In anticipation of my pending trip, I felt I would visit this draft that I started months ago on another trip.
I enjoy traveling, which is no mystery to you, my readers. Perhaps this started with the first trip I was told I was taken on, a trip out to Colorado when I was a year old. Maybe my love of travel began a bit later when I was passenger on my Mom’s horse, Dandy, for rides around the fields. My love of traveling may even have started later, when Mom would pile us into the car for a road trip to Lake Michigan. I could even give credit to the stacks of National Geographic magazines and the National Geographic hardcover books that lined the bookshelves at home, their pages filled with exotic locations, animals and people.
Regardless of when it started, I believe I can thank my Mom for being a major part of my love of travel, and learning to enjoy the journey, not just focus on the destination. A road trip with Mom involved washing up after feeding the animals and piling into the car to “see where the car” took us. Oft times the car drove us to Lake Michigan or to the Door County Peninsula. On summer days, it’d take us to Harpt’s Lake for swimming, to listen to the live band at the bar and people watch (when I got older… it was a good place to look at boys). On the way back, the car always knew to stop at a drive-up/diner that had twist cones and great burgers. The car knew that there wasn’t a time-table to adhere to, there was no need to rush, we’d get where we were going when we got there.
I have traveled with friends and family who have a habit of focusing on the destination. We need to get there in the fastest time possible. Rush, rush, rush. Stopping for the loo or to eat be damned! Put on your seat belt and hang on for dear life. If I spot a location along the route that looks like it’ll be a great place to get out and stretch the legs a bit, it’s shot down in the name of “getting there”, reaching the intended destination. My trip back from California last July found me with face pressed to the window glass, my camera in one hand and the other pointing helplessly at a fast-approaching road sign purporting great and wonderous things to see as I uttered, “But … but, I think we should stop…cause… we’re here… and….*sigh*. Never mind.” My disappointment palpable as the car hurtled past this newest discovery that I could only view in passing at 70 mph from the confines of the passenger seat.
Thankfully, DH has a similar attitude to mine when it comes to travel… go with the flow. Head in the general direction of where you’re supposed to end up and, if you happen to come across something neat, stop and see it. What’s the rush? Hotels have late check-ins and if you don’t have a hotel reservation to make anyway… what’s the big deal?
My attitude about travel has enabled me to cover many of the roads in my county that I would have otherwise passed up if I didn’t have the attitude “I haven’t taken THAT road before!” So I drive them. I’ve navigated washed-out, wash-board gravel “roads” with no road signs in the middle of Kansas because I wanted to find a 5-acre park… DH and I found it, in the middle of a cow pasture, Mushroom Rock State Park.
I’ve seen the Grand Canyon, have driven through the Painted Desert at twilight, wondered at the lunar-like landscape of Rainbow Basin Natural Area and have watched the wind make the tall prairie grass in Buffalo Gap National Grassland wave like the ocean, all in the name of “because we haven’t been that way before”. In Croatia, I loved taking the incredibly twisty roads from Plitvice Lakes National Park back to the coast… even though the sun was setting and we had three hours to drive. I got to see sights I’d never had seen otherwise if our group had stuck to the interstate.
With my trip coming up in eight short days, I’m looking forward to exploring Old San Juan, PR… and from there, a day in St. Thomas, USVI and then it’s off to Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Lucia and St. Maarten. I’m even going to enjoy the time on the cruise ship (my fourth cruise) and the people watching that comes with it. Travel at my pace and I can stop and see whatever I want, when I want.
So, for all of you out there with blinders on when you travel, MAN, are you missing out on some fantastic things. Take the blinders off… enjoy your journey. You’ll get to your destination when you get there.