Sunday, March 1, 2015

Travel My Way

I love to travel. There are so many places in the world that I want to visit. I am looking forward to being retired so that I will be able to have the time to go places I want to go. But I intend to travel the way I want to travel. I'm kind of set in my ways about this. I want to be able to fully enjoy my trips and that means I need to do them my way.

I WILL get to Moab! Yes, I will.
One thing I am looking forward to is the ability to go someplace at that best time for that place. For example, the Utah parks in the south are blazing hot in the summer but lovely in April or October. (Well actually every place is good in October, isn't it?) So I plan to catch up on the "missing parks" on my list in, say, April, a time when I can never get away from work at school except maybe for a day.

I have a whole long list of places to visit in Utah, western Colorado and other close by places. My work has just interfered too much with my travels so far.  Believe it or not, in 10 years, I have not yet made it down to Moab. Someone asked me where was it I intended to travel once I was retired. "China? Africa?" No, Moab is where i want to go. My goals are modest ones.

Lovely though it is, Thailand is not on my list.

I have a whole collection of travel blogs that I read all done by people who have left their normal life in North America or Europe for extended world wide travel. I do enjoy reading these stories. There was a time when I thought I would like that kind of thing, but not any longer. I find I don't want to backpack or have to go as cheaply as possible. I don't want to have to be on the move all the time with no end in sight. I don't want to hang out with the international vagabond scene.
If a trip involves relaxing, reading, or knitting in a quiet place, I'm in heaven.

Several things that are important to me. I want to feel safe. I want a certain amount of comfort, and I want to be in clean places. I want to know the food and water are ok to consume without worrying about getting sick. I want clean toilets that I feel comfortable using. Adventure is not on my agenda any more (if it ever was.) I also cannot stand to spend much time in places that are very busy, noisy, super colorful. I get sensory overload really quickly. The idea of spending time in places like big markets in southeast Asia is just NOT what I want to do at all.

I want to meet people, but I don't want to be burdened with people. I don't want to have to talk about myself or feel in any way that I need to make real friends with people I come across. I want to be able to be silent for a heck of a lot of the time. I want to be friendly, but not come home with a new set of "friends".

When, in the past, I did do some extended travel, I always found that I had planned my trip to be too long. I always hit the wall sometime before I was scheduled to be done. Right now, I find that a week, maybe 10 days, is about all I can take at one time. And in many ways a long weekend at the destination is often just right for me.

I never go away from some place regretting that I was unable to see or do everything there was to see & do. I find that leaving someplace thinking that I would like to return so I can do those other things makes me feel just fine.
Smokey Rose is quite happy to sleep in our own bed.

I don't like being away from Smokey Rose (or any cat that I have had) for long periods of time. Cats are not good travelers. I don't take them along just so that I can be happy with them. The kitty would have to just be in the car for long hours and then locked in the hotel. They don't really like that a whole lot.

Maybe I should look into getting a little rescue dog to travel with. But that is a whole other can of worms. Does Smokey Rose like dogs? Who knows, and if the answer is "no" then everyone is in big trouble if Sparky has already moved in. Smokey Rose comes first. I would never do anything that might upset her and make her life not to her liking.
My comfy bed in the Dream Inn in Santa Cruz

I really like staying in hotels, and I am OK with paying more than cheap in order to have a nice hotel. A nice hotel, for me, is part of the vacation. I know some people who think the hotel is just the place where you drop your luggage, leave early in the morning and return to late at night. I find that I want to sleep in an a really comfortable bed & wake up to have a cup of coffee taking in a nice view if possible. Because I don't have cable TV at home, watching cable TV is a treat for me. Taking an afternoon nap is really nice. Using the pool, whirlpool, sauna, etc are luxurious. Overall I prefer to USE the hotel as a real part of my travel.

I don't care that much for museums and other traditional things that one must see in a place. That is why the idea of going on an extended trip to Europe don't actually appeal to me. What I find I want from a trip is to get a feel for what it is like to live there.

