Tag Archives: traveling

MTA (musical theater anonymous)

My name is Derek and I am a Broadwayaholic. I admit this and I am not ashamed. I like musicals, plays and the performing arts, more than the average human.


2012 Tony winner for best musical, Kinky Boots

My interest in on-stage song and dance originated after I saw my dear cousin Rachel perform in the Hastings High School rendition of Hello Dolly, way back when I was a lad. I saw a variety of marquee shows through high school including Fame, Les Misérables (my first show on Broadway), The Lion King and Sunset Boulevard, with the one and only Petula Clark.

In college, I did a ridiculously fun PR internship at MSU’s beautiful on-campus theater, the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts where I got to see and work on promoting some great shows like Chicago, Urinetown (one of my all time unsung favorites) and Movin’ Out.

Through the latter years I’ve been fortunate to see dozens of other shows, touring, in SF and in New York, including big Tony winners like Rent, Avenue Q, Wicked and Spring Awakening.

One of the things I like to do in New York when I see a show is to camp out by the stage door after, to wait for the cast to come out at the end of the night, because they almost always stop to say hi to fans and to personally sign Playbills (the official programs of a Broadway show). I’ve built up quite a collection of both signed and unsigned Playbills. I recently decided it was time to do something with my accumulation other than let it sit stacked up in the corner of my bookshelf. I decided to pick out a few favorite shows to frame and hang as art in my bedroom.


It was fun to lay all my Playbills out on the floor, try to arrange them in chronological order and reminisce about all the great performances I’ve enjoyed. I didn’t have a specific criteria for deciding which of the programs I’d frame and which would go back in the stack. I ended up with six favorite Playbills, signed by the most talented performers I’ve had the pleasure of seeing on stage…


  • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – starring and signed by John Lithgow, Norbert Leo Butz, and Sherie Rene Scott, with Joanna Gleason.
  • Promises, Promises starring and signed by Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes.
  • Spring Awakening – starring and signed by Lea Michelle (Glee), Jonathan Groff (Glee and COG) and John Gallagher, Jr. (American Idiot, Newsroom and Short Term 12).
  • Kinky Boots – starring and signed by Billy Porter, and an overall amazing show and Best Musical Tony winner.
  • The Mountaintop – starring and signed by Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett.
  • Newsies – starring and signed by Jeremy Jordan (Smash), Alex Wong (So You Think You Can Dance) and others.

It was hard to pick just six and I may rotate other notable Playbills out when I feel like switchin’ things up.

Misadventures with Derek

Six words you don’t want to hear five weeks before an international trip:
You need to renew your passport.

This is the sentence I awoke to on Monday morning in an email from my travel agent. A perfect way to kick off the week.

I’ve planned the hell out of this upcoming 15 day trip to Peru and I did confirm two months ago that my passport is in my known possession and does not expire until March 2014.

Little did I know that to travel to many countries, like Peru, you must have six months valid on your passport, as of your planned return day. My trip concludes in early October so basically I will be expired by about six days. In a world where details (sometimes) rule, this is enough to require me to renew and expedite.

It’s always something isn’t it?

Well as I renew my passport I have to send in my current (and first) one and will likely not get it back. So it seemed appropriate to capture my international travels over the last 10 years and do a little reminiscing…

I got my first passport in college in 2004 as I prepared myself for my first international trip, a summer study abroad throughout Asia. .

Pages 8 and 9

My summer in Asia took me in (Tokyo) and out (Osaka) of Japan (with Kyoto in between), before camping out in Hong Kong for two months, with side trips to Macau and Singapore.

Pages 10 and 11

Following my study abroad, I didn’t leave the country again until a trip to Australia in 2006 and then again in 2008 when I participated in a one week exchange program with Racepoint Group to London, with a side trip to Paris (although with no photos or passport stamp from France, I can’t actually prove I ever made it there).

Page 12 and 13

It was around 2009 that the rules for carrying a passport in and out of Mexico changed so I got a few stamps for trips south of the border. Then it was 2011 that I most recently left the country on a trip to Barcelona for work and play, although my immigration checks were in Zurich.

While I’ve only left the country a half dozen times in the last 10 years, I always feel blessed with the opportunities I have to travel. Here’s to filling even more pages in passport #2 (which hopefully will arrive without delay) starting with an adventure to a new continent.

(Shout out to my dear friend, seasoned blogger and world traveler Andi, who I clearly and blatantly used as inspiration for the title of this post. I hope she doesn’t mind. 🙂 Visit her blog, Misadventures with Andi, for travel stories and tips, food porn and other great content that inspires me to blog more.)

Sierra Solo


gold: one thing I wasn't looking for this weekend

This weekend I decided to do something I’d never done before. I rented a ZipCar (settled for a Mazda3) and set out on a 550 mile solo adventure. There were several reasons I wanted to go out and travel alone. After a week full of ups and downs, I needed to get away to collect my thoughts.  I also wanted to prove to myself that I could be comfortable traveling and being alone.

