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Se necesitan $2000 – $2500 a la brevedad possible para poder salvar el proyecto

Los donativos se pueden enviar por PayPal a elise.hendrick@gmail.com

Algunos habrán oído de mi proyecto actual y primer libro, Reunión – crónica de viaje. Para los que oyen de ello por primera vez (la gran mayoría), el proyecto se resume a continuación:

Reunión – Crónica de viaje es una crónica tanto instrospectiva como graciosa de un recorrido por Alemania, Austría, Polonia, la República Checa, Italia, España y Francia que durará aproximadamente un mes, y que se iniciará en el otoño del 2010.

Reunión se va a tratar tanto de los espacios intermedios – las estaciones z los trenos  – como de las ciudades que se van a visitar. Es que muz a menudo suceden las cosas más interesantes – una parade alucinante, un encuentro casual, un momento de una absurdidad sublime – en el camino y no el destino. En la crónica también se les echará un vistazo a los activistas, amigos viejos y nuevos, y conversaciones y entrevistas espontáneas que se producen mientras recorro el continente. Unas partes del prólogo se pueden leer navegando a https://reuniontravelogue.wordpress.com.

Según lo tenía planificado, el proyecto se iba a financiar en parte mediante los ingresos percibidos por mi actividad de traducción multilingüe, y en parte mediante los donativos recibidos por l@s amig@s de las buenas lecturas y l@s lector@s de mi blog Meldungen aus dem Exil (http://meldungen-aus-dem-exil.noblogs.org). De acuerdo al plan, la fecha de partida era el día 1 de octubre de 2010.

Cabe puntualizar que existen buenos motives para tener palabras distintas para lo planificado y lo efectivo. En un momento crítico para el financiamiento del proyecto llegaron dos meses en que no recibí más que unas traducciones pequeñas, y tampoco había muchos donativos (lo que es muy entendible – en estos tiempos el fomento de jovenes satiristas no constituirá una prioridad presupuestaria para la mayor parte de la gente). La idea era de juntar por lo menos US$2500, preferiblemente entre US$3000 y US$5000, para cubrir los diversos gastos de viaje (vuelos, Eurail Pass, etc.).

Al fin de cuentas recibí aproximadamente US$150 por el camino de los donativos.

Quisiera agradecerles a todos los que ya donaron. Desgraciadamente debido a la economía que tenemos, necesito $2000 – $2500 más, para poder lanzar el proyecto. Sé que eso es mucho, sobre todo al pensar que se trata de US$2000 más de lo que reciben los compañeros del metal rojo por sus 70 días de calvario, y por supuesto lo entiendo. Por otro lado, si 45 personas donan US$44 cada una (o 90 personas donan unos US$22 cada una), ya habré juntado la cantidad mínima. Y si se encuentran tant@s lector@s generos@s hasta el fin del 14 de octubre, podré empezar a viajar – cosa esencial para el proyecto, dado que se trata de una crónica de viaje – ya el 15 de octubre.

 

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I Need to Raise $2000 – $2500 EUR in Very Short Order to Be Able to Save the Project

Donations Can be Sent by PayPal to elise.hendrick@gmail.com

Some of you may already have heard of my current project and first book. For those of you (the overwhelming majority), who are hearing about it for the first time, here’s a brief summary:

Reunion – A Travelogue is a humourous, introspective chronicle of a one-month journey through Germany, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, and France, which is slated to take place in Fall 2010.

Reunion will be as much about the spaces in between – the train stations and the trains – as it will be about the cities I visit. Often, the most interesting things – a bizarre layover, a chance meeting, a moment of sublime absurdity – happen on the way someplace rather than in that place. The travelogue will also look at the activists, old friends and new, and random conversations I encounter was I make my way through the continent. A sneak peak at the prologue can be found at https://reuniontravelogue.wordpress.com.

The plan was to finance the project partially through the proceeds of my multilingual translating business and partially via donations from friends of good reading and readers of my blog Meldungen aus dem Exil (http://meldungen-aus-dem-exil.noblogs.org). The planned departure date was 1 October 2010.

