As a poor kid growing up in a dusty river bottom on the Oklahoma side of the Red River, I never imagined I’d even see the exotic sights of Austin, let alone get a passport or fly first class.
Now, I’ve eaten fish and chips in Auckland, witnessed the spectacle that is Christmas in Paris, and taken a two-week tour of Civil War battlefields in a clunker with no air conditioning. Atlanta rush hour in the summer with no air conditioning is the prime setting for a road rage incident, and I’m continually impressed I lived to tell the tale.
Travel for me isn’t just a chance to relax or experience something new. My passport, and the small but growing number of stamps in it, is an accomplishment. It is something that evokes an equal amount of pride as my status as a first-generation college graduate, my internship and later employment on both Obama campaigns, my happy marriage and middle-class lifestyle, and how I feel when my foster kittens get adopted (though there’s also a great deal of sadness attached to that). I have the opportunity to visit places I only read and dreamed about as a kid, though I still haven’t figured out if there’s a real life equivalent to Indiana Jones.
This past year brought on a lot of changes for me, America, and the world. I’m still deeply troubled by election night and the aftermath, and only slightly less saddened by the death of my first crush, Carrie Fisher. As a recovering political operative and full-time lobbyist (I know it’s a bad word, but I lobby for a non-profit, which makes it better, right?), I’ve had a first-hand view of the rapid polarization and destabilization of American politics. What were once ambitions to become president of the United States have now given way to airplane tickets, good booze, and the desire to be an above-average author with a small cottage in the French countryside that I share with my wife, our several dogs and cats (and rescue cows), countless books and a wine cellar caked in dust.
The hectic life of a politico doesn’t really allow for these things, so this blog serves as the first step in a career-switching journey of self-discovery.
Cartography & Cloture’s objectives will surely change as it progresses and matures, but it will always remain a source for travel planning resources, booze reviews, and in-depth looks at politics around the world. I also hope to have a feature story on occasion and hold grand ambitions of building a media empire in my (somewhat obvious?) lust for power.
Please join C&C as we grow up, discover our voice, and hopefully provide good recommendations and resources for other weary travelers.