Image used under Creative Commons: Birthday Cake by Will Clayton

It’s the roamantics’ birthday! It’s hard to believe it was two full years ago that I leapt out of bed in the middle of the night and purchased the domain that would turn into this site…but not right away. The best of intentions turned into three short posts the following week to family and friends during a trip to Vietnam, and then…silence. But then one year ago, on July 14, 2010, I started blogging regularly, through what’s been a hugely transformative year in my life and the life of this blog.

So when Mike and Lucy from 1000 Places to Fight Before You Die nominated me to participate in Tripbase’s My 7 Links project, I thought it would be a great way to celebrate the past year and highlight some older posts that new readers may have missed.

Tripbase asks each blogger who participates, to provide a link to a post for each of seven categories they’ve chosen. I’m mixing it up just a little by changing the order I list them in, so that readers will travel through these posts in chronological order, getting little snippets of this year of my life and blog as things happened. Just click on the post titles below to read each.

So since it’s a birthday party, let’s get the party started with a post about my birthday suit shall we?

A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved

First Nude Solo Getaway- Conquering a Fear

I had this experience during the one-month separation leading up to my split with my partner of ten years, and I’ll be writing more on this in future posts. I felt this one could have received a little more “exposure” don’t you? ;)

Your most helpful post

How to get a Good, Safe Tattoo Abroad

My ex and I took a trip to Rarotonga in September and it inspired me to write this detailed how-to. I’m proud to call it a must-read for anyone considering ink.

A post whose success surprised you

Out of the Mouths of Babes: Travel Lessons

There’s a saying that goes “No man is a friend, no man is an enemy, every man is a teacher.” I learned a few things from some tiny “men” in my life during my separation, and it was a hit.

Your most beautiful post

Squatting in Sihanoukville, Cambodia

Having just split, this post was a birthday tribute to a happier birthday past. I chose it as most beautiful for the sentiment, the writing, and the photos.

The post that you are most proud of

And Then There Was One

I’m most proud of this post on so many levels. First, I’m proud that I had the courage to change the course of my life after ten years when I was deeply enmeshed but it wasn’t working anymore. Second, I started this blog because I wanted to get over my intense fear of putting my solo creativity on display, as I’d avoided doing so by being a creative collaborator my whole life. With this post, I took my boldest creative leap ever (to me) at the most emotionally difficult time possible. I’m proud of that! Third, I’m proud of the blogging community & readers for demonstrating what incredibly supportive, compassionate, thoughtful, inspirational, and kind people you are through the comments on it. So glad to be among you!

Your most popular post

Cute + Green = Creen! Buying a Creen House on Wheels

Newly single, I cooked up a plan for my first big solo adventure, an epic road trip with an eco-minded, minimalist twist… and the support for my tiny new life was huge!

Your most controversial post

The Vancouver Riot- Thoughts and Photos

I don’t really write extremely controversial posts, but on my first stop on my road trip, I experienced a massive riot that had me reflecting on how negative experiences can color our perceptions of places. For some the riot did that, for me…

It was quite a year. I learned how to tweet, to make a blog, endured a breakup of a long-term marriage, made genuine friends, learned from, got inspired by and processed through this blog, received and offered support, overcame enormous fears through it, sold everything, made a new home on wheels, and now I’ve started sharing my biggest dreams in life- I’ve taken off to travel indefinitely with this blog. I can’t wait to see what roam antics this year holds and I really hope you’ll stick around to find out as I do. We’re just getting started! Now let’s eat some cake while these awesome bloggers I’m nominating put together their 7 links. Cheers and Thanks so much!


One Step 4ward

35 Summers

A Cruising Couple

Quirky Travel Guy

I’d heard it was a possibility but I didn’t think it would really happen. I watched the final game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs surrounded by formerly online, now real-life fellow travel blogger friends at the Railway Club in Vancouver, the first stop on my North American road trip. A smaller group of us, Jeannie, Dylan, Mark and I left before the game ended to get a bite to eat at one of Jeannie’s (a local) favorite places. I remember asking as we veered toward what appeared a quieter part of town if we were going away from where the action was likely to be. I wanted to be in the midst of it, naively thinking it would resemble the street party I’d experienced when I first landed in Vancouver after game 6. Of course the outcome then had been different, but at most I thought the vibe would be a bit more somber.

We finished a great dinner, walked back into the quiet street, and in what seemed like one turn of a corner everything changed. Black smoke in the sky led to smashed windows, two overturned cars, riot police, an anxious yet curious crowd, fire engines, tear gas, and relatively controlled (at that time) chaos.

I wasn’t scared. Blame it on the fact that I lived in Los Angeles during the riots, that until last Wednesday I spent much of the last decade living in Oakland during riots, and more recently in a neighborhood where I heard gun fire from my house occasionally…too occasionally. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m a filmmaker- it felt surreal, like I was watching a film.  Even as the first wave of tear gas caught in my throat and felt like someone took sandpaper to it, I just looked on with intense curiosity. I’m sure it would have been different had we been there just a few moments earlier.

My fellow travel blogging friends and I were in various states of concern and determination to get home. Jeannie and I learned that buses and cabs were no longer running, hitched a ride across the Burrard Bridge to the Chinook which was safely parked in the Kitsilano neighborhood, and I drove her home without a problem.

Every place has incidents. And my love for places- especially my beloved Oakland, where there are frequent incidents- has made me less likely to judge a place by them. I think about my perception of Vancouver before the riot started- how incredibly beautiful it is, its focus on local products and environmentally sound practices, its friendly people, how even the bus drivers are exceedingly nice- serving as ambassadors to their city. And I think about all of the times I’ve told someone I live in Oakland and had to defend my choice to live there by explaining how amazing a place it truly is in spite of the problems caused by a handful of residents.

Waking up the next day to find that a massive volunteer group had cleaned up the city and left messages of remorse over the rioting, including leaving notes of appreciation for their local police department on a police car, only confirmed my opinion of Vancouver- that it’s a fantastic place best seen through a prism like that, rather than judged by a riot.

For a beautifully written local’s perspective on the riot, please read Jeannie’s post here. Have you witnessed something like this while traveling? At home? How did it shape your opinion of the place?

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