travel

Road Tripping

I had the opportunity to take a road trip last week and just had to share a few experiences from along the way.

As a writer, I’m always on the lookout for things that might spark an idea, help to finish a scene, or are just plain funny because of word usage. Road signs, I found, are a great source of amusement. Here are some of what I encountered –

  • Blue Giraffe Spa. A business sign spotted on I5 southbound. No picture of said blue giraffe though.
  • Pavement rehabilitation. Made me wonder what addiction the pavement was suffering from.
  • Easy Street & Shamrock Road. Perhaps this is where the end of the rainbow and the pot of gold are?
  • “Diggers. A bar and no grill.” Located in the town of Willits CA.
  • Bear Pen Undercrossing. Didn’t see any bears penned and wondered how they would cross if they were.
  • For Elk information tune to 1610 information. No, they weren’t referring to the lodge where old men meet.
  • “Food, Booze, Snooze” an inn on Route 199. At least you know exactly what you’re getting.
  • Hellgate Excursions. Not sure this is a place I want to explore.
  • The Feral Cats. A name of a local band.

And for your viewing pleasure, here are few of the sights I saw too.

 

Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa

Vineyards as far as the eye could see

Vineyards as far as the eye could see

 

 

Avenue of the Giants in the Redwood Forest

Avenue of the Giants in the Redwood Forest

Towering Redwoods

Towering Redwoods

Northern California coast

Northern California coast

Tumalo Falls Bend Oregon

Tumalo Falls Bend Oregon

Downtown Bend Oregon

Downtown Bend Oregon

Life In A TARDIS

For those that know me or have hung around this site for any length of time, you know that I can’t stay in one place for a long time. The fact that I lived in Georgia for 14 year still amazes me. By the time the next chapter begins, I will have been in Washington for 8 years. But I come from a family of travelers. My grandparents immigrated here and moved many times during their lifetime. My father used to travel for business and on occasion I got to go along. For a while my husband traveled for work and when we could, the kid and I would accompany him to some of the more fun destinations.

TARDISWhich brings me to sometime in the future. If I could, and more importantly, if it existed, I would choose to live in a TARDIS*. Imagine, traveling to anywhere in time and space. All the history you could see first hand, all the technology you could experience that will be invented in the future. Not to mention the possibility of meeting other races, because they have to be out there. But since that technology is not currently available to use normal folks, we’ll have to settle for the next best thing.

An RV. Yes, a recreational vehicle. A house on wheels. A tiny house, yet it could be bigger on the inside (like  a TARDIS) if we get the right one. We’re still in the research phase right now. Planning to attend the RV show in February, checking out websites, reviews, options, saving pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollars. Looking at both 5th wheels, trucks to tow with, and motorhomes. Keeping in mind that there will have to be room for a workspace for the husband, after all we can’t retire just yet, enough height and leg room for me (because I haven’t found a way to make myself shorter), and a place for the kid to come visit, if she decides she can “rough it” for a time.

Advantages to living this style of life – the ability to go where we want, when we want. Visit friends for extended periods of time without having to impose on their hospitality. Too cold, head south. Too hot, head north. Go see the places we’ve wanted to see across the country, while still having the comforts of home. Yes, there will be some disadvantages too and we’re not discounting those. They will be considered as well before making any final decisions.

It is still a ways off yet before we can do this. Maybe by then TARDIS technology will be available 😉

* For those not familiar with a TARDIS & Doctor Who, a brief definition from Wikipedia

The TARDIS[nb 1][1] (/ˈtɑːdɪs/; Time and Relative Dimension in Space)[nb 2] is a time machine and spacecraft in the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who and its associated spin-offs The Sarah Jane Adventures, Torchwood and more.