There are, one must say, good reasons for having separate words for planned and actual. At the precise critical moment for fundraising, two months of only small translations punctually made their appearance, and not much was to be had in the way of donations (understandably, in times like these, most people probably do not count the promotion of young Left satirists as a budgetary priority). The goal was to raise at least $2500, preferably between $3000 and $5000, in order to cover the various travel costs (flights, Eurail Pass, etc.).

My fundraising efforts ended up bringing in donations in the amount of about $150.

I am very grateful to everyone who has already donated. Unfortunately, the laws of our lovely economy mean that I need another $2000 – $2500, if I’m to make a go of the project. That’s asking quite a lot, especially considering that it’s about $1995 more than most defrauded homeowners can expect to get from the government, and I of course understand that. On the other hand, if 45 people each donate about $44 (or 90 people each donate about $22), I will already have reached my minimum. And if that many generous readers can be found by the end of the day on 14 October, I will be able to begin the travel – without which the project would be impossible – as early as 15 October.

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1500 – 2000 EUR werden binnen kürzester Zeit gebraucht, um das Projekt vor dem Kippen zu retten

Spenden per PayPal an elise.hendrick@gmail.com

Die einen oder anderen werden schon mal von meinem derzeitigen Projekt, meinem ersten Buch gehört haben. Für diejenigen (die große Mehrheit), die davon zum ersten Male hören, sei das Projekt hier noch einmal kurz zusammengefaßt:

Humorvoll und introspektiv zugleich begleitet Reunion (voraussichtliches Veröffentlichungsdatum: Mitte Januar 2011) Publizistin und Übersetzerin Élise Hendrick auf einer Reise durch Deutschland, Polen, Österreich, Italien, Spanien, Frankreich und Tschechien, wobei sie nach 10jähriger Abwesenheit vom Kontinent die Bekanntschaft mit vertrauten Orten erneuert und Orte exploriert, die sie bislang nicht kennengelernt hat. Aus dem, was ihr unterwegs so begegnet und den spontanen und verabredeten Interviews, die sie unterwegs führt, entsteht ein Buch, das halb Reiseabenteuer, halb gesellschaftlich-politische Bestandsaufnahme in ihrem gewohnten, akut satirischen Stil ist. Die ersten Abschnitte des Prologs sind bereits auf der Projektseite https://reuniontravelogue.wordpress.com zu finden.

Finanziert werden sollte das Projekt teils über Einkünfte aus meiner mehrsprachigen Übersetzungstätigkeit, teils über Spenden von Freunden der Literatur und meines Blogs Meldungen aus dem Exil (http://meldungen-aus-dem-exil.noblogs.org). Soll-Abreisedatum war der 1. Oktober 2010.

Aus guten Gründen unterscheidet man zwischen Sollen und Sein. Pünktlich zum kritischen Zeitpunkt kündigten sich zwei Monate an, in denen nur kleinere Übersetzungen angeboten wurden, und Spenden waren auch nicht viele zu haben (in Zeiten wie dieser denken die meisten bei der Haushaltsplanung sehr verständlicherweise nicht vornehmlich an die Förderung linker Nachwuchssatirikerinnen). Ziel waren mindestens 2000 EUR, am liebsten aber zwischen 3000 und 5000 EUR, um die verschiedenen Reisekosten (Flugtickets, Eurail Pass, usw.) zu finanzieren.

Reingebracht hat der Spendenaufruf umgerechnet etwa 100 EUR.