If I were to go to Europe, what I think I would like is  just to find a nice hotel in an interesting neighborhood in the city I select. Then I would spend my time walking around and learning what the neighborhood was like. Maybe I would go see a museum or other "important" sight....or maybe I wouldn't. Actually, I probably wouldn't unless it was right in the neighborhood and it was a rainy, cold day. I think that museums are intended mostly for cold and rainy days.
Red Butte is my standard against which I compare
all other botanic gardens in the country.

There are always 3 things on my list of things to do in a place I least one local yarn shop (more if there are more), a local bookstore and a botanic or other kind of public garden. The thing about these kinds of places is that locals go there, and they tend to be situated in or near the middle places where locals go.

I have a goal of visiting all the botanic gardens in the western US or other places I go visit.  I especially want to check out Japanese or Chinese gardens, my favorites. I prefer these to museums any day.

LYS #1 in Santa Cruz

For example, when I went to Santa Cruz, there were two yarn stores I found on the google machine.  I planned to go to one each day because they were in different parts of town. One LYS was on the upper edge of downtown, so I took a taxi there and then walked back to the hotel doing the whole lovely downtown (including the book store) on the way back. It was a great way to spend my day which included lunch at a sweet little place and a stop for coffee at a local roasting shop. I got to check out a local "Healthy Food" grocery store, and could have taken in a movie if I had wanted. It was just the kind of day that I really like.

The souvenir shawl I made from the yarn from the Golden Fleece.

The next day I repeated the idea only beginning in a different part of town which was also filled with shops and restaurants and walking along the sea for half the way back. I left feeling like I had a good sense of what would be available to me if ever I was interested in living in Santa Cruz. Actually, that is always on my agenda for visiting some place. I want to know, "what would it be like if I lived here?" So to that end, if I don't see them easily, I tend to ask people directly questions like, "Where do you get your groceries? Is there a Target nearby? How far away is the big airport (if I didn't fly in)? Do you have to drive there? What about a hospital? What kind of music or theatre can you hear or see here from time to time?"

Good food is also important to me when I travel. I love to use Jane & Michael Stern's road food guides if I can. I try to find good breakfast places. I check out coffee shops and have to sample local ice cream or gelato if possible. I will get a bit dressed up for dinner. I seek out homemade pie. Now that I am learning to drink beer, I think I will add brewpubs to the list.

Along the Rock River in Rockford, IL

I always like to see whatever is the local natural place. That doesn't have to mean a national park or something. If a place is by the sea, then I like to just spend time walking the beach while looking and listening to the ocean. I'll want to go see the trees or the lake or the river or the mountains or the prairie or whatever it is that makes the place some place where people wanted to settle. I'll go to the big urban park in the middle. The natural setting does not have to be "special" or breathtaking. In my hometown I always try to go walking along the river. It's not a special river in any way, but it's one of the best places to spend time when you visit or live there.

I don't do vigorous outdoor things. I don't feel the need to climb those mountains or kayak that river or hike that long trail or whatever. Just seeing them and being in their presence is fine with me.
Salt Lake is a really good hub for visiting all kinds of places in the western US. 

So, I think I will end up doing a lot of short hub and spoke trips once I no longer have a work schedule. I'll pick out places I want to visit for a few days and that aren't too far away for Salt Lake (if I decide to stay in SLC. But one of the reasons to stay here is because it is a darn good hub for the western US). I'll drive or take short flights. I'll find a nice hotel to stay in. I'll seek out good food to eat. I'll spend time on my favorite travel things to do. I'll go home happy to be with Smokey Rose once again. And then in another 6 weeks or so, I'll do it again, going to yet another place I have been yearning to visit. One by one, I'll get to go to a lot of great places ... my way.

Coming home to sweet Smokey Rose is just the best way to end a great trip.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Linda! Your way of visiting a city is much like ours. We, too, like to spend time learning how the locals live, where they go and what they do. Since being here, I’ve worried somewhat that we aren’t out seeing the sites, but your post reminded me that I am doing Sydney my way! That said, I do want to be sure that I see as much as I can during the time we are here. In all the time I lived in the western US, I never got to Yellowstone or the Four Corners area. I expect to be back there to finish that up though!

    I agree with you on the hotel too. I often find myself saying, “oh it’s just a place to sleep!” but in reality I want it to be a luxurious sleep!