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Issue #10 · Sep 30th, 2022

Chautauqua Nostalgia

Nomad Life · CH 19
The Mid-Atlantic Ridge

An armchair travel story about doggy jail, sailing in heavy fog past the Titanic, and making stateside landfall.


n May 2022, we took a seven-day transatlantic cruise from Southampton, England to New York City. This cruise is and the only way I know of to transport a dog between North America and Europe without flying.

We were nervous about being allowed to board the ship because of Covid protocols. The cruise line required a negative test to board, and if we tested positive, there wasn’t another crossing with an available kennel for Skutull until December 2023. We did not want to fly with him again, so the stakes for testing positive felt high.

We took our tests in the basement of a travel agency that was located down the Kensington High Street, close to the apartment we lived in during January. The hour between taking the test and waiting for our results was agonizing, but as we walked through Hyde Park attempting to distract ourselves, we received an email that both of our tests were negative—we were clear to cruise!

The boarding procedure for the ship was chaotic, to say the least. Even though there is room for 20 animals on the ship and most crossing have full kennels, none of the employees seemed to know what we were supposed to do. Some told us to wait in a lounge, others said we had to checkin first. We ended up sitting in an area by the information desk until Oliver, the ship’s kennel master, came and gave us proper instructions.

Message from Zack

Hello from Chautauqua! Shelby, Skutull, and I are spending September, October, and most of November living in a tiny cabin right by the Dining Hall at Chautauqua.

This is a special spot for us. Shelby's dad played in the seasonal orchestra at Chautauqua when she was growing up and she spent many summers living here as a kid. Those trips are what eventually convinced her to move to Boulder for college and she always enjoys the nostalgia of exploring her old stomping grounds. We also got married at Chautauqua in 2016 and recently celebrated our 6th anniversary here at the spot we got married.

Skutull enjoying the warmth of the sunrise on one of our morning hikes. We've loved having the trails right out our backdoor.
Skutull enjoying the warmth of the sunrise on one of our morning hikes. We've loved having the trails right out our backdoor.

In case anyone is interested, I've also recently written up some of my favorite recipes and added them to Dishroom Blunders on my website:

My final announcement is that I've started work on a Christmas comedy that will likely be novelette/novella length. I'm hoping to finish writing it by the holidays so that I can release the chapters advent calendar style leading up to Christmas Eve. We'll see if I finish in time!

P.S. Here are my favorite links since last time

  • Article: Hear the World's Oldest Song - listen to a few different modern recreations of the oldest known song, "Hurrian Hymn No. 6."
  • Article: The Maintenance Race - read about the first solo yacht race around the world and how different strategies toward maintenance led to vastly different results.

Enjoy the journey,

Zack Thoutt Signature
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