Hot! Want to be my travel companion? Read this.


In the next couple years I am planning on taking several short trips within the US, and for once, I am not looking to do this solo. Marc, sadly, has a government job with rather draconian vacation regulations, and cannot come along. So, in the name of promoting friendship within the travel community, I’m hoping to subject some poor sap to my insanity for a limited period of time! I’m open to just about anyone coming along with me, provided that you can get to either Washington DC or NYC (or somewhere in-between) to meet up with me. Here are the trips. If you’re interested in any of them, please let me know.

The Great Unnamed Diner Roadtrip

I’ve talked about this a little bit already, but I’d like to take a roadtrip around the US (or a region of it) with a focus on visiting the best (or possibly the most unusual) diners that this great nation can offer up. I’d like to produce something from this trip, and will be documenting the whole thing, as well as doing interviews and taking photos and video. I have some food journalism connections that I may tap for this one. Tentative companion: Kat

Companion requirements: Must have an affinity for diner food and greasy spoons. Journalism, photography, or media background is a plus, but if all you can do is hold a camera still, that’s fine too.

Virginia by Sidecar

Sometime this fall I will be taking our WWII-style sidecar motorcycle Nadezda on a 1-2 week trip around Virginia. Due to the top speed (downhill with a tailwind) of 65mph, the trip will largely be on backroads and will focus on small-town Virginia. Accommodation will be a combination of couchsurfing, camping, and the occasional motel. The trip is mostly for the fun of it, though I will likely be writing a couple feature articles about the trip and may talk with some local tourism organizations.

Companion requirements: Must enjoy waving to passerby and being jostled around for hours on end. Not for the faint of heart, as being a “hack monkey” (sidecar passenger) can be kind of scary because you’re so low to the ground. A helmet is provided, but you will need to supply jeans (or other tough pants) and some sort of tough jacket (leather, wool, etc) to protect your body. Mechanical knowledge a big plus, but not required. Patience a must. Tentative companion: Kirsten Alana

Roadtrip to Nowhere

I’ve mentioned this one before, but sometime in the next year or two I’d like to take a road trip out to North and South Dakota. They’re some of the last states I need to visit to complete my 50 States goal, and there’s some pretty cool stuff out there, to boot. From Mount Rushmore to the Corn Palace, I think the Dakotas are highly underrated as a great roadtrip region.

Companion requirements: Must enjoy driving and/or be capable of providing good navigation and companionship. Similar music tastes preferred, with a penchant for blasting music out car windows. Knowledge of the Great Plains region a plus, but not required.

I would really love to use these trips to get to know some of my readers and other folks in the travel community, so if you’re interested in any of these or know someone who might be, please let me know!

I tend to travel very, very cheaply, and I am very flexible on dates. I’m also looking for multiple potential folks for each trip, so if you see a “tentative companion” listed, don’t let that discourage you. Since this is all still up in the air, there’s no way to know who will actually be able to come along or not, so give me a shout!

In addition to looking for people to join my own trips, I am also always up for being a companion on someone else’s trip. I have a very flexibile schedule, so if you are headed somewhere and want a skilled navigator and photographer to come along, let me know!


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  1. I’d be honored and thrilled to tour the Dakotas. I live in North Dakota, having moved back after 35 years in Florida. I adore this state and the general area (which includes *cough*SouthDakota*cough*. XD

    What timeframe of 2012 were you looking at? There are obviously better times to be poking about rural areas… and if you are planning western ND at all — and have any inkling of using a motel, ever, at all — NOW is the time to make a reservation if you are even able to, as housing is a HUGE issue with the oil boom. Trust me, I work at a hotel in central ND atm, and we get spillover from hundreds of miles away.

    I also love reenacting, even though I’ve never done it (hubby and I have flirted with it once in a great while, but never followed up), history, coffee, science fiction, North Dakota — did I say North Dakota? — and I aspire to travel more someday. Requires a bigger paycheck, alas.

    All of these sound like great fun, I envy you!

    • Good to know about the Dakotas! To be honest, I think a lot of the time I’d just sleep in the car or camp. Any motels used would be of the funky, mom & pop sort that don’t really have a way to take reservations from someone several states away.

      If I do come through your area, I’d love to have you along!

      • *blocks out time on calendar* XD

        We do have phones out here, heh. And during the summer even the small motels fill because the railroad is doing major upgrades and maintenance all the time. So just a tip. But plenty of cheap and free camping available! Just bring the mosquito spray.

        • Oh, the issue isn’t communication, it’s that it’s hard to make reservations ahead of time when you don’t know where you’re going to be at the end of the day!

  2. I’m definitely interested in doing the diner trip with you like we’d discussed! I’ll be out of the country for basically all of 2012; I don’t know whether you’d want to wait until 2013, and if so, I’d be game. I have a photo project I’d like to do (pie-related) that I think would tie in nicely.

    • Good to know. I’m not sure about the various timelines for these, which is one reason I’m looking for multiple potential companions for each trip. That way if something doesn’t work out for one person, it will for someone else.

  3. If you’re taking diner nominations, here’s a real jewel:

    What elevates Jennie’s status is that the staff decorate the interior for every holiday: Valentine’s Day, patriotic themes for Memorial Day and Independence Day, Halloween, etc.

    And it’s only a couple of hours up the road from you.

    • Good to know! Marc and I were up in that area last year, near Bird In Hand, and have been considering day-tripping up again. That diner looks like it would make a great lunch stop.

  4. I’d be interested in the sidecar VA trip in 2012, but I can’t commit to anything right now because that’s also the summer of our move to NJ — which of course means B and I getting jobs along with actually moving. Let’s talk more about this next spring though, when I’ll have a clearer picture of things!

  5. they all sound brilliant! when were you thinking of? i am applying to uni in the us for next year so might even be in the right country…

    also, i’ve always, always wanted to go in a sidecar – i was discussing this with my friend as we roadtripped around michigan and wisconsin (and back to illinois) – she thought it was a crazy idea but it’s one of those i’ve always wanted to try! so if you need a sidecar companion, count me in – i’ve no mechanical knowledge or journalism but i can take photos, write reasonably well and learn fast!

    the diner one sounds great as well, i adore diner food, it’s one of my favourites. so again if that one requires extra hands (mouths!) let me know.

    on that score you should also have a chat with my brother – i think you follow each other on twitter already, as his cycle trip around the americas was based around food so he may well have some tips on where the best diners are etc.