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Neurotic As Hell

Choosing Figs Blog

"Two weeks is more than most Americans get for vacation each year." I reminded myself of that in my Chiang Mai hostel, two weeks before leaving. I'd been traveling for fifteen months, eleven of those in Asia, and it was time to go home. Two weeks, at the time, felt like nothing. ...

The observation walk at Shawnee National Forest's Garden of the Gods is a quarter mile loop. I knew that because I'd Googled it that morning and thought, "oh, that's nothing." That's less than what I'd walk to get groceries. That's probably less than I'd walk around a Super Target. Before I'd left on my Great River Road road trip my friend Heather told me about Shawnee and said I had to go to Garden of the Gods. "Go to Garden of the Gods," she texted me daily. "You have to go to Garden of the Gods." And so, I added it...

I didn't sell my car before I left to travel the world. I kept it in my mom's garage with strict orders to run it every once in a while and to have my sister drive it whenever she came by. Of course, when I came home, 15 months later, it was completely dead. I suppose I could have sold it before I left, but my original plan involved coming home after nine months to road trip around the US. That was before I fell in love with Asia and stayed months longer than planned....

Two green and white signs at the fork in the road pointed in two directions: straight and left. Both were marked "Illinois Great River Road." I pressed my foot against the brake, slowing the car to a 15-mile-per-hour crawl and tried to determine which arrow to follow. I was driving the Great River Road and had no paper map of Illinois, I had neglected to pull up the route on my iPhone, and I had no written direction. I didn't think ahead. Typical me. As I approached the crossroad, two cars waited impatiently to turn left behind me so I...

September. In Instagrams.   Goodbye, old friend. I got my first passport in 2006 when I was 25 years old. Now nearly ten years later my passport has seen me through 36 countries. Time to send it off for renewal! #passport #travel A photo posted by Val Bromann (@choosingfigs) on Sep 2, 2015 at 7:40am PDT I was really sad to let me passport go. But I had less than six months validity left and a trip to Thailand in my future. Sigh. I got my first passport in 2006, at age 25 and in that time it saw...

Every so often a dream team comes together. The Million Dollar Quartet. The 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team. The cast of The Breakfast Club. For all we know the 1945 Chicago Cubs could have been a dream team too. And maybe they could have gone on to be a dream team in 1946 and '47 and '48 or any other of the years in between then and now. And maybe they could have won the World Series that year and the next and the next....

Beer cap wall at Barcade in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. #arcade #bar #brooklyn #newyork #Williamsburg A photo posted by Val Bromann (@choosingfigs) on Jul 3, 2015 at 9:02pm PDT It's almost hard to believe that it was only four weeks ago that I visited New York. It feels like ages ago. Of course, it often feels like I've never left Chicago before at all, so there's that. I'll hopefully have several more chances to travel this year. I should have a car for a week next month and may take an extended-weekend road trip somewhere in Illinois...

It's back! It's been over a year since my last installment of Val Reads The Baby-Sitters Club. And I have one bad reason and two good as to why it's taken me so long to continue. 1. I've been lazy. (That's the bad reason.) 2. I left to travel shortly after finishing book 25 and my quest to pack light didn't include stuffing my backpack with a BSC library. (That's a good reason.) 3. I knew what was coming next...

On July 4, 2007, at the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, Joey Chestnut ate 66 hot dogs to Takeru Kobayashi's 63. It was a historic feat: no one had ever out-eaten 6-time champion Kobayashi in hot dogs and some speculated that no one ever would. That day, Joey Chestnut did the impossible. He out-ate the man who couldn't be out-eaten. He brought the victory back to America. I watched this all go down that morning on the TV set in my parents' living room, wishing I was there, in person, to witness that historic event. Most people may think of fireworks...