Many of you may wonder about the origins of the name JCreatureTravel, which is my Twitter handle. The JCreatures™ are characters that I created and have been drawing since I was 10 years old. At that time, they reflected a 10-year-old's emotions: happy, sad, angry/frustrated, and so forth.
When I was in elementary school, I'd add the Happy J to letters and notes I sent my girlfriends. In high school, I signed my friends' yearbooks with the Happy J. In college, when I mailed postcards from my spring break or summer travels, one of the JCreatures™ always appeared to illustrate how the trip was going. Then, when I was a high school biology teacher, if my students performed particularly well on an exam, I would draw the JCreatures™ (of course, the Happy J) at the top of their exam, along with an A+.
That's why, when I decided to open a Twitter account, it seemed only natural to use JCreatureTravel as my handle.
As a travel writer and blogger, I wanted the JCreatures™ as my icon. Each of the different characters reflect my emotions during the course of my trips:
Happy J -- When I met a new friend in Tel Aviv, revisited my favorite plaza in Madrid (Plaza Santa Ana) or found a great bicycle path (such as one of the rails-to-trails I recently blogged about).
Sad J -- When I was forced to say good-bye to one of my favorite cities (like Reykjavik) or when I found that a tree that I loved in my neighborhood toppled because of a tornado that we suffered this past year in New York City.
Frustrated J -- When I somehow missed the last bus of the day in a small town in Spain because of a communication error, or when the restaurant I hoped to visit in Lisbon was closed for a week in the summer.
Sleeping J -- Though not an emotion like the others, sleep plays a big role for me, as it does for any traveler. Luckily, I rarely get jet lag, because, among other things, I immediately set my watch to the time of my destination after my flight takes off. That means that on most flights from New York City, I'm asleep.
I'm now selling a variety of T-shirts, including shirts with long sleeves and those with spaghetti straps, that each bear one of the four JCreatures™. Should you decide to buy one, I hope you enjoy it. Wear it when you travel. It certainly might be a conversation piece and maybe a way to help you make new friends, which, after all, is what travel is all about for me.