In the second half of the fourth chapter ofÂ Wizardâ€™s Holiday, the travel begins. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to readÂ Young Wizards.Â
I love traveling. I really do.
Iâ€™ve written before about how I didnâ€™t get to do much of it as a kid, at least not past a certain point where my family couldnâ€™t afford it. (I distinctly remember that it was cheaper for children to fly in the 80s, but I canâ€™t seem to find any info to back that up. Was that a thing or am I misremembering history?) We took a couple roadtrips â€“ one to the Grand Canyon and Yuma, Arizona, where we visited an aunt and I crossed into Mexico for the first and only time in my life. We camped a few times in Idaho, but then the trips stopped. We went years never straying farther than twenty miles or so. No camping, no road trips, nothing. Combine this with the sensation that I was being hidden from the world, and itâ€™s pretty easy to see why I wanted the freedom to travel the world.
Unfortunately, by the time IÂ hadÂ that freedom, it was so expensive that it was impossible. I bummed a few rides up to San Francisco to see AFI whenever they had shows, and I made it down to San Diego for Cross Country camp that we had every summer. But I had seen so little of the world! Thus, I took every opportunity I could to get out of Southern California. I once pitched in with a bunch of people to rent a bus so that we could protest the war in Afghanistan/Iraq in the fall of 2002. (Honestly one of my favorite memories of all time.) I took middle-of-the-night trips to Las Vegas. And once I had saved up money, I started flying places. New York City. Portland. Seattle. By the mid 2000s, I had nabbed that job at Buzznet, and I had a job that enabled travel. I went on separate tours with AFI, Thursday, and Four Year Strong. I flew across the US in order to photograph music events. And by the time Mark Does Stuff accidentally came into existence, I wasÂ ready.
You can blame this history for the extensive and aggressive touring Iâ€™ve done. I love it, yâ€™all, no matter how tired it makes me, no matter how long itâ€™s taken me to pay off the debt of the last few yearsâ€™ of traveling, no matter how ridiculous it is. But itâ€™s not just the experience in these new cities and places that I enjoy. The second half of this chapter felt so exciting to me becauseÂ I love the journey, too. Honestly, yâ€™all, I love going to new airports. And train stations. And bus terminals. YOU DONâ€™T GET IT, Iâ€™M OBSESSED WITH INFRASTRUCTURE AND THE WAY TRANSIT HUBS ARE BUILT AND ORGANIZED. Thatâ€™s one of the major reasons the Crossings pleases me so much. Duane seems to think just as obsessively about these sort of things as well. (Or sheâ€™s just really good at research and writing, THATâ€™S A THING, TOO, MARK.)
I remember the first time I landed at the Oslo Aiprport in Gardermoen, I nearly cried because of howÂ beautifulÂ that place is. HAVE YOU SEEN THE BATHROOMS. EACH STALL IS HUGE. They have gender neutral bathrooms where there are a ton of stalls built around a set of sinks so that everyone just uses the same space. Thereâ€™s also another set of bathrooms by the baggage area where each stall has its own sink IN THE STALL. Iâ€™m obsessed with how art is built into the facility, as well as the way the building is constructed to fit tons of people without feeling stifling and packed.
Many of the major train stations in Europe are justâ€¦ MY SOUL WEEPS AT WHAT WE DONâ€™T HAVE. Like Kit, Iâ€™m super into trying the food at transit hubs. My friend Meg, who many of you met while I was on tour in Europe in 2015, can attest to this. Itâ€™s one of a number of things yâ€™all do so much better than our country. I know youâ€™re probably tired of those long, thin sandwiches you have all over Europe, but THEY ARE SO GOOD TO ME. When youâ€™re often stuck with Subway andÂ nothing else, trust me. YOUâ€™VE GOT IT BETTER.
Anyway, thereâ€™s just a lot that I love here. The explanation of the hexagon shapes in the floors! The way the wings work, the way that worldgates are organized much like tracks or gates work within terminals at airports. THAT CAFE WHERE YOU ENTER YOUR SPECIES AND ARE GIVEN A LIST OF FOOD YOUR BODY CAN HANDLE. Oh my god, I think I loved that the most because it still doesnâ€™t remove the sense of adventure; Kit couldâ€™ve easily chosen somethingÂ terrible, but the menu only restricted things that would have actually killed him or harmed him.
Manuals as tickets. SUBSIDIZED TRAVEL. I have never related to aÂ Young WizardsÂ character more than Kit in this chapter right when he realized that his food was paid for. ME. THERE IS ME. I WOULD BE JUST AS EXCITED.
And then thereâ€™s Alaalu. Everything about this is just soÂ thrilling, and Iâ€™m eager to see how Kit, Nita, and Ponch will adapt to a world that is so different from their own. The physicality is what struck me the most here: I canâ€™t evenÂ conceiveÂ of a planet as big as Alaalu. Thus, itâ€™s easy to slip into the shoes of the main characters, understanding their shock and disorientation. Itâ€™s something Duane excels at through these characters. Even though Kit and Nita are wizards, theyâ€™re still from Earth. Thereâ€™s a lot in the universe to shock them and scare them.
AHHHH THIS IS HAPPENING, Iâ€™M SO EXCITED.
I am thrilled to confirm that I will be a Guest at CrossingsCon 2017! Badges are now available, so COME HANG OUT WITH ME THIS SUMMER.
Mark Links Stuff
– I am now on Patreon! There are various levels of support, from $1 up to whatever you want! You’ll get to read a private blog, extra reviews, and other such rewards. I POST A LOT OF CUTE PHOTOS, OKAY. Think of it like a private Tumblr blog that only SPECIAL PEOPLE get to read.
– I have updated my list of conventions and events for the remainder of the year and much of next year.Â Â Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often.Â My next Double Features for Mark Watches have been announced here.
-Â Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook!Â I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!
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