“Let’s Talk Toilets”

(Modern European devices: Toilet on left and bidet (pronounced bee-day) on right…My 5-year-old daughter thought it a footbath. Wikipedia will tell you also how the Brit. term “loo” came about.)

Don’t let the title fool you…I’m not going “trashy;” after all, Biddy doesn’t do that. She writes a blog of encouragement….Remember? I simply use the title to get your attention (I bet it worked) and to make a point.

In traveling, everyday common experiences can become memorable. One young woman has determined to tap into that. In so doing, she’s making her mark on the world.

Geraldine De Ruiter does what I want to do: Travel around the world with her husband, accompanying him while he does his job (OK, we‘re retired, but I still want the traveling part.) Then, she writes about her experiences.

How does she find the time? It’s a sort of “Make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear” kind of thing. You see, she got laid off from her job, found herself with time on her hands, and she decided to put that time to productive use.

Her writing a blog came about as sort of an accident. She says she did it to keep a journal (for him), to remind him of where they‘d been. She also says it’s a kind of a love letter to her husband. And I think to myself: “How sweet is that?”

Here comes the icing on the cake: Her journaling (blog) has just been voted as one of Time’s Top Blogs for 2011.

Now, I just love it when I see a person take a loss and turn it into a triumph.. For, make no mistake about it: That’s what she’s done here. It would appear that losing her job was the best thing that could have happened to her. She’d been a copywriter. Now, she‘s writing her own script and winning honors for her originality, breezy style, and wit.

What’s her handle? She’s the Everywhereist.

She’s been at it since April of 2009, and in the blogging world, that makes her a baby (my own blog, Biddy Bytes, is under a year). Her rank is significant since it takes time to woo and keep an audience (blogs are notoriously difficult to grow an audience.) She writes on all types of things that occur in their traveling and documents their downtime, too, when she and hubby are berthed in Seattle, recouping from their latest… poised for their next.

In her travel niche, she’s got a treasure trove. She talks of places they stay, museums, city districts, the crazy things that happen, but with a zany freshness. For example, a recent post focused on those “gods“ who can sleep on flights…Translation? Her husband. She marvels at his ability to sit in his assigned seat, snap on his seatbelt, and zone off. He’s never affected by turbulence, screaming children, or passengers climbing over him to get to the aisle.

She’s got a cute pic of him, too, z-ing off.

I know she’s got a rich repository in the travel genre, for I sometimes write of my journeys with my daughters, in foreign lands where the most common and ordinary things loom difficult.

Take toilets, for instance.. They’re called WC’s, water closets, the loo… whatever is the host country‘s preference. Oftentimes, in our travels, the biggest hurdle we faced was in locating the flush device.

We actually made discovery of that feature into a game. I’d say: “OK, you go in now and tell me where you found it.” Then we’d measure the time it took for each of us to perform that usually-inane task. Why? In European countries, it appeared the device was hidden away, as if it were shameful (or maybe it’s too pedestrian?).

Bathroom etiquette is weird, too, in foreign lands. At the Vatican, a very old woman sits on a chair in a hallway and dispenses toilet tissues (two to each person) before she allows entry to that inner chamber (where the stalls are). I naively thought she was just being gracious, providing a personal touch the Vatican sanctioned.

I should have known better.

I’d discover the tissue came with a price (albeit a small one). That nice old lady, all bowed over, became a ninja warrior if one failed to notice.

If you tour by car, in many countries, you’ll find no tourist rest stops in less-traveled regions (always my preference). Once, while motoring through the countryside of France, I searched mightily for a roadway rest stop. In desperation, I pulled into an inn in a quiet little town and helped myself to the small rest room on the first floor. No one was around.

I next heard a woman’s shrill voice calling through the door (asking me what I was doing?)

I responded in my weak French: “J’ai besoin de la salle de bain” (I needed the bathroom.) When I came out, she began screaming at me, pointing to the out of doors: “Les bois…les bois…”

I apologized and left, with her harping her fury behind me. She’d been scolding me to “Use the woods.”

So, the Everywhereist? Cool name and a fun idea. She‘ll have a lot of material, too, because, in traveling, one can take everyday aspects of life (like using the WC, loo, or the woods) and churn them into the stuff of family legends..

Now, below is the link to Geraldine’s site. Travel there and pay her a visit. But come back here and add your thoughts in the Comment section: http://www.everywhereist.com/

About admin

A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog, kevinMD.com, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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