All denen, die bereits etwas gespendet haben, bin ich sehr dankbar. Leider will es die Wirtschaftslage so, daß ich noch etwa 1500 bis 2000 EUR benötige, wenn das Projekt noch möglich sein soll. Das ist recht viel verlangt, liegt es doch etwa 1495 EUR über dem von der FDP gewünschten Hartz-IV-Regelsatz, und dafür habe ich vollstes Verständnis. Wenn aber 45 Menschen etwa 34,- EUR (oder 90 Menschen etwa 17,- EUR) spenden, ist die Mindestsumme schon erreicht. Und wenn sich bis 14. Oktober eine derartige Anzahl spendabler Literaturfreunde findet, werde ich schon etwa am 15. Oktober die Reise antreten können, ohne die das Projekt gar nicht möglich wäre.

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A cunning plan

In one episode of Seinfeld, Jerry makes a crack to George about cheapness not being a skill.

I truly must beg to differ. Allow me to explain why.

Reunion, as most of you are no doubt aware by now, is a European travelogue. As such, actually getting to Europe is a rather important part of the project. My initial plan had been to leave from Chicago. I always enjoy visiting Chicago, and I figured that this would eliminate the several hundred dollars that are usually tacked on to any fare out of CVG, since most of the flights to Europe out of Cincinnati are routed through New York or Chicago, anyway.

After thorough research, I determined that flights to Frankfurt am Main from O’Hare average between $600 and $800. Clearly, there is room for improvement. So, I decided to do some comparisons with other major cities in the Eastern and Midwestern US. Most of them – Philadelphia, DC, Baltimore, Boston – were in the same overall range. The cheapest airfare I could find was a plane out of New York’s JFK Airport, at $575.

An hour or so of number-crunching and permutation-checking later, it occurred to me that there are places in Canada that are closer to me than most parts of the Continental US, and that Canada has international airports as well.

Montréal – my first try – came out on the upper end of the range I’d already found. However, Toronto had fares fully $100 cheaper than even the cheapest flight I’d found out of the US – C$ 488.00 (US$ 471, approximately).

There is, of course, one small problem to consider: I live in Cincinnati, Ohio. In order to marvel at Toronto’s beautiful airfares, I would actually have to find a way to get there without canceling out the savings.

Flying was out of the question. Even the cheapest flights to Toronto that I found (and I checked every major city within driving distance – Columbus, Dayton, Chicago, Indianapolis) cost almost as much as the flight from Toronto to Frankfurt.

When I was considering leaving from JFK, I had had the idea of taking Amtrak to New York. This is an arduous journey – 18 hours and 39 minutes according to the schedule. The Amtrak train with direct service to New York City, the Cardinal, travels a route that can only be called serpentine, first going through Ashland, KY, Huntington, WV, Charlottesville, VA, Washington, DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and only then arriving in New York.

On the way, it also stops in a place called Thurmond, WV, a town with a population of 7 (that’s not a typo – seven, as in fourteen arms and fourteen legs), where the excellent film Matewan, about the struggle of the West Virginia mine workers in the 1920s, was shot. To put this in perspective, Amtrak does not stop in the entire state of South Dakota, which has a population of at least twice that many.

However, having traveled extensively with Amtrak, I know that the schedule lies to you. Every train I’ve ever taken has been at least three hours late coming in, and manages to rack up another four or five hours of delay on the way. 18 hours according to schedule often works out to 30-36 hours in reality.

I hasten to add that this isn’t really Amtrak’s fault. Amtrak is chronically underfunded. As my train arrived in Cincinnati after a trip to Chicago a year or so ago, an announcement came on over the PA apologising for the extensive delays and noting that the US government budgets more money to remove roadkill from the interstate system than it spends on Amtrak. This is not an exaggeration. In 2006, the Department of Transportation’s proposed budget for Amtrak was $0.00. Congress was in a generous mood, and, despite the DOT’s recommendation, decided to spare about $1.4 billion for Amtrak (by way of comparison, this is only slightly more than the Canadian government recently spent beating the crap out of people at the G20).

As a result, Amtrak’s trains are hopelessly outdated and their service is extremely limited. Cincinnati, a city of about 300,000, has about three trains pass through every week, all at extravagant times like 3:00 AM. By contrast, the city of Nuremberg, with approximately the same population, has more trains than that pass through every hour.

