Oh, I see! moments
Travel Cultures Language

What’s in Your Suitcase?

by Joyce McGreevy on October 9, 2017

A souvenir store in Budapest, Hungary leads a writer to seek the locus of travel inspiration and other aha moments. (Image © Joyce McGreevy)

Souvenir stores straddle the border between “this place” and “any place.”
© Joyce McGreevy

Collected Travel Inspiration,
With & Without Souvenirs

Souvenirs—talismans of travel inspiration, mere trinkets, or  trash?  Can they inspire aha moments or only memorialize them?

The very word is a souvenir of 18th century French—from souvenir “to remember.” But I like the ancient Latin even better. Subvenire, “to come up from below,” tips its hat to the subconscious. It makes me think of opening old boxes in a basement and finding forgotten treasure, some silly, small item of no value.  And yet  . . .

More Than a Travel Mascot

by Joyce McGreevy on June 26, 2017

A toy canine travel mascot named Bedford, dressed for Maui, inspires his human travel buddy to see the world differently. (Image © Joyce McGreevy)

“Have pawsport, will travel,” that’s Bedford’s motto.
© Joyce McGreevy

To See the World Differently,
Take Your Travel Buddy

I have a confession. Although my posts for OIC Moments suggest I’m a solo traveler, that’s not the whole story. Truth is, I never travel without a guide. To some, he’s just a “travel mascot.” To me he’s much more, a travel buddy who helps me see the world differently.

Bedford, take a bow. And a bow-wow.

A toy canine travel mascot named Bedford, dressed in Scottish tartan, inspires his human travel buddy to see the world differently. (Image © Joyce McGreevy)

Testing the tartan in Scotland . . .
© Joyce McGreevy

A toy canine travel mascot named Bedford, sipping tea in Istanbul, inspires his human travel buddy to see the world differently. (Image © Joyce McGreevy)

. . . and the tea in Turkey.
© Joyce McGreevy

Quaintness, Rudeness, and Bad Food

by Joyce McGreevy on June 5, 2017

An urban view of the Grand Canal, Dublin counters cultural stereotypes of Ireland as “quaint” and “rural.” (Image © Joyce McGreevy)

Beyond quaintness and cottages: This, too, is Ireland.
© Joyce McGreevy

A Travel Guide to Cultural Stereotypes

“Do people in Ireland talk normal?” the 13-year-old girl asked me. “You know, do they say things like cowabunga?” As cultural stereotypes go, this was one of the more intriguing. I’d never thought of cowabunga as a barometer of normality.

Cowabunga is a bundle of cultural stereotypes. Considered surfer slang, it’s a word no real surfer would utter. But actors playing surfers on Gidget, a popular ‘60s TV show, used it frequently. In the ‘90s, animated series like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Simpsons resurrected cowabunga.

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