Travel poems that capture the joy of exploration and inspire journeys

Like the blast of a ship’s whistle or the click-click-clack of train wheels, travel can be insistent. The second you leave home it starts demanding that you tell its story. It tugs at your elbow. It turns into a daily pest.

What you’re doing should be recorded! Snap photos! Post those views on Facebook! Jot things down!

Although there are lots of ways to tell the story of a trip, travelers tend to pour their experiences into prose. Think articles. Think diary entries. Think blogs. With everyone these days on the hunt for information — for tips and lists and facts — the poetry of travel has often been neglected.

To address that, the Travel section in September asked readers to submit their favorite poems about being away from home along with a few lines about how poetry has helped to open up destinations, deliver a smile or a smirk, or capture the sensations of life on the road.

I combed through the more than 70 responses — some from as far away as India, Sweden, Spain and Scotland — and found myself in the middle of a forest of old favorite lines and many more new ones I had never explored. Below is a sampling of submissions. Thanks to all who contributed.

 

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Perhaps because its images are so exotic, three readers submitted John Masefield’s “Cargoes” as an example of how words and their sounds can create a longing for far-off places — even if you don’t catch their meaning right away. “Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir” begins this short poem by Masefield, who was England’s poet laureate during the mid-20th century:

Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,

With a cargo of ivory,

And apes and peacocks,

Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

“This pick may seem very old-fashioned,” said Elisa Petrini of New York, “but as a child growing up in Detroit in the early 1960s, I read this poem over and over and dreamed of seeing the world. I still know it by heart.”

Patricia Ingram of Glasgow, Scotland, agreed: “‘Cargoes’ captured my imagination at an early age, maybe 10 or 11 at primary school. Some of the words were exotic, and I know now that it was also the rhythm of the verses that I liked and the touches of alliteration in each one. Thoughts of ships on the ocean and new horizons seemed worlds away from my life in the city.”

 

Lynne Osborne of South Pasadena has her eye on going places by plane rather than by ship. She recommended “Takeoff” by Timothy Steele, a poet and professor of English at Cal State Los Angeles. “Our jet storms down the runway, tilts up, lifts,” wrote Steele. “We’re airborne, and each second we see more.”

Soon, like passengers pushed into the sky, we get to these lines:

How little weight

The world has as it swiftly drops away!

How quietly the mind climbs to this height

As now, the seat-belt sign turned off, a flight

Attendant rises to negotiate

The steep aisle to a curtained service bay.

For Osborne, Steele’s poem hits home because he “talks about an aspect of travel that is shared by so many of us.” Air travel, for Osborne, is “a transcendent experience, but we as travelers often focus on the minutiae of it — the seats that strangle us, the neighbor who snores, the flight attendant who rises to negotiate the steep aisle to the curtained service bay.’”

 

Among the readers who couldn’t resist Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic “Travel,” from “A Child’s Garden of Verses,” is Janet Cornwell of Manhattan Beach, who said its language is “rich with wanderlust.” The poem includes these far-flung images:

Eastern cities, miles about,

Are with mosque and minaret

Among sandy gardens set,

And the rich goods from near and far

Hang for sale in the bazaar;—

Where the Great Wall round China goes,

And on one side the desert blows,

And with bell and voice and drum

Cities on the other hum;—

Where are forests hot as fire,

Wide as England, tall as a spire….

Stevenson’s poem “had me at the opening lines,” wrote food critic Mimi Sheraton of New York: “I should like to rise and go / Where the golden apples grow.” Said Sheraton: “I assume I first read it, or had it read to me, when I was about 5 growing up in Brooklyn. The result is my life as a food and travel writer, rising and going in search of golden apples for six decades and still counting.”

 

Gillian Kendall of Holmes Beach, Fla., didn’t need to deliberate for long before sending Gerald Stern’s “Kissing Stieglitz Good-Bye” because, she noted, “I’ve been carrying [it] around the world with me since it appeared in, I think, the New Yorker in about 1980.” “Every city in America is approached / through a work of art, usually a bridge /…” begins the poem. “Pittsburgh has a tunnel — / you don’t know it — that takes you through the rivers / and under the burning hills.”

… Some have little parks —

San Francisco has a park. Albuquerque

is beautiful from a distance; it is purple

at five in the evening. New York is Egyptian,

especially from the little rise on the hill…

“When I first read this poem, as an undergraduate at Rutgers University,” Kendall said, “I had never heard of Stieglitz … but I’d lived in New Jersey for several years and I was awfully familiar with the tunnels and bridges that connected the unglamorous state with the glittering city beyond…. This poem combines beauty and sadness and travel, all of which I was just beginning to understand as a teenager.”

