All year I’ve been feeling philosophical about the notion of wanderlust. We joke about the desire to travel being in my blood — after all, my parents were travel agents, some of my first memories are of trips with them, and I learned early where every bathroom is in the world (you know, down the hall and to the left — or it might be on the right side, or in a corner, but think about it — it’s true!)
Luckily, I found, fell in love with, and married someone who likes to travel as much as I do.
We watch out for each other well. We have regular routines — passport check, carrying a food bag for picnics, that sort of thing. When in doubt, we grab a coffee and water and reconnoiter.
I’d have to say that we’re still holding hands, and I’m glad of it.
We go through many doors, usually together, but occasionally one or the other must lead. This is one of those photographs that seems to capture our mutual spirit of adventure….
Peter has a lot more vacation time from work that I do; although he doesn’t like going without me, he took a couple of flying-solo trips last year (to ski in the Alps and to check out Stockholm), and in February he headed to Japan.
Through the wonder of technology — United’s flight status on my cell — I even know where his planes happen to be at a particular point in time.
The biggest miracle of modern-day travel is that we can go so far so fast.
Between us, we’ve been lucky to visit 62 other countries (along with several visits to a small handful of locations). We love the challenge of discovering the layout of a previously unknown place, like Madrid’s “bow-tie.”
We like knowing how to navigate somewhere new.
We love learning about history by walking on what’s left behind after centuries. “When in doubt, walk on cobblestones” is one of the philosophies we share.
We believe one’s world is enlarged in trekking about places like the Acropolis, Machu Piccu, Pompeii, Teohuatican, Tikal, or Easter Island — the perspective on time alone makes the journey worthwhile. (You can see photos on my Facebook page of many of our journeys.)
We’ve shared some fantastic sunsets (this one, in Colonia, Uruquay, looking across the Rio Plata, Buenos Aires off to the south), ferries across famous waterways, meals of fish pizza and Florentine steaks and frites in a paper cone.
We’ve stayed in a variety of spots: next to a metro under construction in St. Petersburg; in an apartment up 112 steps for three weeks in Rome; and with a host-family on Isla Tequila (on Lake Titicaca in Peru). We’ve booked rooms in a wide range of B ‘n Bs over the years — from a Rick Steves’ recommend for “best loo in Britain” to a place in Ireland where condensation ran down the walls overnight. We’ve even lodged a few nights in a five-star hotel or two.
It’s not about notching our belts with passport stamps, though. There’s so much more that we’ve learned from our experiences. Serendipitously, we’ve encountered the red-balloon peace rally in Sibiu, Romania; a near-empty Vatican Square (the next day, it was filled to the gills with the faithful); colorful parades in Lima and Oslo. I’ve written about many of those memories in this blog. I’m optimistic this won’t be the last entry about our adventures.
The most important thing we know about traveling is not to take it for granted. We have no idea what tomorrow might bring, whether we’ll be healthy enough or whether we’ll be able to afford to do what we like to do.
That’s one reason we’re not “waiting until retirement” to have these adventures.
Then I worked on this post while we were sitting in the airport of Philadelphia, homeward bound (albeit on two different flights — Peter through Chicago, me through Denver).
On the eve of the last day of August, Peter was packed to take another trip on his own, this time to Malta. Malta? Yep. It’s one of those destinations that calls us — charming and historically significant, but not all that well-known — yet — as a tourist-dominated spot. It was a good trip for him; the solo reconnaisance provided a chance to check things out, and we’d like to return on another occasion to soak up its heat and history.
We like to think we’ll always return, that a place we love will stay constant — and that we’ll get everywhere we want to go — on an African safari, to hike in New Zealand, listen to an opera in Sydney, see the sunrise over the Taj Mahal — but there are no guarantees. We work at our jobs to be able to afford to go, and we work on ourselves to stay healthy so we can go.
So far so good….
Enjoy your next travels, wherever they may take you!