Brothels and Budget Travel

Yesterday I visited with Nancy who recently turned 98.  She is tiny with an animated heart-shaped face and an amazing twinkle I admire.  Nancy generously shared with me the secret to reaching a ripe old age: do something everyday and maintain a sense of humor. She then confessed that the thing she chose to do that day was take a nap, and chuckled with great delight. 

Nancy regaled me with stories of her first trip to Europe.  She went with a friend after graduating from college.  Their parents gave each of them sufficient funds to cover two months of travel.  The first thing the girls did was to “splurge” 50 cents on a book they knew would help them save money by guiding them to “flea-bitten hotels.”  For the most part, the hotels were safe, though Nancy suspects that once they landed in a brothel.  (The men in the place eyed them with a certain lewdness and there was not a single room with two twin beds.  When they heard strange sounds through the thin walls, they pushed their double bed against the door for good measure).  

They “squeezed every penny until it squealed” and managed to extend their travels for 8-1/2 months.  Listening to her, it was clear that the spirit of adventure had remained vivid, though she admitted sadly that too many details had faded.

I have been neglecting this ‘voyage’ of my blog for quite a while but have decided to let a detail called “guilt” fade into the background.  I hope there will always be a vagabond inside me ready to journey to places unknown.

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About HomenDunRoamin

Teaching Artist & Writer: fiction, poetry & nonfiction. Recently completed work: a hybrid memoir. In progress: a novel set in an unnamed Latin American country on the brink of war. The book examines violent and nonviolent resistance and the choices women are forced to make to survive.
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