 

Several readers chose poems not because they describe particular destinations or ways to get around, but, as Carissa Green of Grand Forks, N.D., put it, “for the tension … between the experience of traveling and the longing for home.” Green loves Elizabeth Bishop’s poem “Questions of Travel” so much that, like Kendall, she remembers that “there was even a time in my life when I’d copy the poem out longhand on loose-leaf paper and then tuck it into my suitcase when I went on a trip as kind of a talisman of words for the emotions and stress of a journey.”

In the poem, Bishop might have been thinking about Green’s “tension” when she asked: “Should we have stayed at home and thought of here? / Where should we be today?…”

Article source: http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-d-poetry-20141130-story.html

Travel: Calendar

Coming this week:

Christmas market

The annual Old World Christmas Market at Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake opens Friday and continues through Dec. 14. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Modeled after the traditional Christkindlesmarkt of Nuremberg, Germany, the Osthoff offering includes festive foods and artisan booths with wares from around the world, all under a giant heated tent. There also are photo opportunities with Father Christmas.

Admission is $6 for adults, free for 14 and under with adult; discounts for groups of 10 or more.

On the Web: ChristmasMarketAtOsthoff.com.

The Osthoff offers a holiday package including one-night stay plus two Christmas Market tickets starting at $149 on weekdays. The resort also has other holiday-related special activities including a St. Nicholas Reindeer Buffet, Dec. 7 and 14; children’s workshops and holiday hayrides, Dec. 6, 13 and 20; breakfast with Santa, Dec. 6, 13 and 20; and Christmas at the Osthoff, Dec. 24 and 25, with children’s activities, caroling and Christmas Day brunch.

On the Web: osthoff.com.

Chicago museum

Another international-themed holiday tradition is underway at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr., with Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light. The 73rd annual event features more than 50 giant lighted trees and holiday displays decorated to reflect the city’s many ethnic communities. There also is a Disney theme to go along with the museum’s temporary exhibit “Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives.”

The displays run through Jan. 4 and are included with regular museum admission: $18 for adults, $11 for ages 3-11, and free for 2 and under. An additional ticket is required for “Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives,” as well as the Omnimax theater and a few other museum offerings.

On the Web: msichicago.org.

— Andrea Zani

Article source: http://host.madison.com/wsj/travel/local/travel-calendar/article_68dfd6f1-658c-5fc1-aa8e-f488f71a51f4.html

