I read a lot of books as a child, and I took inspiration from the main characters I loved, especially the heroines with whom I identified. They dreamed of writing; so did I. They read like fiends; so did I. They had overly romantic ideas of true love; so did I. They wanted to travel the world…so did I. And I’m a lucky, lucky girl. I’ve gotten to travel far more than I would have ever imagined was actually possible when I was a child.
My best friend and I spent a month and a half on a road trip across the country and back. We spent time in something like 31 states on that trip, sometimes just for a day and sometimes for a few days. We stayed in hotels, motels, hostels, on the couches and spare beds of friends and family…never in the car, though we came close a time or two! 🙂 We also had a few good fights – it’s hard to be in a car with someone for 45 days and NOT have a fight – but we came out of the trip closer than we had been before. We have so many great memories – rolls thrown at us in a restaurant in Missouri, piling into a tiny car with too many people from our hostel in Taos to a bar in town when our own car was in the shop (from driving over a mountain on a gravel road, which was too much for the car!), the beautiful Badlands, Wall Drug, my first legal beer (in Canada)… I loved that trip. I still talk about it all the time!
And then I was lucky enough to get a job that requires me to travel. I’ve been to many states for work – Nevada, North Carolina, Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Massachussets, California, Texas, Tennessee, Ohio. I’ve also been lucky enough to travel to London, Madrid and Vienna. The problem with work travel is that you see the airport, the hotel, and the conference center a LOT. And you see the rest of the city when you gobble down your dinner in an exhausted state at 9:00 pm after your work duties have ended or on the special event for the conference (which is work) or from the back of a cab. I have been able to take advantage of the fact that work paid for my airline ticket and stay in the city I was visiting a few times. In Phoenix, my parents and husband joined me at our conference resort after the meeting ended and we spent a week soaking up the sun, eating well, visiting the Grand Canyon, etc. After my London conference, my husband flew out to meet me and we stayed for 4 or 5 days (and fell in LOVE with London). After Madrid, my co-workers and I stayed for 1 day to see the city (and they ran me ragged to go shopping). But those trips are still expensive – yes, my airfare is paid for, but if David joins me, his is not, and we still have to pay for hotels and shopping and eating. And we are not exactly wealthy, so it’s not always possible to stay given our budget at the time.
Despite all the traveling I have done, I am still filled with a degree of wanderlust. There are so many places I want to see! Italy, France, Ireland, Scotland, Belgium, Greece, Switzerland, Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica…I could go on and on and on. And I’d love to say I’ve been to all the states in this country, particularly Alaska and Hawaii and the New England states I haven’t been to. I will have to win the lottery to visit all of those places, of course. But you can bet I will cross as many off my list as I can.