this month's collab for Journeys: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going.
Where The Buffalo Roam
you know, i've spent a lot of time this year thinking about this topic in a philosophical kind of way. and it's all well and good to do that. we should all indulge in some navel gazing now and then. good for the soul. but every so often, you need to just Get The Hell Out Of Dodge.
i love to travel. i like travelling with like minded souls, and i'm fine travelling on my own. i've travelled with family, with friends, with my ex husband, and with lovers. i've picked up and taken off on a road trip at three in the morning, and i've planned excursions across the pond. there's been something i've loved about each and every trip.
first time i took a Big Trip was around 7th grade, i think. my best friend at the time invited me to go to Washington D.C. with her and her family. i slept over her house the night before, because we were driving the whole way, and her dad wanted to leave early. we nearly didn't sleep because we were so excited.
i kept a journal on that trip. it starts off very optimistically, with something scribbled in the car at 5 in the morning. i fell asleep soon after that.
i still have all the pictures from that trip, of Betsy and her family. it was a little idiot camera, and they aren't very professional shots. but those images let me call up all sorts of memories. smudgy shots of waterfalls - i can smell the water and picture the steep trails up the sides of the cataracts. we took turns standing against the rail of the bridge, grinning happily into the lens.
we also got to camp out on that trip, which was very exciting to someone who still thought that campground showers were An Adventure. betsy and i shared one of the bunks, in our flannel nighties. 5 of us smushed into a pea green Gremlin, towing a popup camper behind us... i'm sure it seemed like a long ride at the time, but what i remember more is walking along the edge of the Reflecting Pool and trying to see everything at the Smithsonian.
i went to D.C. again with my family a few years after that. for some reason, that was a camping trip, too. dad rented a big camper, and i thought the big adventure was going to be over when we went over the bridge and dad almost didn't make the turn. he caught on to camper driving pretty quickly after that.
it was interesting to see some of the same places again; we also saw a lot of different things. we spent a fair amount of time looking for the statue of my 6 greats grandfather at the Capitol. (they have statues of all the signers of the Declaration of Independence.) we finally did find him... when one or the other of us had to go looking for the ladies' room. yup. Charles is standing permanent guard outside the women's room. ;)
of course, we did the obligatory family trip to Disney Land (or World - whichever one of them is in Florida). it was pretty unmemorable, except for getting sick on the Teacup Ride, and mastering my fear of heights to do Space Mountain. dad took me and bro on that one; dad is as freaked out by heights as i am. wouldn't you know - they had 'mechanical problems' and had to stop the train at the top of the track and turn the lights on. i so didn't need to see that...
i've travelled to New York several times, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone. mostly, i'm unimpressed by the city. yes, there are many wonderful things there. i adore the Met. and Brooklyn Bridge is inspiring. but mostly i don't like the scale of the city, or the dirt. the fact that we were robbed the last time i was down there doesn't help any. go figure - we parked the car under a light, between a police station, a synagogue, and a law school. we still got robbed. and i lost all my pictures from the trip to London.
oh, yeah... London. i've been there twice so far. went on my own the first time, and adored it. spent a week meandering around, seeing all the big sights, drinking in a city that felt like home. went back again with friends close enough to feel like family last summer, and adored it all over again. if i ever moved outside the US, that's where i'd go. it's a fantabulous place. i'll have to give that a serious write up of its own at some point.
London was the first big hop across the pond. i've been to Scotland since then as well. sis was over there for a year, and i went with my now ex husband. it was a combination visit sis/honeymoon sort of trip. there were a lot of things i'd just as soon forget about it, primarily tied in to fritz. but there were some perfect moments, like the afternoon we spent in Ely and Crail, and lunch at the Ship Inn. those were the most perfect fish and chips i've ever had. and Edinburgh - oh, the castle was fascinating. also had the single best piece of salmon i've ever tasted at some little no name restaurant halfway down the hill. that's another place i'd like to revisit.
i'd also like to go back to Montreal, because i've been there enough that it's fun to see what's changed since the last time thru. i'd adore the chance to get back to Santa Fe, some summer. yes, i would go to New Mexico in the summer. i went in August. it was fine. as long as you drink enough water, the heat isn't bad. dry heat doesn't knock the wind out of you the way our nasty, muggy, slap you in the face with a wet towel kind of heat does. i went there to see a week's worth of opera - still don't like it, but fell in love with the opera house. it's on the side of a hill, and when you walk up to the door, you don't realize what you're in for. when you step inside, you're stepping outside. the shell is open to the foothills on the sides. and i was greeted by a stunning sunset over the patio. took my breath away.
small as Santa Fe is, i feel like i didn't see it all. it's eminently walkable, and i did walk all over the place. but i want to hike around the foothills. i want to see the mountains. the landscape there is so different from here (New England) - wide open, scrubby spaces, canyons that swallow you up, rivers that sweep thru expanses of country. i would love to get out into that land and really soak it in.
there are so many other places i'd like to go. my grandparents travelled a lot when i was growing up, and brought back stories and pictures that seemed almost like fairy tales to a little kid. i want to have some of those stories to tell, too.
Ireland. Ireland and Wales are top on the list. really, anywhere in the British Isles, but those two first. and a cruise to Alaska, followed by an overland hike. i'm still kicking myself for not taking the job up there. Paris, oddly, is not on the list. you'd think with my love of museums and bent for hanging out in little cafès, it would be perfect. i could brush up on my French, and tootle around the city, sketching Notre Dame, ducking into a bistro for lunch, and taking in a show at night. but it just doesn't hold that much appeal. i'd rather go explore the south of France, along the coast.
i'd like to go to Egypt. the sand draws my interest. oh yeah - and the Sphinx. :) where else? Australia and New Zealand... i'd like to be able to hike down there and really see the country. Spain and Portugal - my sis has been there, and whetted my appetite with her stories. Morocco, Sardina, Italy, Venice, Russia, Tibet - pretty much, i want to be a globe trotter. there's something very liberating about going away, getting out of your head, seeing how other people live. it gives you a whole new perspective on where you're from.