Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dream Destination - Ireland

Lush greens. Deep blues. Grey and white stone. Overcast skies. Beer in hand. Voices surrounding me. History and Literature living together with Culture. Rocky cliffs. Sheep grazing. Music everywhere. Sexy sexy accents. Friendly people. I close my eyes and that is what I imagine when I think of Ireland.

Ireland has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. It, along with India, has been that place I have read about in books or seen in movies since I was a little kid and just KNEW that I had to visit some day. There isn't any one place I want to visit over another. Like in India, I want to go to experience whatever comes my way and get swept up in the adventure. Like my dream destination of New Orleans I don't want to go with any sort of PLAN in mind. But to take it as it comes.

The only thing I do know is that I want to see Dublin, and wander the streets aimlessly. Get lost and duck into the nearest pub and just soak in the energy of the people surrounding me. I want to sketch. I want to write. I want to sit still and be absorbed by life there.

I mostly want to travel across or around the island. Visiting whatever places appeal to me. Stopping for a lovely view to sketch, take photos, or just enjoy. Exploring the unknown. Meeting people and talking to total strangers as comes so naturally for me.

Ireland is a place I can do in as long or as short a trip as I feel like at the time. I don't feel like it would be a "once in a lifetime" adventure the way my trip to India was that required a very large chunk of time devoted to it. If I only have a long weekend, so be it. If I have more than that, awesome. It is a place I envision being flexible and as quiet or adventurous as I feel like at the time.

My love of people, of architecture, and of exploration just tells me that Ireland is a place where I can indulge all of those loves.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

My favorite kind of adventure

Yesterday found me on the best kind of adventure. A relatively spontaneous trip to a relatively unimportant destination for the sole purpose of having an adventure.

My friend and I wanted to check out the changing autumn leaves, and we picked Burlington Vermont as our destination. It's a place far enough away to make it a journey while being close enough it could be a day trip. I knew nothing about the place otherwise. And it ended up being quite the fun day, with stunning scenery along the way. So the adventure was most assuredly a success.

This reminded me of the year I lived in Pennsylvania. My boyfriend at the time and I had access to a car, and just about every weekend we'd look at my map of the state and one of us would say "we haven't been there. Let's go that direction." We'd take off, not really caring WHERE we were headed, but happy to explore some place new and enjoy the time together. Half the time we didn't even make it to our stated destination, because we'd see a road along the way we just had to turn down or find something that caught our attention somewhere else. But that was okay, because the adventure was point, not the destination.

I have a map of the US that usually lives on my bedroom wall. On it I've marked down every road trip I have been on, every flight I have taken. Looking at that map and seeing the emptiness that is my exploration of New England makes me very very sad.

You see, I moved to Boston seven years ago, and yet yesterday was the first time I made it to Vermont. As someone who dragged her boyfriend around more of Pennsylvania in one year than he had seen his whole life I'm not normally the sort to side idly by when there is unexplored territory anywhere near me.

So why? 

One reason I picked Boston when it was time to leave Alaska was so I would no longer need to maintain the stress and frustrations and costs of owning a car. And unfortunately, not owning a car here in Boston limits my regional adventuring. I don't ride a bicycle, and even before I broke my leg I had ankle problems. So even if I were to go somewhere along the Commuter Rail I'd still end up stuck. And feeling stuck is a feeling I abhor. So when I want to go on these sorts of random adventures I need to convince friends to go on them with me. And too few of my friends (as much as I love them) understand (or have time for) my passion for purposeless adventuring. So the adventures I do get to go on have been few and far between.

I miss being able to wake up on a Saturday or Sunday morning and just go for a drive. If I ever do decide to buy a car again, that is really the only reason I would be getting one.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dream Destination - New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans. A city where "mysteries abound, some real, many imagined." That is how the book that first captured my imagination about this city described it. Anne Rice's The Witching Hour. I read it back when I was around ten or so (I was precocious) shortly after it came out. And while I had liked her vampire books, this one reached into my soul and made me YEARN to see the city it took place in.

Her voice, describing the great houses, the old oak trees, the gardens, the wrought iron fences and sounds and smells of the city... New Orleans came to life for me. And it remained a place I wanted to visit. Even my dream house is strongly based on many of the pictures and descriptions of the plantation manors I have read about in New Orleans (it's actually a combination of New Orleans plantation and New England Victorian).

After Katrina hit in 2005, I was devastated that I'd never had a chance to see New Orleans as it had been. I knew the city would recover, long and hard as that may be. But I knew it would be different. And I am more determined that I will go there some day... soon, hopefully.

If I hadn't broken my leg back in April I would be in the midst of planning a trip there right now. I had "planned" to take a long weekend in the fall and just explore and sit and sketch and eat and drink and talk to total strangers. I wanted to drink an oyster shooter (raw oyster covered in tabasco sauce, followed by a shot of bourbon) just to say I have. I don't actually know anything about what to "do" or "see" in New Orleans. And I don't want to know. I want it to sweep me off my feet and take me where it wants me to go. I think that's the best way to do it.

And while I do really enjoy traveling solo, on this trip I wanted to be accompanied by a particular friend I dated briefly last year and who has settled in to becoming one of my best friends. We figured we could have an awful lot of fun together in a city like New Orleans. So once my leg (and now also my ankle) is all healed and I've got the rest of the shit in my life put together, we'll still go. It's top of my list. And it'll be magical.