A TARDIS is a product of the advanced technology of the Time Lords, an extraterrestrial civilisation to which the programme’s central character, the Doctor, belongs. A properly maintained and piloted TARDIS can transport its occupants to any point in time and any place in the universe. The interior of a TARDIS is much larger than its exterior, which can blend in with its surroundings using the ship’s “chameleon circuit”. TARDISes also possess a degree of sentience (which has been expressed in a variety of ways ranging from implied machine personality and free will through to the use of a conversant avatar) and provide their users with additional tools and abilities including a telepathically based universal translation system.”

Gypsy Heart

(Not to be confused with the Miley Cyrus tour that just wrapped in Australia – if you came here looking for her, she’s not here.)

So in preparation for this post, I decided to look up the definition of the term “Gypsy”. Here is what I found.

gyp·sy

noun /ˈjipsē/
gipsies, plural; gypsies, plural

  • A member of a traveling people with dark skin and hair who speak Romany and traditionally live by seasonal work, itinerant trade, and fortune-telling. Gypsies are now found mostly in Europe, parts of North Africa, and North America, but are believed to have originated in the Indian subcontinent
  • The language of the gypsies; Romany
  • A nomadic or free-spirited person

With that in mind, I’m focusing on the third definition, since I’m not of Romany descent (that I am aware of).

We joke in my family about being gypsies. Last summer when we were “homeless” and staying at my parents in their RV, we would joke about the gypsies being there since the RV was parked outside for such a long period of time. I don’t know if somewhere in our ancestry we actually do have any gypsies, but for me it’s the love of travel that runs through my blood and the number of times many of us have moved, well I’ve lost count in that area.

I find myself thinking about this more and more lately. I don’t know if it’s living in a new place, but not yet having put down roots, or just the wanderlust and desire to see parts of the world I have not yet explored. But the desire to travel is overwhelming me right now.

I have a trip coming up to visit my parents and old friends that I haven’t seen in a long time. And I’m glad that my daughter will get to share in this adventure too. She’ll get to see places she’s never seen before, try new foods, meet new people, and maybe make some life time friends of her own. We’ll explore places I’ve been, and see these sites and landmarks through her eyes this time, visit a couple of places I’ve not been before but want to visit, and create many, many memories.

But this upcoming trip has a purpose. And my heart is longing for a trip without such definition and schedule. I want to go, explore somewhere new, somewhere I’ve never been before. To embrace the culture, the food, the people. To learn the history worn into the streets by the many travelers before me. To take pictures, read stories, write a few new stories as well.

Until I can do this, I will be content to research, plan, and dream. But someday I will set out and follow my gypsy heart. And I will share the stories along the way.

Bucket List

So Elora, Lauren, and Prudence have created these lists of things they want to do before they are 30, or 40. I wish I had been that focused when I was their age. Instead I was too busy doing other things a lot less grand or dream powered.

… and it got me thinking. I’m 6 years away from 50. My 11 year old thinks 44 is old. My 44 year old brain doesn’t think 44 is old. It doesn’t even think that 70 is old now. But that space between my ears is thinking that there are a lot of things I want to do, and if I don’t write them down and hold myself accountable, they’ll just float away in to the ether, never accomplished, or left for someone else to do.

So here’s my list of oh I don’t know how many things I want to do before 50.

  1. Spend a month in Paris (France not Texas)
  2. Spend a long weekend visiting Napa & Michael Chiarello’s restaurant Bottega
  3. Write the book that is stirring in my minds eye
  4. Use at least half of the fabric that I have in my stash to complete projects in waiting
  5. Go for a spa day, not just a massage either, but the entire spa package of pampering
  6. Visit dear friends who I haven’t seen in years (I’ll be seeing a few this summer – I can’t wait!)
  7. Meet as many twitter friends in real life
  8. Attend the Kentucky Derby and wear a grand hat for the occasion
  9. Go back to school and finish my bachelors degree
  10. Travel to England and soak up as much history and experiences as I can while I’m there
  11. Travel by train across Europe
  12. Visit Italy and learn to cook like the locals
  13. … to be continued

Travel seems to be a common theme through out the list. Guess that’s just the gypsy in me. But in all seriousness, there is so much out there I want to learn about, and see and experience. I’m thinking I need to cast off the limitation of doing this all by 50, and just set out to do it all in my life time.

