Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Grettona The Brave

What constitutes bravery?

Ramona was brave in her face-off with a neighborhood dog, when she threw one of her shoes at the menacing, approaching animal. The dog ended up running off with the thrown shoe. Now, we all know how I feel about I would probably call throwing the shoe more foolish than brave, but nonetheless! (God, I hope they weren't Pierre Hardy. Those are expensive.)

I was, surprisingly, labeled "brave" during a whitewater rafting experience in Peru - during which I was bounced out of the raft and into the bracingly cold rapids o
f the Urubamba River. The experience for me was somewhat surreal, and my thought process had gone a little like this:

Brain: paddle, paddle, GODDAMMIT the pooled water in the raft is freezing my toes! paddle, paddle; heading into big rock, BOUNCE...I was in the boat...and now I seem to be...out of the boat...hmmmm, that's notsogood.

And at that point I was struggling against the water, attempting to stand up, but instea
d having my shins banged against underwater rocks while Class IV whitecaps crashed into my torso. I eventually heard our guide yell something like "LET GO!" and I remembered in our training that we were supposed to just aim our feet forward, cross our arms over our chests, and let the current carry us. So I did that. It felt MUCH better than all the shin-banging, and even though I was then at the mercy of the river I wasn't frantic or stressed.

I had an absurdly confident kind of "I'm pretty sure this isn't how I'm supposed to die" thought process going, so I wasn't at all surprised when, after maybe 30-45 seconds of shooting down the river, our guide had powered our raft up close enough to reach out and grab onto my life vest and yank me back into the raft.

My friends were bug-eyed, gushing "OHMYGOD are you okayyyyyy????", and I was. I mean, I was freezing and violently shivering from the icy river, but still very okay. When we pulled up out of the raft and began our slow, still very shivery walk back to the van, one of my friends just looked at me incredulously and said "You are so brave. I would have had a complete meltdown if that had happened to me."

I didn't feel brave. I just felt cold. I thought about my reaction and thought "Well, what was the alternative, really?"

Life, much like that sassy Urubamba, is unpredictable. Sometimes things happen that go spiraling way beyond your control, and you just have to be "brave" enough to LET GO.

Although I don't advocate letting go of your shoes. Especially if they're Pierre Hardy, because, again, those are expensive.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lather, Rinse, Repeat. It's Okay.

Until fairly recently I was a bit driven in my quest to see EVERYWHERE before I died. I have previously mentioned that my Bible is this book:

I haven't been to 1000 places, much less THESE 1000 places, but it's good to have goals. I have made it to all seven continents, including the really cold one that everyone forgets about, and yet the "Where I've Been" application on Facebook STILL thinks that I've only been to 14% of the world. That doesn't sound right, does it? I didn't think so either!

Being moderately competitive, I wanted to show that FB app who was boss, and said "I'm NOT repeating destinations until I've been EVERYWHERE!" I pride myself on being profoundly realistic.

After ticking Italy off the list in March, having spent a week in Venice, I proceeded with my plan for "Where I've Been" Map Domination and made a few arrangements to see Romania. I probably should have been aiming at one of the larger land-mass countries, but I've always had a Dracula/Transylvania fixation that I thought I could satiate with this trip.

Italy had other plans. It simply would not let go of me. I was in a death grip of spectacular cuisine, incre
dible architecture, uber-chic fashion and absurdly sexy people. I had to go back! More Italy!

My new frame of mind was "Why would you go anywhere OTHER than Italy?! WHY?! VIVA ITALIA! CIAO BELLA!!!"

And so Rome it was.

Was this the best Rome photo I could find? Noooooooo, but it does incorporate several of the aforementioned fabulous aspects of Italy:

1) Architecture (sculpture)
2) Sexy Italians (did you see those legs?)
3) Fashion (I defy you to find similar legwarmers anywhere else)

I am excitedly anticipating visiting all the other cities in Italy. Every single one of them. That Facebook app can suck it.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sooooooooooooo, yeah.

I hit that magical 500 mark and just threw up mah hands and said "DONE!" The thrill of the blog was gone, and I had moved on over to BurkaGretta (which has also been languishing, and is currently hidden - it's not you, it's me) to blather on about what I have been doing in The Iraq. Hmph.

The funniest thing about my whole blogging hiatu
s here at TravelGretta was that whilst not blogging about travel, I was actually traveling. Member how before? When I called the blog "TravelGretta"? But I would mostly just crap on about shoes and Reality TV? IRONIC! (and I'm pretty sure I'm using that correctly, for once).

I have received a number of VERY SWEET AND COMPLETELY APPRECIATED pleas to crank it up again, and I want you all to know I miss you too.

This is where I should probably discuss how, over the past 15 months, in addition to Vienna, Paris, Croatia, and Greece, I've visited Stockholm, London, Jordan, Oman, Venice and Rome...but I'd rather show you what I bought myself for my upcoming birthday...

Okay, I can't find a photo of them. But they were on sale at Barneys.