All posts in aric s. queen

you’ll sleep here tonight

while this site is reserved for things I humbly produce, when a vignette so well put together as this one I recently did with award-winning director J.R. Heffelfinger is produced, I couldn’t help but share it.

this – one of the more heartbreaking stories from the road I’ve ever encountered.

it’s all free now, over there.

[cross-posted from the other site]

I was going to wait until I could change a few things on my big ole travel site – AQueenAndCountry – namely the home page with the loooooong introduction video and stuff like that, but I don’t have the money for it.

nevertheless, I leave for Amsterdam tomorrow and wanted to get this out there.

it’s free.

the vids, the photos, the stories, the podcasts – it’s all free.

once upon a time, I had envisioned a way to charge $5 a month for all of this – thus funding my adventures and showing you a bit of the world. but that’s not exactly fair, nor right, and I ended up feeling like an asshole for it. I thought back to being a poor kid in Tulsa, Oklahoma and my parents barely having enough to feed us. so why should another in that same position miss out on my Life of Riley? he shouldn’t. and I’m sorry I ever tried to make money from my blessings.

it should be said that a large handful of people saw past that and helped kickstart this little thing – and for that I thank them…

but it’s all free now.

watch, steal, laugh, think, ignore, enjoy – all of it.

there’ll be much more after this Europe on a Bike Adventure I’m heading off on soon, but for now… well… tuck in.

 

the indestructible wine glass.


I wasn’t going to talk a lot about it.

the entire idea was to get away from talking about it.

to get back to books, to substance. photos are fucked, as are their masters – thank god we don’t have an Instagram for writing yet. here’s a few lines, but they don’t snap… maybe I’ll try the Norman Mailer button – ahhhhh. yes. now I’m sounding good. so the writing is all that’s left these days. I got tired of the instantaneous prose – the NatGeo thing wore me out – go here, write this, get up, go there – the beautiful spontaneity went out with Kerouac and Co. and ohmygod, even his name is on the Hollywood Billboard again.

so yes, I like writing books. that’s what I’ve decided.

there was some money in my pocket a few months ago and I bought a bike and a tent and an indestructible wine glass. with the money left over, I bought a one-way ticket to Europe – where I write you from now.

I wasn’t going to talk about this – simply do it and save you the hassle of liking whatever I manage to mutter in 140 characters, but I woke up this morning and it was cold and rainy in Berlin and my throat was sore and I walked around looking for something warm of Alonso’s to wear because I don’t have any warm clothes and I got real, real scared because I chose to bike around Europe for a long time and it’s cold and rainy and I don’t have any warm clothes.

add to that, I don’t know how to bike – I mean, ride, sure. but I don’t know how to change a flat.

nor do I have the money for proper campgrounds every night, which means I’m going to have to stealth camp – out late, up early. in fact, I spent all of my money on this bike and tent and indestructible wine glass. if I was guessing, I’d say I have about $700 in my bank account. if it weren’t for a childhood friend basically inventing a position for me at his warehouse, I’d have nothing but $700 for the next 8-9 months. there’s a magazine I really like that I just started writing for, but that money’s going to the adventure after this and…

oh wait. I’m getting ahead of myself.

here’s how this all came about:

while on the NatGeo gig, I was driving and began to worry that everything after this was gonna be a drag, ’cause there I was getting paid and shit from National Geographic. that’s it, son – the tops. you can’t get bigger than that. well done and stuff, but where to after this? what in the world could I do to impress my nephew after that? what was cooler than being a National-Geographic-Fucking-Traveler?

I thought and I thought and pondered and then realized that there was – within my reach – only one thing that could beat that:

a treasure hunter.

oh, you laugh, but in the past few months, I’ve been buried in books, on forums [youngest guy talkin' coils by 20 years], in touch with people who know people, re-watching Indiana Jones and – don’t laugh – Sahara, planning-planning-planning. you should see my Amazon cart. it’s so cool.

so yes – I decided to become a treasure hunter… when I turn 40. seemed like an appropriate age to take life seriously. which meant I had to get the remaining big trips underway – no matter the weather, the funds, the horrible planning [see: flat tire], all of that. but if you wait until everything is perfect for an adventure, then it simply becomes a vacation. I’m no good at vacations – they have an end date. not to take away from yours – god knows I’d love a beach with a bar and a card that worked for buying drinks without that horrible BoA email letting you know funds are low. gosh, that sounds fun. but I’m no good at it. my inability with money is almost as strong as my aversion towards it. but it ain’t me.

