Pleasure, not business.

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One thing I haven’t done enough of in my life is travel. I have been on family vacations to states not-that-far-from NJ. We went to Florida to go to Disneyworld one time. But in my adult life, I just haven’t gone many places just for the fun of going there, and I hope I can change that sometime.

If it weren’t for business trips, I’d never have been to Atlanta (twice), Las Vegas (over 10 times), Chicago, St. Louis, Washington DC, Nashville or Salt Lake City, which is kind of sad. It’s not like I had time to have any fun in those places, really. So I really can’t even count them as “places I’ve been” for REAL. I’ve done road trips for a night or two; I’ve gone to California and Las Vegas. But those were driving trips, and they were also very short. I’d like to go someplace and have at least a week to fully explore and relax. I’d like to go someplace where I don’t have a full agenda of things I need to do and people I need to see. That’s not a vacation.

And neither is a cruise. One word: itinerary. If a vacation has an itinerary, that’s not going to be a full vacation. I’m on schedules every day of the work week, all the time. Meh. When I am taking vacation days, I want them to be a real vacation from anything even remotely like work. (It’s weird that my main travel experience was taking the cruise with X that week in 2007. We were in Mexico for about 6 hours. That was the one time I have ever been outside the country.)

I’m not entirely sure of the #1 place I’d want to travel to… there’s just a list of places that would be fantastic. Since I never take time to daydream about traveling–I figure I’ll just spew those thoughts out here.

* Hawaii. I’d go to any island, all the islands, whatever. I just want to experience it.

* Portland, OR / Seattle, WA. These are the main cities in the US that I wouldn’t mind exploring on my own. I’d also want to have lots of time to write while I’m there. I want to see what the scenery and the rain does to my writing-mind.

* Germany. Especially the more rural areas; I’m curious about that country and my heritage, and I do like to speak/listen to German.

* England. I speak the language, so that’s a plus! I used to pretend the Stone Church in Navesink was in England, and I think I’d just love being in the land of Monty Python and other weird humor!

* Italy. Mostly for the food. And the scenery. Not so much the cities.

* Any number of well-known whale-watching or dolphin-watching sites. I’m really certain that if I had unlimited time to watch these animals in their natural environment — without a shitload of phot-taking tourists around — I’d be so happy and energized.

* Savannah, GA . This is a new one. I only just started thinking that it would be nice to visit this city… I’m curious about the romanticism and old, pretty buildings with that weird undercurrent of Civil War hostilities haunting the shadows… It just seems like a fantastic city for a writer to visit.

Overall, I do think it would be nice to have travel experience and true, inspiring vacations to look back on when I’m old. So I should probably start saving and maybe decide to take one of these vacations. And not just think “one of these days, maybe” about true traveling. No, I want to begin thinking about it as a real thing, something that will happen. Time is going so fast anymore, and I do want to live my life more than I have been.

People always talk about “broadening your horizons” and it’s such an overused phrase it’s almost meaningless now. However, I really do want to broaden my horizons. I want to see the world beyond its now-familiar barriers.

I was listening to the song “Don’t Fence Me In” on my drive to work this morning, and I gazed out at the mountains where I go hiking and thought about how pretty the horizons are here in Arizona. It really is “land, lots of land, under starry skies above” (once you get out of Phoenix, of course). I know why I fell in love with this state back in 1996, and made it my goal to move here after college. I love the vastness of it. NJ was always thick with buildings and people, and frankly, you never saw the horizon unless you happened to be on the beach. You can’t look out over the land in NJ. But you can do that in AZ, and I love that.

Anyway, my point is, I don’t want to fence my own life experiences in. I want to see the world that lies out there so far away I can’t see it. I want to feel the vibe in different places, take in all the details and let my senses take over. I think we forget how to really see things, really smell and hear things, because we’re not able to do it much in the everyday grind of modern, civilized life. I feel somewhat stunted. And I hate that.

One other line I love in Don’t Fence Me In is “…gaze at the moon until I lose my senses…”

That just sounds so wonderful. Yes. That is exactly what I want to do. I want to gaze at the moon like that, but from other places in the world. Maybe, when I schedule my future travels, I will time them so I’m always in a new place during the full moon. That would be really cool!

Here are two versions of Don’t Fence Me In. I have both of these on my iPod, and love them both so much! Ella’s version might be my favorite, but David Byrne’s is a really great interpretation, too–lots of fun and a cool sound.

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4 responses »

  1. Oh, HELL no! You forget I am the polar opposite of a foodie and I hate most foods that aren’t in my little constraints of what-I’ll-eat. In fact, when i think about traveling overseas, one of the first thoughts I always have is, “Well, what am I gonna EAT if I go there? It all sounds awful!”
    And this is just one of the reasons I am a colossal pain in the ass!

  2. I’ve lived in both Seattle and Savannah – both are amazingly creative, completely gorgeous cities – Seattle has the big city gloss and traffic and Savannah has a lot of the small town charm and old-timey racism (I’d like to say I was kidding, but it’s kind of permanently 1953 there).

    And there are many marine mammal watching opportunities out here in California and every single time I see a seal on the beach or a dolphin in the water, it’s awe-inspiring. (You can also regularly see dolphins off of Tybee Island, which is just down the road from Savannah)

  3. I would love to go to all of those places as well! London is HUGE on my list. I really REALLY want to go there. I wish I could travel more in my adult life too. It seems like all of my vacation time is spent going to hometowns and visiting family, which is fine but I would love to go somewhere else for a change. I have a coworker who travels A LOT and I am so jealous of him. But he has no responsibilities so to speak so he can fly off on a whim. He goes to London twice a year. I wish I could do that.

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