Tag Archives: exploration

A City of Many Colors

It’s funny how quickly time passes, especially when you get older. Here we are, headed back to New Orleans yet again! (It’ll be the fourth time for me!) Apparently, it’s going to be an adventure getting down there; tropical storm Cindy made landfall yesterday and the system is headed up here to Ohio. We’ll see if our plane gets delayed or not. Hopefully it won’t be cancelled!

Earlier I had a gent who was replacing my windshield wipers ask me what I love most about New Orleans. I always have trouble pinning down something specific in answer to those questions, but I would say, simply, I love the vibes. As a country gal with a back-door Catholic upbringing, I am not all I seem. I’m always pushing myself, headed on the next adventure; I embrace my eccentric spirit wholly, and, I like to think, people like that about me. I am myself.

And that is what New Orleans is; she is herself, there is no other way to describe her. She embraces the creepy and weird, the adventurous, the musical, the artistic, the mystical, and makes no apologies about what experiences you may have. She is colorful, extreme, fantastical, and a city with her own thing going. I love every bit of her!

This year, I’ll absolutely explore my usual haunts: Cafe Du Monde–BEIGNETS!– Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, the Houses of Voodoo, and even the plantations! (It’s been a  while since I’ve been to Oak Alley. I’d like to go back!) I’ll also explore some new locations: Kermit’s Treme Mother-In-Law Lounge, recommended to me by Dustin Pari, is definitely on my list. I also want to catch a cemetery tour and see Marie Laveau’s tomb. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now.

We’ll see what adventures I go on this time around. I’m sure, though, that it’ll be a fun, relaxing experience, as it has been the past four times! I do adore you, New Orleans.

Sincerely, as I prep for my departure, I am praying for those affected by tropical storm Cindy. May all souls in turmoil find strength, may you be blessed in your rebuilding. And may all those who have passed too soon find their ways to Heaven.

See you guys in a few weeks!

Your turn: What are some of your favorite locations/things about New Orleans? Comment below!

Memories of An English Excursion: The Taxicab Driver

Alrighty! Well I’m pleasantly surprised to find I did journal about the taxicab driver when I was in England. All this weekend I’ve been submitting to journals. Yesterday was Chicken Soup for the Soul. Today I’m aiming for the Silver Linings Writing Contest and one other.

The “other” being… of a mature rating… of a certain kind of anthology…

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…. and also I may not get to it. We’ll see.

(Update: I know I’m not getting to it, so I’m not stressing. T’was low on my list. ANYWAYS.)

So, for my Silver Lining, I am reading through my England journalings. Back in 2009, I signed up for a study abroad program at Lancaster University. I was shy, scared, and on my own. For the first time in any of my travels. It’s one thing to travel alone for the first time in your home country. But another to travel alone for the first time in a completely new country.

My emotions were accurate.

The most memorable moment of my England jaunt was when I went to London to visit an American family. They were relatives of a woman at church and I promised I would connect with them. Around the time of Thanksgiving, I did. We had a wonderful visit. I was pleasantly surprised to find them with an American-English Thanksgiving feast in their kitchen. Honestly, I really hadn’t expected it. And I had been missing home. I remember at their house, I forgot I was in England.

The whole visit was a wonderful recharge from culture shock. Because of them, I could get through my finals that would start in a few weeks.

Man, I forgot how tough college is sometimes. Especially abroad.

So on the adventure back to Lancaster (in Northeast England — up between Manchester and The Lake District), it definitely took smarts.

  • The American family saw me off in Ely.
  • Train from Ely to Birmingham.
  • Train from Birmingham to Preston.
  • Train from Preston to Lanc–

–well, that’s when we hit a speed bump.

The train from Preston to Lancaster had been cancelled. It was 10PM. Thirty miles to Lancaster. No other trains were coming.

So. Close.

How was I to get back to my dorm? Was I to wait for the morning? Get a hotel room? Miss my Monday classes?

