Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Okay, fine. Maybe I am a little scared.

Police Paris vehicules dsc06477

I've been putting on something of a brave face leading up to my trip overseas. I readily admit I watch too much cable news and much of what I've seen lately has given me more than a moment's pause to reconsider exactly how safe it is for me travel. Is it a good idea to visit Europe's biggest cities right now? Should I avoid tourist areas and sightseeing? Should I even go?

And then I get over it.

I never have more than a moment of doubt over my travel plans. If there's anyone who sustains their worry over my trip it's my mother. I get it. What mother wouldn't be worried when their child says they'll be in London in two weeks while CNN breaks in with news about another car plowing into a crowd? I won't pretend like there isn't any danger but I won't let it deter me from pursuing what has been a dream years in the making.

I've taken some solace from a travel book I'm currently re-reading for the fourth or fifth time. In "Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel," Rolf Potts writes:
"Should political violence or terrorism capture headlines, however, the secret to avoiding it is not to cancel your travel plans but to simply keep yourself informed. Just because the evening news shows unrest in a southern Lebanon refugee camp, for instance, doesn't necessarily mean it's dangerous to visit Beirut or Galilee (or, for that matter, other parts of southern Lebanon). By the same token, the evening news might habitually ignore the political situation in West Africa, but that doesn't mean it's safe to visit Sierra Leone or Liberia. Obviously, the, planning on monitoring your destinations will require that you look past the evening news." 

So here's my promise to mother:

I will be careful. I will be mindful of my surroundings. I will leave a situation if I feel unsafe. I will keep you updated of my day to day plans as much as possible.

I will also have as much fun and see as many sights and meet as many people as possible all while adhering to the above promises.

I won''t let fear dictate where I go and what I do. I will stay informed and keep aware all while enjoying three months of overseas travel.

And I promise I'll try to call or text every day, mom.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Goodbye, Albuquerque. At least for a little while.


It's time to shake the cobwebs off this old, dusty blog and breathe some new life into it. What's the occasion? My birthday is coming up. Not just any birthday, but my Golden Birthday--the singular event when the age I become and the day it happens are the same number. In this case, I turn 30 on the 30th.

How am I going to celebrate the start of my third decade? Travel, of course.

I have been fortunate enough to take time to travel on my birthday the last few years, including trips to Oklahoma and a week in the Pacific Northwest.

I had to up the stakes for my Golden Birthday, right? That's why I blocked off three months this year to dedicate to travel.

This Friday, I'll be flying out to the West Coast for a few days before boarding a 10-hour flight to London onto Madrid and more.

I don't want to give away all the destinations quite yet, partly to maintain some level of mystery but also because I honestly have no idea where I will end up. A lot can happen in three months and that's why I want to get blog back online to log updates of where my travels take me.

There will be plenty of Couchsurfing, some festivals, and a whole lot of walking. You'll see what I mean.

If you want to track along with my travels, make sure you're connected:




Instagram Follow on Instagram


You can also track along with #FollowEric on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Leave a comment if you'll be following along over the next three months!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mugshot Monday - Bottomless mugs of coffee and breakfast quesadillas at Java Joe's



As a freelance writer, I don't dread Mondays the way others do. In fact, I usually look forward to Mondays. It's my day to sit down with a cup of coffee and organize my work for the week.

There's another reason I look forward to Mondays: the breakfast quesadilla at Java Joe's.

It's such a simple creation. Scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, melted cheese, your choice of red or green chile (green, please) all enveloped in a crisped tortilla. It's my very favorite food item at Java Joe's and it's only available on Mondays. Sure, I could probably try to replicate it at home but then I'd miss out on the great vibe at Java Joe's (bright, welcoming) and I'd miss all the consistently fantastic art on the walls.

Occasionally, I'll have a breakfast burrito if I find myself there on any day beside Monday. And for a treat I haven't encountered in other Albuquerque coffee shops, I get an espresso soda. Espresso, club soda, and a choice of flavor. Almond and vanilla work well but I think coconut might be my favorite. Top with whipped cream and it's refreshing while giving you a nice caffeine boost.

So you can guess where I was this morning. I had a pad of paper, my laptop, a mug of coffee, and a green chile breakfast quesadilla to get Monday started on the right note.

The self-serve bottomless mugs of coffee aren't a bad way to increase productivity either.
Try Java Joe's for yourself at 906 Park Ave SW (or find them at the Rail Yards Market). And if it's a Monday, you know what to order...
 

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About Mugshot Mondays
On Mondays, I'll be sharing my favorite local coffee shops with you. These are the places I visit regularly, whether as a place to meet with friends or as a second office for writing. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter to see the next #MugshotMonday.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Mugshot Monday - Humble Coffee Company


What do you get when an architect opens a coffee shop? A sleek, well-designed cafe called Humble Coffee Company.