so, yes. treasure hunting and the last few remaining big trips. Europe. I missed Europe. I ached for Europe. once you peel back the touristy side and then the annoying side, there lies a side to it that opens the door for anyone to dream anything – something about the architecture and all the booze and fucking. it’s dreamy and sad and sings sad, sad songs that make you just want to walk in an orange and red leafed park with someone you’re about to break up with. chain smoke. be-boop-bop, yeah. whatever you want to feel can be made to look cool and ohhhhhhh, babe – it’s right here. especially in Berlin where the secrets are only kept from those not here. did you hear who _____ to ________? it’ll be passed from ear-to-ear, but not emailed. no sir, you be right here for this scandal or you get none of it. I like that. I miss that. even childish gossip gets made over in dark grownup eyeshadow and is cooooooooooool. I like that.

so yeah, I missed Europe and I wanted to go real slow and be able to take in the castles and cheese and chateau’s and try out that fancy titanium indestructible wine glass that I might have mentioned. it’ll take a while – but I got a lot of while. the debates and Chic-Fil-A sandwiches and people getting shot all the time and finding water on Mars but no one cares because ohmygod some  living Cabbage Patch hillbillychild got some TV show and said something mildly dumb and hang on while we put a fake taco into a Dorito and serve that shit up with a now-illegal large soda size and…

fuck.

that’s an exasperated fuck, not an angry fuck. just like an uuuuuuuugggggggghhhhhh with a side of how the fuck did we get here?

I digress. sorry.

it comes down to this: I like writing books now and seeing things and taking a photo [most likely with the Hefe setting on Instagram, thank you] and being able to share all that with the few folks who might enjoy a little peek. blogging sounds gross and I’m not a big fan. I want to write something and then send it to Sunny and then have her send it back all nice and pretty and then get drunk on some cheap prosecco and rewrite it and send it to her in the hopes she won’t disown me and then, two years later – ta da! a real live book. that some people laugh because of. or imagine because of. or feel really bad for everyone I date because of.

but it’s a contribution – one that is worked hard on. one maybe you’ll like and laugh and imagine and feel bad for.

god, where am I going with this?! DAMN YOU, BLOGGING.

ahem.

I bought a bike and am now in Europe and don’t have any money so it’s going to be interesting and an adventure and I hope you’re doing okay and autumn is really, really pretty where you’re at and you’re not about the dump the person you’re walking through it with.

see you later.

I’m gonna go see some stuff.

the plan

didn’t know if you heard, read, were deafened by my shouting it from the rooftops here in Brooklyn…
National Geographic called.
called me.
on the phone.

and – as stated – there’s some stuff I can’t talk about.
but there’s also a few things I can.

I’m headed coast-to-coast soon.
in America.
from D.C. down South then alllllll the way to Los Angeles.
6 whole weeks.

but it’s not just a trip, it’s got a theme.
the theme is good.
as in ‘The Good Traveler’.
want to see something cool?
here’s the link to the page that has the name of the giant and then the name of your pal Queen as well.

they made me a banner.
THEY MADE ME A BANNER.
there’s nothing on there yet and I might get in trouble for sharing it but I’m sorry.
someone at NatGeo [I'd like to think we're on a nickname-friendly basis] asked someone else to make a banner with my name on it.
and they did.
and they spelled my name correctly.
National Geographic spelled my name correctly.

allow me one moment to mentally print that off and hang it on my non-existent fridge.

anyway.

it’s all about good stuff, namely: people doing good stuff.
food and music and adventure, sure.
but I’m headed off to find the good folks.

do you know any?

people and places like The Big O Foundation, The Tiziano Project, Caine’s Arcade, etc.
there’s no wrong suggestions – it could be an org, it could be one person.

but it’s all going to come from public suggestions.

so if you got someone good in/around that area you see above, then tell me.
I’ll go pay ‘em a visit.

let’s start there…

because this trip starts next Monday.

oh man.

the call.

we need to talk is never a good thing to hear.

someone’s breaking up with you.
someone’s offended by something you said or did.
someone’s watch has gone missing.
etc.

this was from National Geographic – this email. I could only assume it was about me splashing the big ‘as seen on National Geographic’ logo everywhere since my first article, and assumed this was the one conversation I’d have before being contacted by their legal department.

as I emailed back, I wanted to tell them look, sorry, but how often does a wannabe travel writer end up in The House With The Golden Border? and how could they blame me? if your band opens up for The Killers, then you engrave ‘as seen on tour with The Killers’ on every t-shirt and album printed, right?