More NorCal rain, snow likely to impact Sunday travel

SOME WAY RAIN AROUND US FILLING IN AND HEAVY RAIN OFF THE COAST IN THE BAY AREA. THIS WILL ALL WORK ITS WAY INTO NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. IF YOU WANT TO CLEAR AWAY THE GUTTERS FROM ALL THE LEAVES THAT HAVE FALLEN, NOW, LET’S TAKE YOU OUTSIDE. YOU CAN SEE HOW THE MIST IS HOVERING JUST ABOVE DOWNTOWN. 53 DEGREES. IN STOCKTON, GOOD MORNING. IT IS CHILLY HERE. 40 DEGREES OUTSIDE. WE HAVE CLOUDS IN MODESTO, BUT IT IS DRY RIGHT NOW. IN FAIRFIELD, A LITTLE RIGHT — LIGHT RAIN HERE AND THERE. THE WIND IS OUT OF THE NORTHWEST AT SIX MILES PER HOUR. YOU HAD YOUR WAY UP TO THE HIGH COUNTRY, INCLUDING THE SOUTH SHORE OF LAKE TAHOE. CLOUDS ARE WITH US BUT FOR RIGHT NOW, IT IS NOT RAINING OR SNOWING. CURRENTLY 36 DEGREES. THERE IS A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY’S ELLEN PLACE FOR TODAY. ABOVE THE THOUSAND FEET, WE CAN SEE AN ADDITIONAL COUPLE OF INCHES AND A HALF FOOT OF SNOW ON TOP OF WHAT WE ARE TO HAVE. THAT CAN IMPACT TRAVEL IF YOU ARE JUST WAKING UP AND SAYING, WE SHOULD WAIT, I WOULD DO IT NOW OR MAYBE WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW. WE GET THE DRIVE BREAK COMING IN. SCATTERED LIGHT RAIN IS IN NAPA COUNTY AND LOOK AT ALL OF THE RAIN FOR SAN FRANCISCO. HEAVY RAIN ABOUT TO ENTER IN THE PICTURE THERE. SOME RUMBLES OF THUNDER AND LIGHTNING STRIKES. IF YOU’RE HEADED DOWN INTERSTATE 80, A LITTLE BIT OF LIGHT RAIN IS BEGINNING TO FALL AROUND I-5. AS I MENTIONED FOR RIGHT NOW, HIT AND MISS. HERE IS WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO CHAIN UP ON HIGHWAY 50 OR INTERSTATE 80. HERE IS FUTURECAST. OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF HOURS, YOU CAN SEE THE RAIN WORKING ITS WAY THROUGH THE DOUBT THAT MAKING ITS WAY INTO THE VALLEY BY LATE THIS MORNING. IF YOU PLAN ON HEADING OUT AT 10:00 OR 11:00 WERE NOON OR BRUNCH, IT WILL PROBABLY BE RAINING AROUND SACRAMENTO. THAT WILL OFF SPREAD INTO THE FOOTHILLS AS WE GET INTO THE AFTERNOON HOURS FOR THE SNOW IS MAKING UP AS WE GO THROUGH MIDDAY AND MIDAFTERNOON. THEN WE ARE LEFT WITH HIT AND MISS SHOWERS IN THE VALLEY. HEAVY, ESPECIALLY NORTH. SNOW AS WELL. WE SEE THIS RAIN AND WE’RE LEFT WITH PARTLY CLOUDY SKIES AND A LINGERING SHOWERS TWO IN THE MOUNTAINS FOR MONDAY. OVERALL, A MUCH DRIER DAY OVERALL BEFORE MIXED RAIN COMES IN. HOW MUCH RAIN? I TONIGHT, YOU MAY SEE A QUARTER VINTAGE IN SACRAMENTO. — QUARTER OF AN INCH IN SACRAMENTO. THREE QUARTERS OF AN INCH OF RAIN BECAUSE THE RAIN WILL COME DOWN HEAVIER FOR YOU. YOU CAN SEE AN INCH OF LIKELY MORE RAIN BY THE END OF THE DAY BECAUSE THE SNOW LEVEL WILL BOUNCE AROUND 5-6008. THE PITCHER FOR THE DAY IN AMOUNTS, 48 WITH RAIN AT POLLOCK PINES THERE WILL SEE THE RAIN RETURNED TO THE FOOTHILLS AND TEMPERATURES WILL BE IN THE 50′S TODAY. WE’RE LOOKING AT RAIN ALREADY THIS MORNING FOR SAN FRANCISCO. RAIN THIS MORNING IN THE DELTA LASTING MIDDAY. THE RAIN IS LIKELY IN STOCKTON AND MANTECA. I THINK IT WILL LET UP IN THE AFTERNOON HOURS. WE ARE LOOKING AT SACRAMENTO AND ELK GROVE. LOOK AT RAIN AS WE GET LATER THIS MORNING INTO THE DAY HOURS. SMILE IS A DRIER PICTURE WITH HIGHS IN THE 50′S. TUESDAY’S GOODS SOAKING RAIN ENTERING INTO THE AFTERNOON LINGERING THROUGH WEDNESDAY. HIGHER SNOW LEVELS AND WE LOOK AT THE END OF THE WEEK TO DRIER LATE WEEK.

Article source: http://www.kcra.com/weather/more-norcal-rain-snow-likely-to-impact-sunday-travel/29989730

Thanksgiving Travel: Wet in West; Slippery in Central States



People headed home following the Thanksgiving holiday may encounter some weather-related travel delays Sunday night; however, much of the nation should experience favorable travel weather.

Rain, Snow to Fall Across West

The first piece of a storm set to deliver rain to California around the middle of this week will begin to impact the state into Sunday night, causing some issues for Thanksgiving travelers on along the West Coast.

The biggest issues are expected to occur over northern California where the storm system will produce periods of rain. This rain could lead to delays as far south as San Francisco and Sacramento.

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While drenching rain is forecast to stay well north of cities such as Los Angeles and San Diego, low clouds and areas of drizzle could result in delays, particularly for people trying to fly out of the area into Sunday night.

Some snow is also forecast to fall over portions of Wyoming, Utah and the Sierra Nevada of California, which can lead to slick roadways. This includes segments of interstate 80 that track through mountainous areas.