Cue Angelic interference. Three women I had talked to on the train disembarked. They saw my deer-in-the-headlight expression. They were headed to Lancaster too. Or past it. I don’t remember. All I remember: they were headed in the same direction.

Could they drop me off? Nope. Of course their car was full.

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However, the women did help me in another way. There were taxicabs lined up outside of the station. Waiting for a customer.

“Can someone give me a ride to Lancaster University?” I mumbled. Tired. Frustrated. Shy. Uncertain.

The drivers sprung into action. They bickered over who would take the large fair. In hindsight, I realized it was rare for most drivers to make a £45 fare. Honestly, I consider it a win-win for both of us. I really didn’t want to stay in a hotel, so I was happy to pay him. Like Kismet, I had the perfect amount of cash in my wallet — for fare and a generous tip.

10:00PM. Cab ride, Preston to Lancaster University.

The Indian driver and I chat here and there. I take in the M2 Motorway. Lancaster University was in the countryside, just outside of Lancaster itself. So I really hadn’t had the opportunity to take in a highway or city life. I did get to walk around London by myself for twenty minutes, and now I get to view the highway. Definitely an alluring sight.

The driver pipes up suddenly. The words that come out of his mouth floor me.

“You are gorgeous!” He says.

I’m sure my expression followed the Emoji: (⊙﹏⊙✿)

“Uh… thanks.” I stammer. At that point in my life I wasn’t really confident in my appearance. Especially because I had lost half of my weight before England through a starvation diet, only to gain it back during my three month stay.

“Do you have a boyfriend?” Asks the driver.

“Uh. Yeah.”

“Does he take care of you?”

“Yup.”

“Do you… ‘gupti-gupti’ with boyfriend?”

Again,  (⊙﹏⊙✿)

“Uh… uh. Yeah.”

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I mean, come on, what else was I going to say? I wasn’t sure where this conversation was leading… and frankly I didn’t go there. I wanted to get home. So I did what my parents raised me to do: politely change the subject.

Ten minutes later, I was back on Lancaster University. The memory behind me.

Honestly, looking back on that memory now, I chalk it up to a great story to tell. A travel story of my own. Almost six years later, I’m on my way to becoming the woman I always wanted to be. Maybe, just maybe, this cab driver was seeing what I couldn’t see: confidence, beauty, intelligence, and a passion for exploring the world.

Even if I was so shy back then, I am proud I made it through. I accomplished what I thought was impossible: a study abroad, with good marks, and a heck of a lot experience under my belt. Now, in 2015, I’m a passionate writer, an anxious explorer, and ready to take on the world. That is my Silver Lining.

Look out. Here I come.

Return to New Orleans!

I’m sitting here, Layover with Anthony Bourdain playing in the background as I write this. His show has really become a favorite of mine. Second only to Expedition Unknown.

Like Josh Gates, Anthony Bourdain celebrates culture. However, he does it through food, while Josh does it through legends. Both are travelers, explorers, intellectuals, and passionate modern historians. With awesome personalities.

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Now why is this relevant to my blog post about New Orleans?

First, excuse me.

I’M GOING TO BE IN NEW ORLEANS TOMORROW! FOR A WEEK!! 

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The first time I went to New Orleans was as a graduation present in 2011. I had my Bachelor’s degree in creative writing, the horizon looked endless, and I wanted to try something new.

Since Halloween 2010, I had really ramped up my interest in the paranormal. Thanks to Ghost Hunter’s Waverly Hills Halloween Special, I had, yet again, started researching into the things that go bump in the night. The things that still made my spine crawl at the possibility. Was that really a draft? Or was the door pushed by something else? What were ghosts? How do people investigate haunted locations?

I marathoned Ghost Hunters and continued my research into the paranormal field.

And then I came across Destination Truth, GH’s “sister show” with host — guess who — Josh Gates.

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Yup. Actual quote there.

