My dear friend Chris Michel asked me last week what have been the highlights so far of our travels. For a second I couldn’t remember where we had just been and where we were going next. This moment of disorientation led us to a conversation about the right amount of time to plan for travel, experience the place to which you’re traveling, and time post-travel to reflect. Clearly I do not have enough time post-travel to reflect or pre-travel to plan.
Chris is undoubtably one of the most experienced travelers I know so it was a most welcome discussion to learn from his perspective. Brent and I have been trying to find a balance between those three stages of travel but realize we haven’t quite landed on the exact formula. But wow, are we having fun figuring it out!
Knowing this six-month sabbatical from work will be a rare (I think) experience until I retire in about 25 years, Brent is driven to pack in as much as humanly possible before school starts. While I talk about setting a different, slower pace for myself when I start my new career post-graduate school, Brent is taking the “I’ll believe it when I see it.” approach. For now he has a partner without the constraints of a job and he wants to hit the road!
So here are our highlights from the first three months:
Willits: an off-trail bush-whacking hike to a beautiful waterfall in total seclusion
Humboldt County: The Avenue of the Giants and Redwood National Park
NYC: Living like a local (sort-of) in Greenwich Village
Washington DC: The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
Anderson, SC: Ashtabula Historic House plantation
Asheville, NC: Hiking the grounds of Biltmore Estate
Chicago: Visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpieces all over the city and in Oak Park
Joshua Tree: Each and every second we were there
Palm Springs: Hiking Indian Canyon
Santa Barbara: The Ode to Dan Russo pizza at Lucky Penny and submersion in Spanish-California history
Ojai: Hiking Ventura Riverbed Preserve and Los Padres National Forest and attempting to channel Beatrice Wood wherever I was
Paso Robles: Meandering through the historic town and shops
Solvang: I could finally cross it off my list and now tell people to ignore every guidebook that tells you to go there. Just don’t. Even if it’s on your way. Keep driving. The time you spend there is time you’ll never get back.
Los Alamos: Pico and The General Store and the breathtaking countryside driving through the surrounding Santa Ynez Valley
Lompoc: La Purisima Mission
A general observation I’m having is just how much American History and Natural History I missed in school. Perhaps it wasn’t taught or I simply didn’t pay attention. It seems each place we visit I learn how the origins of this country have led us to our current state of politics, treatment of women and minorities, and misuse of natural resources. Also, the more I learn about Native Americans on our travels, the more I believe they had a lot of the answers to live a more harmonious existence with each other and the planet.
We’re gearing up for another long trip that will take us east. Now that the fog has set in we’re ready to begin chasing summer!