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The List That Inspired The List

Hey Team,


I was digging around in the basement of my laptop, Charley, the other day and came across a file simply titled, “50things.doc” and you’ll never guess what was inside when I opened it up! Well, unless you guessed 50 things, then…good on you I guess. Have a cookie.


Here’s the thing, it didn’t contain the 50 things from the to do list longtime readers of Amtrekker have come to know and love. It contained the ORIGINAL 50 list! The list that inspired the list! Not just a “simple” list of things that I could do while crisscrossing North America, but a highly comprehensive list. The list of ALL the things I could ever possible want out of life…when I was 24. (Maybe 25.)


Man is it embarrassing.


Regardless, it got me to ruminating on a couple things. Most notably, it’s AMAZING how much priorities can change in seven or eight years. Furthermore, it’s interesting how many of those priorities have changed as a direct result of the Amtrekker adventure itself. Turns out living out of a backpack on stranger’s couches for two years will change you for life.


But no more messing around. I know what you guys want. Here’s that original list! More >

Princess Emily

**Hey Team! This is a VERY old story. It started in 2002 and was original posted on an old Myspace blog on May 13th, 2006. But it’s one of the most incredible things that has ever happened to me and I wanted to share it without having to link to (shudder) Myspace. So here it is…unedited.** Hey Team, I’ve been pretty busy at Disney these last couple weeks and while I was being thankful for how much more they pay me now that I’m doing design work I had a flashback to one of those moments that makes working the frontlines in attractions worth the negative paychecks. And since only a handful of you have heard this story… Our adventure begins on my very first day wearing a Disney nametag, circa 2002 Orlando. So the Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah nametag, not the gold one. It’s day two of Florida’s version of Traditions and we begin our tour of the Magic Kingdom outside the maingate. Ohhh pretty…there’s the train station…blah blah blah…berm…blah blah blah, now let’s go through the gate. Look, Floral Mickey, one of the most photographed locations in Walt Disney World. Fast Forward to our tour guide catching eyes with a little girl More >


Lux Delux

Hey Team,

**Good news! I’ve single-handedly discovered the one sure-fire way to ensure you stop blogging completely. Just write a post about how you intend to write more.

Even better news!  Here’s a post I told my new friends over at Lux Delux I would write for them…a month ago. Enjoy.**

First, some background: You know me. You know I spent years wandering around North America living out of a backpack and sleeping on stranger’s couches. If you know me really well, then you know that for the last year I’ve been doing basically the same thing (…except now I get to create big urban adventure games at each destination and more often than not I get to shower).

Bottom line, you can’t travel that way, that often, without having a couple of close calls. Two in particular always come to mind, and both took place in everyone’s favorite city of sin. I won’t go into detail again but one of them involves an old man who walked into a seedy downtown bar with a few too many dollar bills in his hand on dollar shot night (and it almost turned into free black eye night for yours truly) and the second involves More >


Now What?

Hey Team,

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post for Amtrekker, and what with TBEX going on in Vancouver this weekend I felt forced into evaluating why that might be. The easy answer is, I’m not homeless anymore…but that feels like a cop out. The truth, as usual, is a little more complicated and a lot sillier. (“Silly” as in “flippant” or “lame.” Do not expect clowns.)

At some point, while I was traveling around North America and living on strangers’ couches, a travel blog was born. And not because I was trying to write a travel blog so much as the concept of travel blogs started to grow up around me. In fact, it wasn’t until the tail end of the adventure, when I started having more and more contact with other travelers who wrote for the web, that I realized travel blogging was even a thing. Up until that point I just thought of blogs as a fairly personal thing and that some folks, like me, happened to be doing a lot of traveling, ergo their writing was largely travel centric.

(That may have been a confusing sentence. But rather than trying to fix my slapdash writing More >


Graycliff Hotel’s Greatest Aminity

After narrowly surviving the living nightmare of being trapped in one of those travel mishap laden Romantic Comedies (minus the romance and comedy), courtesy of AmericanAirlines, I finally made it to Nassau a scant half-day late. Even having missed 12 of the 40 hours scheduled in the Bahamian capitol, it was surprisingly action-packed…so I’m kind of having a tough time decided what to write about, but I suppose the best place to start is always the beginning.

I’d love to call where we stayed that first night a hotel, but as the Internet’s resident hobo, for me the word “hotel” usually conjures up images of that one room garbage pit with stained carpet and a lonely Queen-sized bed that I get offered every time a flight gets cancelled. (Thanks again, AA.)

Graycliff was significantly more unique. As sad as I am to constantly have to revert back to Disneyland anytime I want to draw analogs to a unique location…it really did remind me of New Orleans Square. (For those super Disney nerds out there, it really struck me how similar it looked to Angel Alley, my all-time favorite place to just sit and relax at DL. Bonus points if you know what the hell More >


Gate 42 to Gate 42: Longest Roundtrip Ever

I think I know where I went wrong. Clearly I’m not greedy enough. Frankly, it’s kind of pathetic how little I’ve learned from Gordon Gecko.

I was on the phone with everyone’s favorite triathlete, @katymoe, making sure the hatches were all battened down (whatever that means…) at the homestead when I hear over the LAX PA system, “Attention passengers of flight 276. Unfortunately we are overbooked by about five passengers on tonight’s flight to Miami. If anyone would be willing to take a redeye through Fort Worth tonight, you’ll leave about two hours later but I’ll also provide you with a $300 American Airlines flight voucher. If anyone would like to volunteer, please come see me at the service desk.”

I practically hung up on Katy. I already had a four-hour layover in Miami so I figured if I have to sit around in airports all night anyway I might as well make a couple Benjamin’s (that’s what the cool kids call hundred dollar bills) off the deal.

“Excuse me, what time does this money plane land in Miami?”

“9:45. Do you have a connecting flight.”

“Yeah, but it doesn’t take off until 10:45.”

“Let me see your ticket. Ahh…it starts boarding at 9:45, that’s cutting More >

The Crop Circle Video! Finally!!!

Hey Team,

Enjoy the New Year’s Eve shenanigans! Here’s my gift to you (inspired by a desire to vindicate myself in the face of that crazy SOB William Shatner).

“Amtrekker travels to Beulah, MI to create a crop circle!

Failures and ethnically insensitive impressions ensue.”

I’m done.



A Few Rambling Thoughts on Cruising

Hey Team,

Cruise ships are not a form of transportation. They’re more like huge freaking hotels that you’re locked inside of for 16 hours at a time with a few thousand of your closest friends (provided you don’t have many actual close friends), and when they finally open the gates, you’ve been mysteriously teleported to yet another strange city. I guess teleportation is technically a form of transportation…but let’s not dwell. Here’s my point:

You can’t go around comparing cruise ships to airplanes just because it makes your environmental impact argument sound better. Hell yeah it takes less fuel to fly from Ft. Lauderdale to Grand Cayman than it does to take a boat. Know why? Cause you’re transporting 200 people…not five THOUSAND people in a huge freaking floating city that allows for more entertainment and adventure in exotic locales than the average working class family would have the opportunity to experience during their one and only week of vacation a year by any other means.

And for those people, cruising is perfect. I can’t imagine a better way to get a smattering of everything a great vacation has the potential to offer. Not everyone can drop everything and travel for extended periods. More >

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