Black Ice Risk From Oklahoma to Illinois

Icy travel is a concern in the swath from Oklahoma to southern Illinois and southern Indiana Sunday night into Monday morning.

Just enough snow, sleet and rain can fall and freeze on surfaces to make for a dangerous thin layer of black (clear) ice.

Frigid, But Dry Over the Northern Plains

Travelers across the northern Plains should not have to worry about any weather-related delays on Sunday.

However, people across the region should bundle up before heading out as temperatures will remain well below freezing throughout the day with even lower AccuWeather.com RealFeel® temperatures due to gusty winds from the north.

If you have plans to spend any amount of time outdoors across the northern Plains, you should dress in layers and wear the proper clothing to protect yourself from the harsh cold.

If you are outside for an extended period of time without wearing the proper clothing, you are at risk of getting frostbite or even hypothermia.

This bitter cold is expected to remain over the region through the first part of this week before temperatures moderate for the second half of the week.

Dry Weather to End Weekend For the East

After a winter storm caused headaches for millions of travelers in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, those headed home along the East Coast expect dry weather and warming conditions across the region for Sunday.

These dry conditions should make for good travel conditions from New York to New Orleans for both those taking to the roads and to the air.

Farther west, spotty light rain and drizzle could lead to some minor issues for travelers around Pittsburgh, Detroit and Indianapolis.

The bigger issue across this region may arrive after nightfall as temperatures dip below freezing, causing some slick spots on the wet roadways.

Article source: http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/thanksgiving-travel-wet-in-wes/38206371

Today is the busiest travel day of the year – WGN

Today is the busiest travel day for flying in the United States as everyone heads back from the Thanksgiving holiday.

That means airports here in Chicago and across the country are expected to be slammed.

The Chicago Department of Aviation plans to see a total of 300,000 passengers at both airports today.

Officials say be sure to leave extra travel time if you’re headed out to O’Hare and Midway.

Article source: http://wgntv.com/2014/11/30/busiest-travel-day-in-us-gets-underway/

Housing authority director: Nothing wrong with travel

Housing authority officials spent more than $20,000 on hotels, transportation and conferences in the last 16 months.

That total was compiled from agency expense reports obtained and analyzed by The Capital. It excludes payments to other housing organizations, such as more than $5,000 to the Maryland Society for Human Resource Management State Council.

Expenses stem from training costs and trips by management, including Executive Director Vince Leggett. The agency’s capital fund — money mainly used for repairing units — paid for the excursions.

The total made up about 1 percent of the agency’s federal capital funding. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development allows agencies to use up to 10 percent of capital money for management improvements, which can include training and related travel.

HUD encourages administrators to attend training seminars, said Leggett, who believes the expenses were appropriate.

“When I’m at one of these professional events, it’s not just me and the janitor there. The hall is full,” he said.

The Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis reported a deficit for most of fiscal 2014. The agency — which received less federal subsidy from HUD than in years past — ended the year with a $353 surplus, according to its records.

Housing authority officials are considering outsourcing maintenance costs and having residents contribute to water bills to save money. Leggett and agency commissioners have asked the city to help fund some services for housing authority residents.

The agency spent $20,984 in total expenses for staff and commissioners in fiscal 2014, according to its records. In fiscal 2013, the agency spent $34,375; in fiscal 2012, $28,482.

Other expenses listed in agency reports include office supplies, food and consulting.

Leggett attended four conferences this year, three of them out of state. Agency records indicate he attended the National Resident Services and Resident Leaders’ Conference in Atlanta from Sept. 17 to 20 and the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association Annual Convention in New Orleans from May 29 to June 3.

Other trips included the Maryland Association of Housing and Redevelopment Agencies Spring Caucus in Ocean City from April 2 to 4 and the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association Commissioners’ Conference in Orlando, Florida, from Jan. 9 to 15.

Leggett said the agency’s board of commissioners explicitly approved travel in his contract as part of “professional development activities.”

Leggett’s expenses were approved by Joe Johnson, the housing authority’s chief of staff. Johnson, who works for Leggett, said he does not have the authority to approve or deny Leggett’s expenses and adds his signature to the agency’s “Request for Check” form as a matter of protocol.

“If he requests it, I simply sign it,” Johnson said.

Leggett said he informs the board of travel expenses, and vice versa.