The weekend was a success. I explored my heart out, saw some amazing things, learned a lot, found solitude, and proved to myself that I can have fun without anyone but myself.

My itinerary was nearly perfect. I drove to Jamestown on Friday night via a pit stop at In and Out in Manteca for dinner. I stayed at the first of two seedy weekend motels, the Railtown Motel.

Saturday morning I had biscuits and gravy for breakfast at a shop on Main Street and popped in and out of a few antique shops before hitting the road to continue my travels. I spent the afternoon crossing the Sierra Nevada and the Sonora Pass en route to my primary destination of the day, the ghost town of Bodie, on the far east side of the Sierra, 6 miles from the Nevada border.

I soaked up the granite beauty of the Sierra and awed over the massive amounts of snow still covering the mountains.

The beautiful Sierra Nevada

The beautiful Sierra Nevada

I stopped off in Bridgeport and checked into seedy weekend motel #2, the Redwood Motel, grabbed a sandwich at a local convenient shop, and forged on to Bodie.

I arrived at Bodie at about 3 PM and spent 3 hours exploring the old gold rush ghost town. During its heyday, Bodie boasted 10,000 residents. Peering into windows of old buildings dating back to the late 1800s, it appeared as if life was frozen in time. Floral print wallpaper hung on the walls, dining room tables set for dinner, chalk boards in the school house featuring upcoming lesson plans. I kept getting lost trying to imagine what life must have been like here. It was an amazing and unique place.

Welcome to Bodie

The buildings still standing in Bodie represent only 5 percent of what existed at the height of the gold rush

With several hours of sun still above the horizon, I decided to continue my explorations south to Mono Lake, one of the oldest and saltiest lakes in the world. I poked around at a few parks and roadside overlooks until I finally made it down to the South Tufa area, where the most picturesque tufa limestone formations can be viewed. Fun fact: About 85 percent of California’s seagull population nests at Mono Lake.

South Tufas at Mono Lake

South Tufas at Mono Lake

On my way back to Bridgeport I stopped at the famous Mobil Station in Lee Vining for dinner at the Woah Nellie Deli. I got a t-shirt.  


After taking a dip in cold Green Lake, look at all the snow, melting right into the lake!

Sunday morning I awoke early, enjoyed breakfast on the patio of the Hay’s Street Cafe and set out for a 6.2 mile (round trip) hike to Green Lake – alpine lake situated at 8,900 feet – in just over an hour. I scrambled over boulders along the water’s edge before deciding to take a quick dip. The water was freezing and it didn’t take long for me to hop out, get dressed and start jogging back down the trail. It was time for the long drive back to reality.

There isn’t much I’d change about the trip. I had good meals at local joints, saw new and beautiful sights, and found much needed peace and quiet.

More photos on Flickr.

aisle or window

Do you prefer the aisle or window seat when traveling? Why?

on planes like this it doesn't matter

I think my preference has evolved a little over the years. When I first started flying as a young adult I always wanted the window. Didn’t everyone at an early age? The excitement of looking out the window at 32,000 feet. In amazement of where you are, how fast you are going and how fascinating it all is.

But eventually you get tired of crawling over people to go pee.

And if you’re like me you start to develop a preference for the aisle so you can get up and walk around whenever you want without feeling guilty. You know, around age 24, when you start to develop restless leg syndrome?

If we’re throwing another person into the mix however, like a boyfriend, and we’re going on a long flight, I would probably choose the window and the middle for the two of us so we could cozy up together and settle in, without having to worry about someone crawling over us to go pee. I’ve traveled with other companions and we sat in two aisles next to each other. So we could still chat and be comfortable, with either one of us having to sit in a middle seat.

What do you say? aisle or window?

Marathon preparation

With my first marathon only days away, I took a piece of advice from one of the coaches of the running club I’m sorta part of very seriously… to prepare for the race and take care of as much stuff well in advance of race day as possible. So that is exactly what I’ve been doing the last 24 hours and will continue to do the next 24 hours…

To fully prepare myself I spent the last two days doing the following:

  • sent Katie and Dave the Saturday schedule:
    • pick up Katie at 12:45
    • check in to hotel by 3:00
    • go to expo at 4:00
    • dinner at 6:45
  • got my haircut (so I don’t overheat and get an itchy head)
  • filled the car with gas (so we don’t have to deal with it before or even after the race)
  • cut my toenails
  • went to work and sent a few emails (so I won’t think about work at all until well after the race is over)
  • bought a case of Gatorade (to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate all weekend)
  • bought Gu (for race day fuel)
  • finalized my playlist
  • synced and charged my iPod
  • picked out two race day outfits to pack including sweat bands, arm warmers and Road ID bracelet
  • made a dinner reservation near the hotel for Saturday night
  • bought Saturday night snacks
  • bought Sunday morning pre-race breakfast supplies
  • bought a new running belt to carry my Gu and hotel room key
  • did two loads of laundry
  • took Booger to the vet to have his anal glands expressed so he has an enjoyable weekend traveling with us
  • ran one last 2 mile run!

I think I’m ready!