When Nerds Travel

  1. You’ve read all the books on the recommended book list, plus four more.
  2. You have a list of the museums you are going to see on the tour, including temporary exhibitions, and a second list of museums to see if the guide turns his back on you long enough for you to sneak away.
  3. You really wish you’d been able to duck out of the gourmet French lunch to go to the museum of prehistoric man down the road and up in the cliff (true story.)
  4. Old days: most of your luggage weight going out is books and maps, even though you are not the guide and are not driving.
  5. Modern: your e-reader is loaded with local and regional history. Coming back, your luggage is full of books and maps even though . . .
  6. You plan your family trips on a theme, such as the Oregon Trail this year, then the fur trapper rendezvous, then the Mormon Trail, then Civil War battlefields, then US colonial history, and so on.
  7. You print out [search engine]maps with English-language bookstores for when you travel.
  8. You print out [search engine] maps with great chocolate stores for when you travel. (MomRed in Belgium)
  9. You buy books in languages you don’t read because the pictures are so great and you can puzzle out bits of the captions with the dictionary you got.
  10. Someone asks you where you got that lovely silk scarf and you say, “The gift shop at the Prado. It was part of an exhibition on pre-Reconquista art and it is based on a pattern from the third main room of the Alhambra.” (True story but not me)
  11. You hit the museum book-n-stuff shop first, then go to the museum.
  12. You tell the guide that you’d prefer to see Romanesque and earlier churches and castles, no Gothic this time. (True story, not me)
  13. You plan your vacation around museums and zoos and planetaria* and botanical gardens.
  14. You’re been known to dress to match the hotel’s history.
  15. You’re been mistaken for a) a Park Ranger, b) a docent, c) a tour guide, d) the tour guide, e) faculty, f) an official interpreter. And you have not corrected the person, but provided the information/answered the question/guided them to the proper person (“I’m sorry, but I’m a geology specialist, ma’am. If you’ll come with me to the main desk, you can ask the critter ranger.” The real National Park staff were amused, and played along because the lady was in her 80s, and I was wearing olive-green brush slacks, a khaki shirt, and a brown hat, and hiking boots.)

*Am I the only one who thinks it really should be planetarii, based on 2nd declension -um ending in the singular? Apparently planetarium is 3rd declension neuter, so the endings are -um, -i,-o,-um,-o; -a, -orum, -is, -a, -is.  And yes, I am one of those who gets into polite arguments over which declension Prius (TM) is.


10 thoughts on “When Nerds Travel

  1. Don’t about Prius, but I do recall the question once upon a time on Car Talk as to the correct plural for Lexus. The brothers decided that it didn’t matter as who could afford more than one, anyway?

  2. Do you live with your folks TX? Just curious. Apologies if this was an offensive question. It’s just been bugging me for weeks. I lived with my dad after I finished school. Mom had died years earlier.

    I really enjoy your posts. I read them every day.

    • Hi Emily. It’s not offensive but I’d prefer not to say in an open forum. If you’ll ping my e-mail, I’ll be happy to answer (almatcboykin AT aol DOT com.)

  3. Heh… You’re a pretty damn good tour guide too! 🙂 At least you ‘had’ time to pre-plan… We had a seven hour delay in Rome, talk about a screaming trip through various museums/the Vatican… sigh

    • When I was in college I did something kinda like that. Had a rail pass so I went from near Mannheim (far western end of Germany) to Munich (eastern end) to get a zoo poster Mom had asked for, then aimed myself at the old town area and spent two hours thinking, “That’s old. Nice, not as old. Ohh, look at all those mushrooms and I can’t get them because I have not way to get them home to the US. Old church. Time to get the train.” So yes, it wasn’t quite trying to get all of Rome in 7 hours, but it was superficial to say the least.

      • Oh yeah, 🙂 DId Munich much the same way, except that one was about six hours. The real reason for Rome was my travelling partner was a devout Catholic, who was bemoaning that he wouldn’t get to see the Vatican. He DID! 😀

      • I did Istanbul that way, had an 8 hour layover on the way to do something military and raced downtown on the subway to take in the Blue Mosque, Market, and Haggia Sofia before racing back to the airport to start drinking beer as I had a kidney stone attack start up about the time we were in sight of the Bosporus. Got an overnight in Munich on the way back that same trip, but having spent 3 years living in its suburbs I settled for the Marienplatz and then a return to the hotel to indulge my by-then-epic jet lag.

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