Housing authority commissioners also used agency funds for travel, hotel and meal expenses. Five commissioners — Carl Snowden, Jeffrey Henderson, Cynthia Carter, Deborah Johnson and Jacquelyn Wells — attended the Maryland Association of Housing and Redevelopment Agencies’ spring conference in Ocean City, according to housing authority records.

The commissioners stayed at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel, according to agency records. The Ocean City hotel hosted the event.

The housing authority paid $3,371 for hotel costs during the conference, according to agency records. Commissioners received $345 each for hotel costs and ethics training.

Other agency expenses included $540 in hotel costs at the Hilton Baltimore from Oct. 15 to 17. The hotel expenses were for a two-day conference hosted in Baltimore, Leggett said. He spoke on a panel about the housing authority’s efforts on health programs and resident self-sufficiency, and rented a room to stay overnight.

The majority of housing authority expenses, Leggett said, are for training and do not make up a large part of the agency’s capital budget.

“Bricks and sticks are the predominant use of capital money,” he said.

Article source: http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/annapolis/ph-ac-cn-housing-day-1-expenses-20141130,0,1263622.story

Get Your Detroit Small Business Passport And Travel To Detroit Shops On Small …

Grow your business smarter.

Visit CBS Detroit’s

Small Business Center.

When you plan your holiday shopping travels during this festive weekend, chock-full of specialty sales, make a plan to shop local. Ryan Patrick Hooper, Creative Director at Pure Detroit, designed the “Detroit Small Business Passport” to help local shoppers do just that this season.

The Detroit Small Business Passport allows shoppers to ‘travel the globe’ of Detroit shops services, unlocking discounts at 23 participating small business. Each featured business offers a discount to reward customers for thinking big, shopping small, and supporting small business in Detroit. With each stop, patrons will receive a stamp in their passport.

Passports are currently available for pick up at Pure Detroit’s trio of locations in the Renaissance Center, Guardian Building, and Fisher Building. The passports will be active valid through January 31, 2014 at all participating businesses – so whether you’re a Thanksgiving weekend shopper…or need some last-minute gifts as we round the corner to the holidays – you can rack up your small business stamps for the next two months!

“We’re building a backbone in the city of Detroit around the positive impact small businesses play within each neighborhood,” says Hooper, with regard to his Detroit Small Business Passport. “Small Business Saturday is a day to rally the troops, put your dollar into the local economy and show just how strong the small business community is here in Detroit.”

Participating businesses include Pure Detroit, Vera Jane, Stella Good Coffee, Workshop, HUMAN, RUNdetroit, Cass Corridog, Nest, City Bird, Detroit Hardware, Source Booksellers, the Fashion Place, Detroit Athletic Co., Hugh, Nora, Detroit Gallery of Contemporary Crafts, the Rowland Cafe, People’s Records, the Zenith, the Peacock Room, Frida, Wheelhouse Detroit Detroit Institute of Bagels.

Each business is offering 10% ­to ­25% off (items available for discount vary per store) with the Detroit Institute of Bagels offering a free bagel to each passport holder. The passport was made possible with generous support from Midtown Inc.

Detroit Small Business Saturday – and the Detroit Small Business Passport – were recently featured in a national ad campaign for American Express. Watch the 2-minute featurette here: 

Article source: http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2014/11/28/get-your-detroit-small-business-passport-and-travel-to-detroit-shops-on-small-business-saturday/

Have Sperm, Will Travel: The Natural Inseminators Helping Women Avoid the …

“What’s in it for you besides random sex with a lot of women?”

If your sexual inclination is for women, this doesn’t seem like a question that requires much of an answer. But when journalist Deborah Roberts asks it of 23-year-old Kyle Gordy in this 20/20 piece, he’s got a response. “It’s kind of like, wow, like, I just made life, like I passed on my legacy, and I’m giving these people kids.”

Gordy is a sperm donor—but not the old-fashioned kind of sperm donor who uses vials and cryobanks, or even turkey basters. He’s a newer breed of breeder, a “natural inseminator.” They deliver their seminal products via sexual intercourse. Of course, the idea of having sex with a man not one’s husband to get his sperm is at least as old as the story of Lot and his daughters. Today’s natural inseminators, however, connect via Facebook groups or websites with women who want to become pregnant. Women who choose natural inseminators are generally attracted by the price: free. Cryobanks, which screen for genetic disorders and STDs, cost big bucks; see here for some of the charges. Other recipients of natural insemination believe (probably falsely) that fresh sperm are better than frozen. Some might prefer to begin their babies’ lives in a non-clinical setting.