Results

So I post a poll and my traffic spikes. Yet most of the visitors that came by didn’t actually vote in the poll. Really, it wasn’t that hard. 🙂

But the results are in. And as of the writing of this post (Tuesday morning, 11 am Pacific time) 84.62% said yes, while the remaining 15.38% said no. (Sounds more impressive than 22 of you who voted said yes and 4 said no.) Based on the comments I received, it seems that age had a lot to do with the answer given. Most of my more mature readers said no. But they also commented as to why they voted this way too. Most were content with their homes and the life they have. They like to be around family and friends and the creature comforts they have surrounded themselves with. I had a few younger readers comment here and on facebook as well as to why they would go. I think the adventure of it spoke to their souls. Also a desire to learn more about their heritage or history.

So there it is in a nutshell. I’ll leave the poll open in case anyone else wants to vote or comment.

And this was a completely unscientific poll, just done for fun, and to see what you would say. Thanks for participating. We’ll do it again sometime soon.

Would You?

If you had the opportunity to take a year of your life and go travel around Europe, would you?

Yes, you have the money to do this. No, you don’t have a job keeping you here. You may or may not have kids, a spouse or significant other, other family ties, or any other obligations. Regardless of circumstances all the signs are pointing to yes, all your ducks are in a row. Would you pack everything you need, put your life’s belongings in storage, and take off for a year?

Why or why not? And where would you go? Would you spend more time in one country than another or take equal time in all the places?

Take the poll and then share in the comments below.

Rules For Travel

I have traveled a lot in my life time. Growing up I would get the opportunity to go on trips with my Dad when he would travel for business. As I got older I would travel on my own, to my mother’s house in Virginia, then Seattle, to New York City with a high school friend (and as a side note, I don’t recommend driving in the city unless you have nerves of steel), and other various places in between. After getting married, Dean & I would travel, near and far, domestic and international. So I think I can safely say I have a good understanding of airports, taxis, maps, and the general rules needed for travel. Here are a few I would like to share, please add your own.

1. Before traveling, make sure you know your alphabet and numbers. it will make finding your correct seat on a plane a whole lot easier and less embarrassing for you and the person you accuse of being in “your” seat.

2. When the gate attendent calls for a particular loading zone and your boarding pass doesn’t have a zone on it, please go see the gate agent. They have been making an announcement for you to do this. Listen to them.

3. When they state that your carryon must fit under the seat in front of you or in the overhead compartment, that’s where it should fit. If the gate agent tells you it won’t fit and asks you to gate check it, please do so. And in regards to that carryon, do put it above your seat, not mine. I too have carryon items that I would like to stow, and be able to get to during our flight.

4. Expect delays. And if you are travelling with small children (especially infants) bring extra everything. There are no guarantees that there will be other passengers with the necessary supplies you seek because you were not prepared.

5. Please be mindful of the others around you. Because the airlines have gotten away from customer service and comfort, they try to cram as many people in as possible. So unless I have the opportunity to fly first class, I can guarantee I will not have enough legroom in coach seating. So yes, when you put your seat back, you will feel my knees in your back. Do not glare at me or make nasty comments. It won’t do you any good. My legs are long and I can do nothing to shorten them. Just accept my apology and get on with your life already.

6. The flight attendants, pilots, and other employees of the airline are doing their jobs. They are trained for these jobs, they know what they are talking about. When they make an announcement, listen to them. They, like your parents, are not talking just to hear the sound of their own voice. They are trying to tell you something. Put your listening ears on and pay attention.

7. And lastly, please enjoy your trip. Attitude is everything, in life and in travel. And if you want to be grumpy, grouchy, or irritable please go do it somewhere else. Thank you.

So what rules for travel would you add?