Poetry, chapbook, 24 pages, from Bottlecap Features.
It takes a bit of chutzpah to put a toothbrush in your mouth after you’ve seen a cockroach twitching about on its bristles, as was the scene early one morning when waking up in Sri Lanka, that beautifully rugged tear-shaped island south of India that was once called Ceylon.
In the wee hours of dawn on an adventuresome trip to Costa Rica, following a long week of hiking, ziplining, river tubing, and learning how to surf, my rubbery gams barely held my frame up as I bolted out of bed at the sound of too-close howler monkeys. After listening for a while trying to discern their shapes in the dense fog, fully alert with the fuzz on the back of my neck standing at attention, I snapped back to my bedside to grab my glasses, which felt a bit heavier than normal. A scorpion was curled around the frame—also at attention.
Inky black skies and a nippiness to the air made a shiver trickle down my spine as I unzipped my canvas tent to head out for a hot air balloon ride well before daybreak in Kenya. Standing there unexpectedly, holding a 9 foot stick, was a slender yet mighty Maasai warrior ready to protect me from any possible lion or hyena attacks.
The cockcrow hours almost always whisper a promise of adventure and rejuvenation, demanding that we enter with caution and, dare I say, excitement, or at the very least, proof that life writhes, entangles, hunts, and exists while most are sleeping.
Wendy Altschuler is a seasoned travel and adventure writer with work published in major publications on destinations across the globe. She has been a travel expert on Chicago’s trusted radio and news stations, WLS and WGN. Wendy is the author of the just-published book, Perfect Day Chicago: Grab-and-Go Itineraries for Everyone. When she’s not traversing the globe, she’s hanging out with her three wild boys, even-wilder husband, and two hound dogs.