Hit the Road, Jack

The True offices will be closed October 8-23 while I take a trip. This is True will still be coming out, so don’t worry about getting your fix!

Where to? Eastern Europe.

When I first started True, part of my plan was to do once-a-year trips to interesting places to immerse myself in a different culture …and collect the local newspapers to do special issues of True.

In Prague, Czech Republic, I learned it wasn’t that I didn’t like beer, but I didn’t like crappy American beer! This is Krušovice Royal Dark, which is fantastic: it beats Guinness Stout by 10 miles, and I’ve since had that in Dublin. (Photo: Kit Cassingham)

I got the idea on a trip to Canada, of all places. You might think that Canuck newspapers would be pretty similar to those in the U.S., but no: there are clear differences. I can’t imagine how different other, non-English cultures, might be.

By going there and collecting the newspapers, I can not only (perhaps!) work to sell True as a column to those newspapers, but also be in the culture so I can ask questions of locals in order to best understand what I read, and understand the context of what’s “news” to the people there. And, of course, what’s “weird”!

As I mentioned, I had planned to do this once every year. I’m now in my seventh year of True, but have never taken the time to do such a trip. So I just went ahead and planned it — and paid for the tickets — so I would “have” to.

Is the Pope Polish? Pope John Paul II carved from (literally) a pillar of salt by workers deep within the Wieliczka Salt Mine, outside Kraków, Poland. (Photo: Randy Cassingham)

Sure enough, I feel like I’m too busy to go, so it’s a good thing I did it that way! I’ll mostly be in Budapest (Hungary), and will be taking side trips to Krakow (Poland) and Prague (Czech Republic). If I’m going to do it, I may as well do it!

While I know I can get ’net access from there, I decided that to really immerse myself I should change my daily routine. We’ll see how well that works, but after more than six years, I figure I can afford to be offline for two weeks!

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Despite my not even taking a laptop with me, issues continued to come out each week. Ah, the magic of technology! That said, I was not able to get newspapers I could read as sources for future stories.

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