Over the weekend, Humble celebrated their first year in business with a big old birthday party. I checked out the Humble Bash for myself this past Saturday. Food trucks, musicians, artists, and a whole bunch of people came together to commemorate an important milestone for any local business; the one-year mark.



For me, Humble has been a second office, a place to plug in and crank out some writing. So I was happy when I saw they expanded the space, adding much-needed seating. The cold brew here is one of my go-to options, with an occasional macchiato thrown in the mix.


Humble is one of the more aesthetically-pleasing shops in town, making it highly Instagrammable. In fact, it was through Instagram that I first heard about Humble, even before they had opened their doors. I highly recommend following them; they're one of the most interactive local shops in Albuquerque. Find them on Instagram: @humblecoffee.

(BTW, you can find me on IG as well: @follow_eric.)

So if you find yourself near Lomas and Montclaire, check them out, try their cold brew, and snap a pic to Instagram. Tell them Follow Eric sent you.



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About Mugshot Mondays
On Mondays, I'll be sharing my favorite local coffee shops with you. These are the places I visit regularly, whether as a place to meet with friends or as a second office for writing. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter to see the next #MugshotMonday.





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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Which way should I go to Austin?


Excuse me while I scribble some words down here late into the night. I have bags to pack and a route to finalize. I'm headed back on the road again.

This time I'm going to Austin, Texas. It'll be my first time in Austin. I have no prepared agenda except to meet my friend Jess who is flying down from Tulsa armed with several cameras. There's plenty to do. We're going the weekend of the Austin Couch Crash, a series of events with people in the Couchsurfing community. I'm hoping to check out the nightlife, including Rainey Street and Sixth Street, and something called Eeyore's Birthday. Follow my weekend through Instagram (@follow_eric).

But before I can do any of that, I need to do two things. One, I need to pack. Two, I need to choose a route.

I can drive from Albuquerque to Austin in roughly the same amount of time through either Lubbock, El Paso, or Roswell. I've got my personal favorite but I want to hear what you have to say. Which route would you choose? Keep in mind I'll only be passing through but I'll stop long enough for pictures and a meal.

El Paso, Lubbock, or Roswell. Let me know in the comments.

Monday, March 02, 2015

My first week driving for Lyft



I'm wrapping up my first full week of driving for Lyft.

In the last week I...
  • have driven two people I already knew
  • got hit on (it was innocent and not unwelcome)
  • made one $33 trip across town
  • discussed the height of a porn star I once met
  • drove someone to Walgreen's to buy toilet paper
...and I was complimented on my car several times for both being a "pimp car" and for how good it smells.

It's been a fun first week. Here's to hoping for more fun stories in the future.


Have you ever driven or used Lyft? Would you like to hear more stories from the road in the future?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

8 years of blogging

A milestone quietly passed by last week without any sort of fanfare or recognition.

This blog turned eight years old.


When I first set up the blog, under the arduously long address of ericcastillo.blogspot.com, I was 19 years old. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. A couple of years later, I purchased the followeric.com domain name. The blog became a way for people to follow my journey as I moved from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Enid, Oklahoma and back.

A large focus of the blog in recent years has been on my support of local businesses and restaurants, especially when it comes to the food trucks, breweries, and coffee shops I frequent. There's another aspect I haven't highlighted as much but I want to begin focusing on in the coming weeks and months.

Travel.


If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram then you might know about some of the trips I've been on recently. I spent my birthday week, including Canada Day and Independence Day, up in the Pacific Northwest. I joined a group of strangers I met online through Couchsurfing.com for a short road trip out to the Grand Canyon. I have some more trips up my sleeve that I can't wait to share with you.

I haven't shared enough on the blog itself and I still encourage you to find me on your social media site of choice but I plan on using this site more often as I embark on some exciting journeys ahead.

And since I haven't said it in awhile, thanks for following.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hi, mom! I'm on TV!

Well, it finally happened. I was invited to talk on a morning show about one of my favorite subjects: coffee shops. Somehow I knew this day would come.


Chris from ABQ NewsCastic asked me to join him on The Morning Brew with Larry Ahrens and run down a list of ten of my favorite coffee shops in Albuquerque. Watch the clip and let me know what you thought.



I had a lot of fun doing it and hope to be back on the show again in the future.

Coffee shops mentioned:

Java Joe's
Zendo
Michael Thomas Coffee
Napoli Coffee
The Brew
Satellite Coffee
Cafe Bella Coffee
Limonata
Humble Coffee
Espresso Fino

If you haven't already, make sure you're following both ABQ NewsCastic and The Morning Brew with Larry Ahrens on Facebook. Oh, and Follow Eric.







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