Tag Archives: travel

Not a City Girl

Afternoon sunlight on the bench in the herb garden.

Afternoon sunlight on the bench in the herb garden.

One of the most exciting things about being retired is that I am now able to be spontaneous with my time.  If someone calls and asks me to go on a walk – right now – I can do it!  I don’t have to wait for my lunch hour or the weekend….I can get up and go. 

This week I found out that one of the people who helped me while I was being treated was going to NYC to pack up an apartment and get it ready for sale.  “Want help?” I cried.  Finally, a way to pay back some of the kindness that was given to me.

Wow!  An impromptu trip to Manhattan – down on the train Monday and back on Wednesday.  How exciting to be able to say yes, I can do this with you.  Lingering bits of guilt for not being at home or doing what I “should” be doing melted away as I realized that yes, I was in NYC.

It was a short trip but long enough for me to think about city living.  First was the understanding – I mean really understanding – that people actually live there.  I mean – they are in the city for the bulk of their time; working, playing, shopping, walking their dogs.  The city is novelty for me.  An exciting place to visit, a change of pace; but for millions of people, it is home.  They don’t get up and wander about the garden looking for hornworms, they don’t walk barefoot in the grass on the way to empty the compost bucket, they don’t pick flowers in the afternoon to put on the dinner table at night.

There is a constant noise in the city that I could not find reprieve from.  The streets are noisy with cars, the restaurants are noisy with people laughing and talking and even the apartment was noisy with the sound of air conditioning and the elevator.  I felt like I had a constant pressure on my ears as the native sounds invaded my head.

There is disconnect with the outside world.  Wednesday morning it rained and from the 8th floor of the building we were in, I couldn’t tell it was raining.  I had no idea what the temperature was outdoors although we were lucky enough to have windows that showed us whether the sun was shining.  I couldn’t look at the thermometer and decide whether I needed my sweater.

I had a fabulous time.  The food was amazing.  I watched a very intoxicated man call an ambulance for a homeless man.  I saw napkins that sold for $90 each.  I watched a woman walk down the street carrying a longbow and arrows.  I met a woman who watches the rats play in a nearby park for entertainment.  It was exciting and novel and exhausting.

There was so much more that it will take me weeks to remember it all and right now I want to get outside and pick the peaches.

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Back Home

I am back in NH in a heat wave.  After the beautiful weather in Durango, the humidity and heat are making sleeping difficult; especially when my two cats are so grateful to have me home that they snuggle their furry little bodies up as close as they can to mine all night.

The trip was a huge success.  It accomplished all of the things that I hoped it would:

I had a wonderful bonding experience over the long six days of travel with my son.  We seem to travel well together.  We like the same kinds of food and are happy camping rather than staying indoors.  The one night that thunderstorms forced us (ok, I’ll be honest here – he would have slept outside, I wanted a roof over my head in the rain) was the least pleasant night that we had.  It felt like making the decision to stay inside put a curse on all of the events of the evening.  The meal we had was terrible.  So we tried Mexican food in Ohio – were we all that wrong?  Everyone in the restaurant was speaking Spanish.

Seeing the college gave me a picture that I can refer to when I want to imagine him away at school.  I can remember the mountains that provide the backdrop for the scene and the sound of the clock tower chiming.  I can picture him running the river that runs through the town and driving the windy roads up to the ski area.

While I was there, I tried to keep my distance and let him explore his new life without his Mom looking over his shoulder.  Even this was a good experience for me.  I saw him making new friends and I experienced his care for me as he got up every morning so that we could have breakfast together.  Anyone with teens and young adults knows that sleep is a precious commodity and to sacrifice it for your Mom is truly special.

Even the leave taking was an important lesson for me.  I had thought about all the things that I wanted to say to him before I left; advice, warnings, all the things I wanted to “make sure” that he remembered – in the end, I abandoned all of those and gave him my vote of confidence that he will make the right choices and have a great year.  After all, he is at eighteen, an adult.  After all, he is a wonderful, caring, intelligent human being.  After all, I am proud to be his mother.

Anticipation

Since I just got back from vacation it seems very decadent to be thinking about the next one but since it’s only a few days away – here goes!

My son and I are taking a cross country road trip to get him to Durango, Colorado in time for him to begin classes as a Freshman at Fort Lewis College.  I’ve driven across country a total of six times so far in my life and each time was exciting in different ways.  Each time was also an education on how large and incredibly diverse our country is.  I love moving from East to West; watching the terrain change as we speed by.

This trip is planned to try to see some of that diversity in the small amount of time that we have.  We have allotted six days to get from NH to CO.  In that time, we hope to camp exclusively at state parks to get a flavor of the area.  It’s too easy to stay on the interstates and see the country as one big Wal-Mart.

Here are my thoughts (in no particular order, so just as they come to me):

  1. Wheeee!!!!!!     ROAD TRIP!!!!!!
  2. Camping – yikes – 5 days of sleeping on the ground – it’s been a long time.
  3. Music – Hmmmm – I’ve been watching him load up his ipod – I’m hoping he’s kind.
  4. Packing – Let’s see –  One kayak, three pairs of skis, 2 backpacks, camping equipment, college room stuff, a year’s worth of clothing – can you say “the Clampetts”?
  5. Colorado again – It’s been a little over a year since I was last in Durango and I am really looking forward to spending a few days there.
  6. Art stuff – I’m sure I can fit the small bag that holds my art journaling stuff – Who needs that extra sweater?
  7. Kansas – Did I really make a plan that requires a stay in the center of the Squatter State?

Wheeee!!!!!  ROAD TRIP!!!!!!