little car that’s taking me around the world.  It’s manual transmission (I wouldn’t have it any other way!), has no a/c (It never did. . .and in South, that’s painful!), and has become – let’s call it “increasingly quirky” over the past few years.

It’s got some benefits as well.  It still gets 41 miles to the gallon, it’s gotten me everywhere I need to go, and I’ll generously classify it as “theftproof” – meaning it’s been broken into about 5 times but never had anything stolen.  For some reason the tape deck just isn’t a hot commodity on the stolen goods scene these days.  And, strangely, they haven’t taken the car either.

car tapeplayer
state of the art technology

It also has state-of-the-art technology.  May I point out, that in most early built-in CD players, there’s no auxilary audio jack.  Fortunately, my little tape deck is ipod-ready!

I guess this is where the disclaimer about “travel style” comes in as well.
Oh, sure, I’m hoping to get some creative funding for parts of the journey. . .starting with Delta‘s great double-the-miles promotion this fall (which I hope to redeem for a big airline ticket on the next leg of the trip!). And I’d really like to volunteer some of my time & skills – check out wwoofing!  Plus, I can’t ignore the generosity of great friends (and hopefully, some new, like-minded ones too, see
But a big part of the success of any trip is the expectations that come with it.  And mine have become very simple:  cups of coffee.
Travel has always been something I love to do.  Every chance I get, I’m off to another destination, the farther and more foreign, the better.  No surprise to my friends and co-workers, it’s become the punchline of any time-off request:  “So where are you off to this time?”

Free breakfast, Lyon, France. Thanks Air France!

It’s never about expensive hotels or amusement parks or fancy dinners out.  No business class.  No high-priced boutiques. 

 So awhile back, I decided to give up expectations for trips.  Now, I just travel for a cup of coffee.  Every trip is another cup of coffee.  Coffee in France.  Coffee in Hungary.  Coffee in Tanzania.  (Tea in Japan.)  And anything that I encounter beyond this cup of coffee is completey bonus. 


Cafe du Monde, New Orleans!
OK, so clearly, the point was to choose so low an expectation as to always be able to fulfill it.  But really, I’m always surpised.  There’s always something I see or do or someone I encounter that is way beyond my expectations.  Travel is always fun.
More coffee please!