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Please note the awkward American all the way at the left. Oh no, Missy, you do not fit in.

Okay, so I may be over the whole embracing of my Brazilian immersion. After a while there’s only so much Portuguese one can take. I feel, proverbially, like I’m trying to get in with the cool kids but they keep mumbling “Loser says what?” and then I say “what” and then they all laugh. And when I’m nervous or uncomfortable I make jokes no one gets, so hey Robert E. Bell Middle School, looks like I’m reliving your horrors all over again.

On the bright side, it’s Alps-central, baby! And that I am loving.

When guests stay at the Hotel Guarda Golf in Crans-Montana, they open themselves up to a wealth of luxurious opportunities. I’m talking hot air ballooning, snowshoeing, skiing, traditional Swiss lunches of raclette and local wines, spa indulgences and more – all of which I got to experience yesterday (minus the skiing, because no one wants to see that.)

This is a country of outdoor pleasures. You won’t find your club hoppers or barflies skulking around Crans-Montana looking for a good time, but it really is all about experiencing the natural environment and, at this hotel, doing so in style.

I will be sad to go, but now I am off to Berlin – a city that was made for unusual encounters at obscure bars and 5 a.m. currywurst snacks. But more on that later…

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‘Tis the season to be broke. Seriously I don’t see an end to the constant need for cash until the end of the year. First it was brother’s birthday in November, then Thanksgiving treats, then mother’s birthday in early December, then Christmas and Hannukah (because yes, I celebrate both) and then some sort of ridiculously expensive, sub-par New Year’s.

Thankfully, Seth Kugel, the New York Times‘ famous Frugal Traveler, has come up with a list of 10 reasonably priced holiday gift ideas for your globetrotting friends. Check it out here. Tip: My personal favorite is #5.

http://www.nytimes.com/gift-guide/holiday-2011/2011travelguide-frugal/list.html?ref=travel

Today, my friends, is a great day. A much-awaited road trip is on the horizon, and it will become, I hope, a long-standing tradition. I’m off to Memphis with my good friend, Saskia. We started our Memorial Day road trips last year when we took an inaugural journey from San Diego to Seattle. Unfortunately that gem came before this blog, but hopefully the details from this upcoming trip will make up for it.

I went to NYTimes.com today to read the Travel Section, which I like to do when work is slow (or when I’m just too aroused with wanderlust to be bothered with meaningless ‘work’). I came across this and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Matt Gross, the Frugal Traveler

The topic, frugal travel, is definitely something I will strive for on this trip. But I know myself (one more beer? Sure. Steak or salad? Steak) and I can pretty much guarantee to you that despite its very useful tips, I will return to you with empty pockets turned inside out. Enjoy!

http://frugaltraveler.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/three-things-ive-learned-about-frugal-travel-and-the-things-i-didnt-do/?ref=travel

I used to mock ‘bloggers’.

I know, I know…blogging is all the rage. It’s the new age of journalism. Technology and all that jazz. But I really didn’t care much for people who published their diaries online. *For the record I’m generally unimpressed by internet technology. I still love AIM as opposed to gchat. I think Twitter is a plague (although I use it for work). And I liked Facebook better when it was only open to college students.*

And then I saw my friends fall, one by one, into the blogosphere. And I have to admit…their stuff was good. I have foodie friends (who doesn’t?), photography friends (again…plenty of those) and friends with messed up relationships (yeah…). Regardless, they didn’t make me want to throw up.

So, folks, I’m a travel writer. And this is my travelogue – a series of adventures, mishaps, surprises and delights. I hope you enjoy reading about my journeys as much as I enjoy taking them. Welcome to Trippin: A Travelogue.