I am not a world traveler yet but hope to be able to continually visit more and more of this world. I’ve been lucky enough to see small pockets of the US and Europe; when planning for a vacation the destination seems to announce itself before I can pick a location. If I pay attention I’m gifted with opportunities neatly wrapped up and delivered to me via people, making it an easy decision to go ‘there.’
Back in the early 90s my sister lived in London for about 8 years. I didn’t have much extra income; I went back to college full-time at twenty-eight and paid the bills waiting tables at a local (and very popular) pizza restaurant in New Haven. I did have flexibility and made the most of my schedule during those years, vacationing in London two or three times (neither one of us can remember how many times I went). One of the Christmas’ I was there was spent in Edinburgh with her friends, celebrating Boxing Day with a big dinner and a walk through the quiet city afterward. As a tourist I went to all the popular spots from London Tower to Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey, you name it I went. By the second (or third) visit I felt more at home, spent my money on rush tickets at the theater and hours in the British Museum.
I’ve traveled twice with my mother, to Colorado and Barcelona. The first trip was to line up interviews and scope out the landscape; I had it in my head that I was meant to live there, sight unseen until that point. It didn’t pan out but I hiked and ran my way through Boulder, toured and ate my way through Denver. The trip to Barcelona was to celebrate my mother’s retirement. She had visited Spain before, loved it and wanted to return. Did I want to join her? Yes, please.
My first big vacation with Bill was to San Francisco. A friend of a friend needed a cat sitter for a week in her downtown apartment, did we want to take Mandy (the cat) on? Yes, please. We spent a week riding cable cars, walking the Wharf, China Town, Haight Ashbury, The Castro, ferried over to Alcatraz (I got slightly obsessed), rode bikes over the Golden Gate Bridge, ate Ghiradelli chocolate and fed Mandy.
The apartment we stayed in was right downtown; I ran to the Wharf and back almost every morning fine tuning my routes as the days went on. We found a cafe a couple of streets over from the apartment where we went the first day with the friend who lives out there and went back on our own a night or two later. It was our first trip together and we still liked each other at the end of the week.
Since we had an apartment we bought breakfast staples at Whole Foods – coffee, cream, yogurt, bread, eggs – and started each morning at the kitchen table with a mug of coffee and plate of food. Then, with the help of our friend, we systematically covered the city day by day.
Our other trips have been to Italy and Southern Utah. When I went to have my taxes done the year of a milestone birthday I mentioned to my accountant we were thinking of going to Italy. He immediately wrote down the name of a travel agency he’d recommend. I promptly forgot about that slip of paper and started, with Bill, researching trips online. After finding a trip that included the cities we wanted to visit I found that paper in a pile of them on my desk. We made an appointment thinking she’d be able to get us a better price; as it turned out she was planning her own 2 week tour through Italy, stopping at our selected sites as well as many more. We were sold and took the trip with her. We met some great people who we’ve kept in touch with.
Last year, everyone knows, we hiked Zion, Bryce Canyon and Escalante. Once we decided to hike out west I made phone calls to various guiding companies and hit pay dirt with Wildland Trekking. When I spoke to Slaton I knew I wanted to use this company, felt good about our conversation and the information he gave me. Our guide, Jill, was fantastic. I’ve talked about the trip here and here. So, this year, wanting to hike out west again I reached out to Jill and we booked our trip next month to Yellowstone with her and a group.
I’ve run several marathons in various states. It’s a great excuse to see other parts of the country except for the 26.2 miles I have to run while there. I have never traveled alone for these runs and have always had a great time. Our running group still entertains each other with stories from those trips.
I’m hoping there’s opportunity to travel outside of the USA in the next two years. I’ve got some ideas brewing and have faith that the situation will present itself and I’ll be smart enough to say “yes, please, count me in”.