So far this year, I’ve been to Syracuse and Buffalo, New York; Ashland, Wisconsin; and Cleveland, Ohio (but not really for a visit); and Chicago, Illinois. Later this year, I’m going to Los Angeles, California. In late January, I’m going to Orlando, Florida.
I’ve been trying to figure out when I can go to ALL of the following (individually), and trying to figure out if I can make it all happen within the next 12 to 18 months.
Quad Cities, IL/IA
…and I have standing invitations from people in several other cities, as well.
I love to travel. I love hotels, I love guest rooms in houses, I love couches. I love the awkward moment of trying to figure out the controls of a new shower. I love the little discoveries I make about rooms I’m in — whether it’s how to find my way in the dark or where the most comfortable spot in the room is. I love going to new places to eat. I love being introduced to favorite hangouts and activities. I love late nights talking with people I rarely get to stay up late with. I love mornings that are too early but there’s coffee and bacon and eggs and pancakes and we’re going to hit the road to get to where we’re going.
Some of the places above, I can get to relatively easily. Cincinnati is maybe 90 minutes or so from here. Quad Cities, 5.5 hours. Richmond, 10.5. Philly, 11.5. All driveable.
But when you have finite resources of time and money, it makes it so much harder to sort out. Do I take a trip to Cincy and spend a night in a hotel, or do I set that money aside toward a longer trip to Portland where I could crash at a friend’s house? Do I take the time off of work to go to Puerto Rico, or do I get up stupid-early on a Saturday morning and drive until I hit Richmond, spend the night, and start the drive back around noon on Sunday?
And of course, I have to think about my family. Are they going? Are they staying? How does that affect the money? How does that affect the time? How does it affect the plans? How long can I stand to be without them? How frequently can I stand to be without them? Does Ann want to go where I want to go? Does she have her own travel plans that she wants me to go along with?
I dreamed last night that I got fired, but I got a severance package. While I knew I needed to set it aside for future expenses, I woke up disappointed that I couldn’t even have taken a few hundred out for a plane ticket.
When I was a kid, I wanted to see the big stuff. The Great Wall of China. The Sphinx. The Grand Canyon. And while I wouldn’t turn any of those down, I’m just as happy finding places like Nicholson’s Gastropub in Cincy, or Duffy’s in Vieques, or the Copper Top in Syracuse. (I notice these all seem to involve food and beer.) But the one thing that I never daydream about in any of these travel wishes? Being alone.
I sometimes wonder if that’s what I like about travel. It builds relationships — whether with the people you’re traveling to see, or with the people you’re traveling with. I wouldn’t want to go to any of the above places unless I knew I’d be spending time with someone I really liked.
In the same way, if money were no object, I’d be perfectly content staying here and flying in so many of my friends for a week of just plain hanging out and talking and playing games and enjoying ourselves.
It’s not the places that matter. It’s who you’re sharing those places with.