There’s something a little bit like prostitution about natural insemination. Of course, it’s free and legal. But in most cases of both prostitution and natural insemination, two people who otherwise have no connection with one another have sexual relations, and at least one party’s ulterior motive is neither sexual desire nor intimacy. Sex, then, is not wholly experiential but at least partially transactional.

Some people might say, as they say about sex work, so what? In both cases, there are two consenting adults. Why shouldn’t they make whatever private economic or sexual arrangements they desire? No one, at least under ideal conditions, is getting harmed. With prostitution, this idea is gaining some acceptance, but it remains a minority view, particularly among conservatives and women. In a YouGov poll from 2012, 48 percent of respondents probably or definitely oppose legalization of prostitution, while 38 percent think it should probably or definitely be legal. A measure that would decriminalize prostitution in San Francisco, not known as the most prudish of cities, was soundly defeated in 2008, 58-42 percent. Of course, among those who think prostitution should be legal might be some who think it nonetheless is immoral—as most people feel that adultery is immoral but should be legal.

One of the main moral objections to sex work, namely, that it exploits the economically vulnerable, is also an objection to natural insemination. As in sex work, there are ideal conditions under which no one gets economically exploited, in which two people are freely choosing a transaction that is exactly what each wants. But, also as in sex work, there are people who would prefer to choose other means to their ends than sex with strangers, but are drawn to the transaction by economic need.

And the men, of course, cannot always, or probably even usually, be acting out of altruism. One website that connects donors and recipients includes the suggestion: “LADIES: if you only want artificial insemination (AI), then say so when you post, otherwise most replies will be from men wanting NI. ‘Natural’ donors are allowed on this group. GENTLEMEN: if you only want to donate by having NI, then say so when you post, but be aware that most women only want artificial insemination. If you are a ‘natural’-only donor, then please do NOT contact any women who have requested AI.”

Another moral objection to sex work is that, at least in some cases, the client treats the prostitute like an object instead of a person. The prostitute is paid to have his or her actual bodily desires be more or less irrelevant for a certain period of time. This is not quite the same in natural insemination, but one can imagine a worst-case scenario in which a woman seeking a natural sperm donation makes herself vulnerable to abuse or a sexually transmitted disease.

Even in a less-bad scenario, women might be objectified or used. Roberts’ other donor interviewee, who calls himself Joe Donor, is a married man who brags that he has slept with over 100 women, and gotten 30 of them pregnant. His wife and their three children (to whom he is a social as well as biological father) have no idea about his fruitful secret life. Nor, presumably, are they aware that he is also the self-published author of the epigrammatically-titled book, “Get Pregnant For Free on the Internet With a Private Sperm Donor Without Having Sex or Paying $$$ to a Sperm Bank.” Joe’s explanation of why he’s becoming the maven of natural insemination sounds like a sexually frustrated letter to Savage Love: Joe wants to have 30 children, but he just can’t ask that of his partner. The man doesn’t exactly exude charity and kindness toward his wife, sex partners, or children.

While Joe may want as many children as he can possibly have, he’s placing himself, his wife, and their children in a vulnerable place financially. Donating sperm through a cryobank or with the assistance of a physician insulates men from lawsuits for child support. Informal sperm donors, even those that don’t rely on actual intercourse, may be liable for child support, even if they sign a contract stating otherwise.

In addition to sharing some ethical worries with prostitution, natural insemination also carries with it some of the moral unease that cryobank sperm donations have. The recipients can also objectify the donor. Recipients in a cryobank can peruse donor files and see hair color, eye color, race, height, IQ, and so on. Natural inseminators offer similar information about themselves. On one hand, the recipients are just trying to maximize their future children’s chances for the best life possible. On the other hand, they are viewing their donors, and their future children, not as whole people but as the sum of certain parts. If parents-to-be embark on parenthood this way, will their children be loved unconditionally if they aren’t smart, tall, skinny, and good-looking-but-similar-to-their-parents?

In a recent case that gained some notoriety, a woman who accidentally received sperm from an African-American cryobank donor sued for wrongful birth—that is, her suit claimed that she was harmed by the birth of her daughter because her daughter was mixed race. The attitude this mother exhibited, which repelled many, is something of an outgrowth of selecting donors (and children) to have certain properties. Of course, when you have a biological child with your partner, you expect the child to inherit some of your partner’s qualities. But most women don’t choose a husband solely on the basis of the heritable traits he will pass to their children.