a lot was said in that phone call, none of which alluded to me milking their logo.
and a lot of it I can’t talk about.

but when the phone call was over, I sat on that balcony in Buenos Aires wondering if it had actually been them, or an ex-girlfriend who knew exactly how to crush my very soul.

it took a few months to understand what was going on.
and it took a lot of contracts and phone calls and shared documents to make me believe it was actually happening.

but it was.
and it is.

and – in one week, I take a train to D.C. where I’ll spend a few days being pre-briefed in the Golden Offices.
and then – a few days later, I’ll be getting in a car they paid for.
going coast-to-coast with a video camera, a microphone, a regular camera and a pen.

because in 10 days, I go from being one of National Geographic’s siphon-ers…
to being one of their Travelers.

more soon.
as soon as I’m done throwing up.

pickles. and jams.

different people come into your life at special times – for special reasons.

sometimes for love.

sometimes for support.

sometimes for inspiration.

and sometimes to keep you from being stranded at the airport en route to Rio.

 

the two girls and I laughed at the fact that – despite us not really doing the touristy stuff here in Buenos Aires – we kept running into each other. and you need to know that this is a big ole place. but 3 times in 4 days was enough and we finally all decided to sit down for a beer and get to know one another.

where ya from. where ya been. what’d ya like. where’s next?

then:

isn’t Buenos Aires nice?

my god, it’s gorgeous. I don’t even want to go to Rio now. I just want to stay here until I fly back to the States.

yeah, we know. we were just in Rio, though, and it’s gorgeous there. so you’ll love it. and after everything they make you go through to get the visa, you’d better!

ugh. another long line at the border? do they charge us as much as they did in Bolivia?

you don’t have your’s yet?

nah. will just get it at the airport.

[they both looked at each other with a worried look, and then to me with a worried look. I always get nervous when people who know nothing about my well being worry about my well being.]

you’re not going to Rio.

why not? I laughed. thinking this might be Americans being Americans and making everything extreme.

because it takes weeks to get a visa. you have to get a certain type of photo, print out your bank statements, show a scan or copy of your last check from your employer, have a hotel booked and then pay $160.

I had none of those things.

and this is when my well being began to worry about my own well being. ’cause, see – my flight back to the States. the big ole expensive one that set me back I-don’t-even-want-to-tell-you-how-much… was from Rio.

but I remained calm. mostly because they were both good-looking and I wanted to appear tough.

guess I’ll just have to buy another cheap flight from here to Rio the same day and just get on my flight then.

the good-looking girls went back to being the worried girls.

they won’t let you on the plane here without a visa for there.

I suddenly stopped caring about being tough.

there isn’t money in my account for another I-don’t-want-to-tell-you-how-much flight. I spent that already on the first one.

I had a flight booked from here to Rio on Saturday.

and then from Rio to LAX a few days later.

there wasn’t going to be a visa.

and there wasn’t going to be a flight.

now, thank the man upstairs it was Sunday and nothing could be done. this gave me a chance to very calmly, very strategically and very methodically, get very, very drunk.

I seriously had nowhere to go. and no means to do it with. the last time I was this worried about actually making it out was Ethiopia a few years back.

do I go the Brazilian Embassy and wax [ahem] poetic about my own stupidity and see if they could expedite one?

could I beg them to let me on the flight and just live in the airport for 4 days?

or…

do I go to the airlines and see how much it would be to change my Rio-Panama-LAX flight to Buenos Aires-Panama-LAX?

I chose the latter. because I love it here, it would be less hassle and fuck Brazil. they should post stuff like this all over travel websites. [note: they post this stuff all over travel websites].

so, to the airline office I went.

‘how much to change the flight?’ I asked in the nicest voice my hangover would allow.

‘we don’t fly from Buenos Aires to LAX.’

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. this is Buenos Aires! everything is perfect and beautiful and delicious! nothing ever goes wrong!

‘how much for a flight to Panama? and then I can just get my connecting flight there?’

‘you won’t be allowed on the plane if you miss your first flight.’

had I eaten any snacks the night before amidst my wine bender, this is where I would have pooped myself a little.

‘then what do I do?’

‘well, to fly from here to LAX will be $950′.

I was about $500 short of that.

a grey beard. broke. I stunk. toothpaste stains on my shorts. alone. homeless. 35…

and I’m about to have to call Mom and Dad for a flight home.

and just a week or so before, I was talking someone through his transitioning phase, telling him that ‘when it gets rough, that’s when you really have the adventure! that’s when you really get to know yourself!’

