Dramatic, eh? No, really. I did go to Distant Lands!
I’ve lived in the same house since I was 2 and a half, within about 15 minutes from Pasadena’s “Old Town” district. The area has had its ups and downs over the decades — it was pretty run down and grody when I was a kid, but it’s getting a lot more nice stores recently.
The light rail was extended to the area about 10 years ago, so now there are more apartment buildings and whatnot in the area to attract people to be in the area rather than just passing through and leaving after regular business hours.
I’ve always passed by this travel book store, Distant Lands, for years, but never stopped in. Busy busy busy. Apparently the store has been in Old Town since 1989!
I had to hang around the area, I was doing a favor driving someone home after an appointment. So I decided “coffee it is!” and parked in the nearest city structure. I decided to stop in to Distant Lands first, since it was just across the street — so glad I did!
The store isn’t enormous, but it uses all its available space efficiently. It is two tiny stores connected — one side is the books and travel agent desk, and the other side is luggage, packing knickknacks, clothing, and other travel gadgets. They have a travel agent who can help suggest places, can book Europe rail passes right there, and lots of other stuff. I love that such a niche store can exist!
Right when I walked in, I didn’t have an agenda, but the lady that greeted me seemed to like to chat, and I love chattering when I can (can you tell?). Although I can’t really travel right now — more’s the pity, so much free time… :( I said I was interested in Germany and Belgium, and that my friend was interested in Antarctica. (Same friend who went to the coroner’s shop with me.)
What luck! This lady said she had just taken a trip to Antarctica in November with Quark Expeditions, and she was going to be hosting a talk with slideshow about her trip. Whee! She told me all about it, and I learned so much — I can’t wait to go to the talk and report back to you guys!
For example, did you know all the boat companies get together and organize their travel routes so that they never see each other during any boat’s entire trip? How awesome is that?
I’m going to ask her permission to post some of her pictures, but for now — go check them out!!! She’s got pictures from Antarctica, the islands nearby, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tibet, France, Yemen… so cool.
…for a cool $5,500 to $20,000, an Antarctic or Arctic trip could be yours! Oh well. We can dream, right? She said she got hers 50% off by booking last minute (a month before the trip).
What’ll it be, polar bears or penguins?