Ultimately, despite any ethical qualms about natural insemination, it seems cruel to restrict reproductive options only to wealthy women. Some women who want to be mothers and have maternal love to give should have the ability to do just that. The best option would be for more fertility treatments covered by insurance. Then women who want natural insemination could get it that way, and those who want neither the risk nor the transactional sex that come with natural insemination wouldn’t need to have it.

Article source: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/11/29/have-sperm-will-travel-the-natural-inseminators-helping-women-avoid-the-sperm-bank.html

Have Sperm, Will Travel: The ?Natural Inseminators? Helping Women Avoid the …

“What’s in it for you besides random sex with a lot of women?”

If your sexual inclination is for women, this doesn’t seem like a question that requires much of an answer. But when journalist Deborah Roberts asks it of 23-year-old Kyle Gordy in this 20/20 piece, he’s got a response. “It’s kind of like, wow, like, I just made life, like I passed on my legacy, and I’m giving these people kids.”

Gordy is a sperm donor—but not the old-fashioned kind of sperm donor who uses vials and cryobanks, or even turkey basters. He’s a newer breed of breeder, a “natural inseminator.” They deliver their seminal products via sexual intercourse. Of course, the idea of having sex with a man not one’s husband to get his sperm is at least as old as the story of Lot and his daughters. Today’s natural inseminators, however, connect via Facebook groups or websites with women who want to become pregnant. Women who choose natural inseminators are generally attracted by the price: free. Cryobanks, which screen for genetic disorders and STDs, cost big bucks; see here for some of the charges. Other recipients of natural insemination believe (probably falsely) that fresh sperm are better than frozen. Some might prefer to begin their babies’ lives in a non-clinical setting.

There’s something a little bit like prostitution about natural insemination. Of course, it’s free and legal. But in most cases of both prostitution and natural insemination, two people who otherwise have no connection with one another have sexual relations, and at least one party’s ulterior motive is neither sexual desire nor intimacy. Sex, then, is not wholly experiential but at least partially transactional.

Some people might say, as they say about sex work, so what? In both cases, there are two consenting adults. Why shouldn’t they make whatever private economic or sexual arrangements they desire? No one, at least under ideal conditions, is getting harmed. With prostitution, this idea is gaining some acceptance, but it remains a minority view, particularly among conservatives and women. In a YouGov poll from 2012, 48 percent of respondents probably or definitely oppose legalization of prostitution, while 38 percent think it should probably or definitely be legal. A measure that would decriminalize prostitution in San Francisco, not known as the most prudish of cities, was soundly defeated in 2008, 58-42 percent. Of course, among those who think prostitution should be legal might be some who think it nonetheless is immoral—as most people feel that adultery is immoral but should be legal.

One of the main moral objections to sex work, namely, that it exploits the economically vulnerable, is also an objection to natural insemination. As in sex work, there are ideal conditions under which no one gets economically exploited, in which two people are freely choosing a transaction that is exactly what each wants. But, also as in sex work, there are people who would prefer to choose other means to their ends than sex with strangers, but are drawn to the transaction by economic need.

And the men, of course, cannot always, or probably even usually, be acting out of altruism. One website that connects donors and recipients includes the suggestion: “LADIES: if you only want artificial insemination (AI), then say so when you post, otherwise most replies will be from men wanting NI. ‘Natural’ donors are allowed on this group. GENTLEMEN: if you only want to donate by having NI, then say so when you post, but be aware that most women only want artificial insemination. If you are a ‘natural’-only donor, then please do NOT contact any women who have requested AI.”

Another moral objection to sex work is that, at least in some cases, the client treats the prostitute like an object instead of a person. The prostitute is paid to have his or her actual bodily desires be more or less irrelevant for a certain period of time. This is not quite the same in natural insemination, but one can imagine a worst-case scenario in which a woman seeking a natural sperm donation makes herself vulnerable to abuse or a sexually transmitted disease.

Even in a less-bad scenario, women might be objectified or used. Roberts’ other donor interviewee, who calls himself Joe Donor, is a married man who brags that he has slept with over 100 women, and gotten 30 of them pregnant. His wife and their three children (to whom he is a social as well as biological father) have no idea about his fruitful secret life. Nor, presumably, are they aware that he is also the self-published author of the epigrammatically-titled book, “Get Pregnant For Free on the Internet With a Private Sperm Donor Without Having Sex or Paying $$$ to a Sperm Bank.” Joe’s explanation of why he’s becoming the maven of natural insemination sounds like a sexually frustrated letter to Savage Love: Joe wants to have 30 children, but he just can’t ask that of his partner. The man doesn’t exactly exude charity and kindness toward his wife, sex partners, or children.