More importantly, Amtrak does not control the tracks it uses. Those tracks are owned by various private freight operators. Travelling between Cincinnati and Chicago, a train will traverse tracks owned by several different companies. In order to be able to proceed, the train must first be given permission to enter the company’s track, and Amtrak trains have the lowest priority. This means that any Amtrak train travelling any distance at all will end up coming to a dead stop and waiting for anywhere between one and four hours for clearance to proceed, and this generally happens multiple times in a trip.

On the other hand, it only costs $83 dollars to go to New York by rail, and, if you’re not in a particular hurry, have a couple of days’ worth of provisions (on my last trip, the only things available to eat were stale Doritos and lukewarm orange juice at about $5 each – in a 20-hour trip), some toilet paper, music, reading material, a pillow or two, and a blanket, it’s a worthwhile experience. The trains often – though not exclusively – travel through beautiful landscapes, and the experience of being stuck in an immobile train in the middle of nowhere can create a pleasant sense of camaraderie.

Unfortunately, once you add in the trip to Toronto, the total cost of the round trip by Amtrak comes out to $380, defeating the entire purpose, not to mention the distinct possibility of missing the flight to Frankfurt due to a delay.

Onward to option C. I do much of my travelling with Megabus. The fares are cheap, the buses are clean and comfortable (though I always manage to throw my back out of joint when I sleep on them), and they’re generally quite reliable. However, their routes are, for the most part, mutually exclusive. From Cincinnati, for example, you can only travel to Columbus, Indianapolis, and Chicago. If you want to travel to Toledo – though I can’t imagine who would – you have to go via Chicago. There is service all the way up the East Coast and into Canada, but the closest Megabus stop that provides access to these routes is Pittsburgh – a 5-hour drive from Cincinnati – and you have to find another way to get there.

However, Megabus has service from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and from Philadelphia to Toronto. It costs between one and three dollars to go from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, and only $15 for the nine-hour trip to Toronto. There is direct Amtrak service to Philadelphia for $83 (which, together with the Philadelphia-Toronto leg, would still cost less than flying from New York or Chicago), but, again, reliability is an issue.

Apart from driving to Pittsburgh, which would end up costing about as much as the train and require me to find someone who actually felt like driving for five hours, reaching Pittsburgh (which – let’s be honest – does not have a name that immediately makes you think “happening place”), and then driving for another five hours to get back. Not impossible, but not ideal, either.

However, Greyhound does offer direct service to Pittsburgh. The only drawback to this is that no Greyhound bus I have ever used was not primarily occupied by people who just got out of prison and were openly discussing their plans for those who helped put them there. On the other hand, it’s only $45 to get to Pittsburgh with Greyhound, and they’re allegedly upgrading their service to compete with Megabus, so maybe it’s improved since my 1999 trip from DC to Newark.

For those who have been keeping track, that’s $45 to get to Pittsburgh, $3 to go to Philadelphia, and $15 to go from there to Toronto, for a grand total of $63.00, putting me about $100 ahead of what it would have cost to go to New York and fly from there.

So don’t tell me cheapness isn’t a skill.

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Just a quick note to let everyone know where I am in the planning.

First of all, two anonymous donors have contributed a total of USD 100.00 over the past couple of days.

Thank you both very much!

As a thank-you gift, they will be getting free copies of the finished book once it’s printed. 198 more free copies are available for anyone who makes a donation of USD 10.00 or more.

Second of all, I’ve set a release date for the English edition of Reunion – A Travelogue. My plan is to release it in mid-January 2011. This will give me about a month’s time to edit and organise all my notes and individual vignettes into book form, format it, and get it ready for printing.

Thirdly, my plan is to self-publish using an on-demand printing service (unless anyone knows of a publisher that might be interested in the project).

Lastly, as an additional means of financing the project, I intend to pre-sell copies of the book at a discounted price to anyone interested. I still have to set this up, and I would, of course, greatly appreciate advice from anyone experienced with this.

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