Long story short, both my interests in paranormal legends and travel were stimulated, as well as, distantly, my writing. Although, I will admit in the years between 2011 and the present, I was less inclined to write… and wanted to explore. After all, isn’t that what all post-college students do? Find themselves outside of the academic world in one way or another?

New Orleans helped me find myself. I discovered that there was a place in the world where people could be exactly who they wanted to be. That helps them discover it, in a place without judgement. In turn, watching all the eclectic, culture-filled people that live in New Orleans makes a person realize that the strongest criticism — the one we listen to and fear — is inside of ourselves.

New Orleans is… just so hard to describe. Seriously. Maybe, in fact, that’s the perfect description of the Southern Culture Hub. Jackson Square is always packed with a combination of tourists and street performers, mystics and shoppers. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can catch a traditional wedding party leaving the St. Louis Cathedral. There’s music everywhere and people dance to it… just because they’re moved to.

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(Those are pictures I took in 2011)

But I’m also excited for the people I’m with to experience New Orleans. My brother, Camille, and Dan. As far as I know, they’ve never been there. (If my memory serves correct) And I’m really excited for Dan to experience his first major travel. He’s only had car trips before… so flying and New Orleans is going to be a completely different world for him.

I’m excited to return. To see New Orleans in a different light. New Orleans helped me become myself. The Wondering Writer who isn’t afraid to jump in the deep end.

So… take your breath… here we go.

Travel

Dear Friends and Family of the Interwebs,

I have a request to ask you. It is purely voluntary. However, let me point out, that if you should fulfill this mission, it helps me… A LOT.

Over the past month I have been recreating my blog; morphing it from a single-dimensional, standalone source of ranting, discussing, and showing to a website. A beautiful, multi-layered, professional-looking website. Where I can advertise myself as a person and be entirely confident in all that I show. In addition, I plan to share some original, unpublished works on my website. They are easy to find: located in the upper-right corner titled “Original Stories.” I will be writing a new Morty’s Stories, titled “The Moment You’re Mine” that will be several chapters. I will also be continuing my posts at Fangirlish and on my Transformers fanfiction.

Also, I have been working on another love of mine, that I had previously shoved into the background of my pursuits. My films. My videos. Visual storytelling.

For the past week, I have been reorganizing my YouTube channel. It is there that I plan to showcase a variety of new projects, ranging from Let’s Plays to VLOGs to travel videos, skits, and… well… really anything that comes to mind. However, my most recent project will be a Let’s Play of the horror video game Five Nights at Freddy’s. (Let’s Play videos are, literally, gamers playing through video games — beginning to end.)

Here’s what I need from you: followers on my website and subscribers on my YouTube channel!

To follow my website (which will include alerts as I release a new post and a monthly newsletter summarizing what has been going on), all you have to do is enter your email address in the top left corners, located under “Social Media” and the WordPress follow button. (If you have a WordPress account and would like to also follow me through that, by all means click the button!)



Here is the link for my website: http://katielmortimer.com

Over on YouTube, I believe that only Google accounts can Subscribe to my channel. That means those of you who have a gmail.com address should be able to click that Subscribe button. So please Subscribe to my YouTube channel too!

Here is the link for my YouTube channel: youtube.com/c/katiemortimer

At the very least, having Followers and Subscribers makes my website and YouTube gain more Followers and Subscribers in return. I gain more popularity. Through more clicks of buttons and typing of keys, I come that much closer to doing what I love for a living. And, if that succeeds, you will be able to label yourselves as the first fans!

However, let me take the “salesman voice” out of my email for a minute. This is more important. If you don’t click the buttons or put in your email, I know you already support me. I thank you, from the depths of my soul, for all that you have given me already. It really does mean so much to me.

I am only sending out this email as a bulletin. Not as something to pressure you into doing. I am only asking for your help in getting my statistics improve.

Thank you, ladies and gents, for your time. I hope you have a blessed day. I also hope your 2015 is going well, and that it continues to be a blessed year.

Love to you all!

Sincerely,

Katie L. Mortimer (KittleMort)