While Joe may want as many children as he can possibly have, he’s placing himself, his wife, and their children in a vulnerable place financially. Donating sperm through a cryobank or with the assistance of a physician insulates men from lawsuits for child support. Informal sperm donors, even those that don’t rely on actual intercourse, may be liable for child support, even if they sign a contract stating otherwise.

In addition to sharing some ethical worries with prostitution, natural insemination also carries with it some of the moral unease that cryobank sperm donations have. The recipients can also objectify the donor. Recipients in a cryobank can peruse donor files and see hair color, eye color, race, height, IQ, and so on. Natural inseminators offer similar information about themselves. On one hand, the recipients are just trying to maximize their future children’s chances for the best life possible. On the other hand, they are viewing their donors, and their future children, not as whole people but as the sum of certain parts. If parents-to-be embark on parenthood this way, will their children be loved unconditionally if they aren’t smart, tall, skinny, and good-looking-but-similar-to-their-parents?

In a recent case that gained some notoriety, a woman who accidentally received sperm from an African-American cryobank donor sued for wrongful birth—that is, her suit claimed that she was harmed by the birth of her daughter because her daughter was mixed race. The attitude this mother exhibited, which repelled many, is something of an outgrowth of selecting donors (and children) to have certain properties. Of course, when you have a biological child with your partner, you expect the child to inherit some of your partner’s qualities. But most women don’t choose a husband solely on the basis of the heritable traits he will pass to their children.

Ultimately, despite any ethical qualms about natural insemination, it seems cruel to restrict reproductive options only to wealthy women. Some women who want to be mothers and have maternal love to give should have the ability to do just that. The best option would be for more fertility treatments covered by insurance. Then women who want natural insemination could get it that way, and those who want neither the risk nor the transactional sex that come with natural insemination wouldn’t need to have it.

Article source: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/11/29/have-sperm-will-travel-the-natural-inseminators-helping-women-avoid-the-sperm-bank.html

9 Things I Am Thankful for Because of #Travel

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a great day it is to spend time with friends and family, indulge in way too much turkey and stuffing, take a nap, wake up, prepare another plate and reflect on all the amazing things we are thankful for. For me personally, I have quite a few items on my gratitude list this year and many of them I can attribute to my traveling experiences.

Before the food coma sets in from the tryptophan, here they are:

1. Discernment

Because traveling solo requires me to be a mix of Liz Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love, Olivia Pope in Scandal, and Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games — always down for the adventure but ready to defend and protect at a moment’s notice.

2. Strength

Because carrying a loaded backpack, a purse and rolling luggage throughout cobblestone streets at night while I look for a hostel since I failed to secure one beforehand requires herculean efforts.

3. Patience
Because security lines are long, flights get delayed, languages have barriers, kids are kicking seats, directions are wrong and why is the beverage cart taking so long to get to my row?

4. Flexibility
Because plans change, I didn’t get the whole row to myself like the seat map said I would, it starts raining as soon as I land, I forget my shower shoes and instead have to walk into the shower stall with my bath towel and Rachel Roy riding boots on.

5. Tolerance
Because right when I’m ready to board the plane and zone out, someone plops down in my row and starts reading their autobiography to me and will then want me to read mine when their done.

6. Humility
Because dining at restaurants in other countries taught me really quick that I’m not in America and no they’re not supersizing anything. I’ll take what they have on the menu and enjoy the portion I’m given.

7. Persistence
Because I don’t get flight upgrades and better rates on accommodations by just closing my eyes and clicking my heels.

8. Understanding
Because meeting people from all walks of life and listening to their stories helps me have a greater sense of compassion for everyone I encounter even when I’m not traveling.

9. Fearlessness
Because getting out and exploring the unknown solo continues to mold me into the well-rounded and well-traveled person I’ve always wanted to become.

This post originally appeared on This Way North

Photo credit: WhatJaiSees

More This Way North articles:

Why You Don’t Need A lot of Money to Travel
An Open Letter to Travel
Top 10 Things You Must Do in Amsterdam
10 Photos That Will Make You Fall in Love With Paris

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jaimee-ratliff/9-things-i-am-thankful-for-because-of-travel_b_6229518.html