I had no interest in an adventure, nor in getting to know myself.

‘is there anything you would suggest?’- pleading.

‘well… there is one thing you can do. take a boat to Uruguay, then you could fly from there to Panama, Panama to Los Angeles. it would cost you $240.’

I handed her my card, praying there was enough. last time I checked, it was around $250.

turns out I had $224. but that’s why we have overdraft protection.

so there you go. I have to find a boat to a new country, pray they don’t have the same tastes in visa requirements as their neighbor to the north… and make my $262 in cash last for 9 more days.

and $10 of that goes to buying each of the girls a bottle of wine.

’cause lemme tell ya… finding this all out at the airport the day of would have been a kick in the pants.

a

p.s. both the timing and irony of my 2nd article for National Geographic making their home page being all about me – the seasoned traveler – sharing some tips from my wise learned mind is amazing.

p.p.s. sadly, having ended up in this situation many a time, I know a select few of you will do what you always do and ask if I need money. I do not. there are some cheques on the way to my account from a few clients – a few clients who ironically chose this month to be the time when they were late with their payments. and, well, tomorrow or the next day, the new travel project launches, which you can help support. so send nothing, except potty-mouth letters to Rio… stupid Rio.

 

getting closer…

adventures.

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things are going to be a bit quiet here for the next month or so.

I hope you understand.

it’s early in the morning and my little bag is as packed as much as a little bag can be packed.

there’s less clothes, more toys.

hopefully, this will all make sense soon.

so, until then – if you’ll excuse me…

I’m off to go make something beautiful.

a

ch-ch-ch-changes

photo

as you can see from this fabulous makeover, there’s changes in the air – and it’s not just aesthetical. I’m not sure that’s a word, but this wine disagrees, so we’re going to go with it for now.

for the past 3-4 months – along with finalizing the book, getting it ready for Amazon and iPads and the masses [who else is there, really?] – myself and a few others have been going back-and-forth on a little [now big] idea I’ve had for the better part of 5 years. that new title on the header bar might give you a clue…

it’s a really good idea and is in no way original, but it still just might work. there’s still not a lot I can say about it, which is tough, seeing how I’m crap at keeping exciting news a secret, but I can tell you it’s exciting news. I can also tell you that all of your wildest web dreams are about to come true – I’m about 72% sure of it.

here’s also what I can tell you:

- the OMKOS and rough sundays podcasts have all been archived and will be back here.

- I’m getting back into making little movies.

- I miss local live music.

- my current Flickr is messy.

- I am constantly blessed with meeting the most interesting and wonderful of people.

- there’s another book being worked on.

- and an app.

okay, so I was going to space all of that out over the next few months, but this wine is too tasty.

basically, what I’m saying is this:

check back often.

excuse the mess.

and get ready to see something pretty fuckin’ cool.

more soon.

a

twenty nine and 2190 days

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well, thanks, little nephew of mine.

it’s been a helluva year, since my last birthday…

let’s see:

- Josie and I spent my 34th cruising on Absurdity in the South of England, if you learn to sail, you can have her [boat].

- after that, I went to go see Nico [he'll be a quasi-uncle to you] in Paris and had the time in Paris that everyone wants.

- but I got into a little bit of trouble with the U.K. government, and had 30 days to leave.

- so, naturally, I dragged Josie to Vietnam. to live.

- we stayed there for a few months, but ended up going our separate ways. she to Australia to work. me to Oregon to finish a book.

- a few months into my stay in Bend, I finally got to meet you. and that very day, I started writing another book.

- a month of so after that, I flew to Perth to see Josie for her birthday. we took a campervan around wine country. it was fun.

- a few months later, I left Bend for a month in Oklahoma and the promotional run of the book would be released. it sold out.

- a few weeks after that, I got the call that I never thought I’d get – I was about to take a job in New York fuckin City! I’ve now been here a little more than 4 months and it’s been amazing. I’ve been sending you little postcards and stuff, hopefully one day you’ll be able to check them out.

- my birthday was spent with a lot of friends. which, considering how short I’ve been here, should tell you how lucky I am.

… so there you go, nephew – it’s been a fun 34th year. you just started walking and by the time my 36th [ugh] rolls around, you might even be able to talk with me on the phone a little bit. a lot of your and my birthdays will be spent on the phone, but I’ll try and make that up to you.

so, thanks for the card and the cheeky little grin. I showed this to a lot of people here and they all thought you were amazing.

and I think so too.

love,

Uncle Aric

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