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Aug. 19th, 2012 | 12:30 am

“I guess you travel all the time, eh?”

“Sure do!” I say to the kind audience man footing the leg of the rig, keeping it from sliding while we take it down after the show.

“So where’s home?”

And the shortest answer is, “I have a house in Kalamazoo, Michigan.” Sometimes followed by, “I’m there about three weeks a year. Not all at the same time.”

And most of the time, that’s home. I keep my stuff there. I email my roommates to water the cactus and put out the recycling, I pay the housekeeper to avoid fights about who cleaned what when I get home. Three hours away, I text “Incoming!” to make sure I have a place to park and the furniture’s where I left it.

I’m there about three weeks a year. Not all at the same time.

There are ways to feel at home on the road. If you’re anywhere longer than four days, unpack, fill the hotel drawers. Longer than a week means scented candles and the same coffee shop every morning. Sometimes you’re lucky and there’s a kitchen, it’s worth it to tote along a canvas grocery bag of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and spices and a good paring knife. Sometimes it’s carry-on only and I learn the vagaries of the local grocery, an American-style hypermarket (say it “ee-pair-market” and the locals can actually help you) or the best fruit seller on the subway steps, the meat market with head-on carcasses hanging like fatty curtains.

I always bring: pillow, blanket, laptop, paper, pen. That and contact lens solution and a bank card, set me down in any city in the world and I’ll be fine. Deal with the jungle on your own; this is my self-sufficiency.

I always find: at least two coffee shops or cafes, free internet (the joke in Eastern Europe as we moved from place to place, “follow Allison, she’ll know where the net is before sunset,” as I roved the streets with my laptop open, seeking the unsecured network and not ashamed to sit on the curb to use it), good fruit and the book store with an English shelf.

Home then is the barista remembering my order. The fruit seller saving some good cherries. A new cheese to try from the clerk at de Kaaskamer, Runstraat 7. Sitting in the morning, or whatever my inner time zone says is morning, turning out words that turn into pages, the voice from the road calling home.

Today is Edmonton. Today is Second Cup in the morning for internet and Vietnamese Subs in the evening for beef salad rolls, yes, extra sriracha please, like always. Today is the guy at Italian Sandwiches trading all my coins for bills, lightening my load. Today is three shows, making small talk with three sets of audience helpers while we take down the rig, “I live on the road. Where are you from?”

I have my blanket. I have my pillow. I have my laptop and paper and pen. I am in the world. I am home.


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Location: Second Cup, Whyte Avenue, Edmonton AB Canada



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Comments {11}

blahblahblah, whatever

(no subject)

from: kathrynrose
date: Aug. 19th, 2012 05:25 am (UTC)
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Look at you, writing without an Idol deadline. :) You trying to set a good example or something? :)

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 19th, 2012 05:51 pm (UTC)
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I'm trying to give in to the habit when I feel it itching!

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Lifestyle Guru for the Hot Mess Set

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from: tamaraland
date: Aug. 19th, 2012 08:24 am (UTC)
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I can never even see the words "Second Cup" without giggling. A pro hockey player I used to date was baffled by the options and quite taken aback when the barista asked "homo?" when about to pour some milk in his coffee.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 19th, 2012 05:51 pm (UTC)
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Hahaha! Love it :)

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Laura, aka "Ro Arwen"

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from: roina_arwen
date: Aug. 19th, 2012 07:21 pm (UTC)
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Ha - that sounds like a dangerous question!

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Patty Cryan

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from: p_m_cryan
date: Aug. 19th, 2012 11:33 am (UTC)
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Good on you to find bits of home wherever you go.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 19th, 2012 05:51 pm (UTC)
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The more I practice it, the easier it gets :)

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Laura, aka "Ro Arwen"

(no subject)

from: roina_arwen
date: Aug. 19th, 2012 07:21 pm (UTC)
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I love the way you write prose so lyrically.

I never take my own pillow or blanket on the road when we go places - can't imagine the weight a blanket would add to either packed luggage or carry-on, but if you're fussy or sensitive to certain fabrics I could certainly understand it. There have definitely been times I've wished for my own pillow in a hotel, when theirs were too squishy! I always bring my laptop and a few novels, though.

How long will you be in Edmonton?

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 20th, 2012 01:16 am (UTC)
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Thank you :)

It's not a big blanket, more of a throw size - the kind of furry throw one might put on a couch, just big enough to sleep under if I have to! I stuff it in my carry on and it reminds me not to bring one-too-many pairs of shoes :)

I'm in Edmonton through next weekend. Nice to be settled for a bit!

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The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors

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from: halfshellvenus
date: Aug. 20th, 2012 06:50 pm (UTC)
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Wonderful description.

I wonder how you can keep your pillow and blanket, though? That would be an entire suitcase for me, and I like to go carry-on if I can. Or do you hope to drive, whenever possible?

You have city-to-city adventure, and make your own stability. But I would find it very hard, if I were dancing in your shoes!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 21st, 2012 09:03 pm (UTC)
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So far, no-one's given me a hard time about carrying on a pillow as a separate item, and the blanket's more of a throw size :) We do drive quite a bit, but we live out of one carry on suitcase plus one backpack or laptop bag each, because we need so much room for the trapeze rig and the show gear! My secret is plastic bag laundry in the hotel room :)

I love it, but it is tough - I tell people all the time, you have to love it or it's too hard to do it :)

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