I love to travel. It’s hard to describe the exhilaration I feel as I lock my front door and head out. It doesn’t matter I am traveling by car, train, or airplane. I have visited Europe, Asia, and India. In my retirement dreams, and hopefully in reality, I spend several months a year living abroad. I love the babble of languages I can’t understand and the smell of history and time. Check out some of my recent journeys on pages listed under Explore.
Maybe you don’t like to fly or you prefer exploring the US. In a country with such varied landscapes, menus and idiosyncrasies, you wouldn’t get bored. You don’t have to rush, just set a course and hit the road. When I drove from Seattle to Maine, I decided to see all the Great Lakes. And I managed to do it, even if Lake Huron was just a grey shoreline in the misty fog.
I troll the internet for options for spending time overseas or on the road here at home. I’ll post information on interesting or alternative travel or travel/work opportunities and programs. Once I retire, I will have the time but I might not have the dime. On an unlimited budget I would rent a villa in Tuscany and while away my days drinking Pinot Grigio. Realistically, I am looking at house sitting, home exchanges, teaching English in Eastern Europe, studying Italian in a small town, or volunteering. Strangely enough, the volunteer programs I looked at are the most expensive options. I’m surprised how much it can cost to work for free.
My first trip outside of the US and Canada was to York, England, in the summer of 1973. I spent ten weeks as a student volunteer working on an archaeological excavation sponsored by the York Archaeological Trust. I don’t consider myself a particularly brave person, but looking back on that trip, I am quite proud of myself. I boarded my first airplane ever in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and flew to London. I was a poor (seriously) college student but the Trust provided room (a dusty old technical college building without hot water the first week) and board (toast and beans for breakfast). But I loved it.
I prefer travelling solo or with a small group of friends or family. I started traveling alone so I could set my itinerary and pace. In 1998 I spent two weeks studying Italian in Siena, Italy. My trip to Italy in 2001 was all about the Etruscans. In 2002, after being “reduced” from a federal job (yes, it does happen) I took a five-week road trip from Seattle to Maine and back. But group travel is an appealing option as I am getting older.
Prior to going to Incredible India in February 2013 with Ponte Travels, I had only been on two organized tours. In 2001, I took a four-day tour of Etruscan sites in Italy with Andante Travels, a British company that specializes in archaeological travel. I loved that tour. I was the only American with a group of about 20 British travelers—and at 47, I was the youngest. Traveling with men and women in their 70s, 80s, and 90s—great walkers who often left me lagging behind—made me realize age can’t and shouldn’t stop me from exploring new cultures and countries. When the tour ended, I spent two weeks visiting other Etruscan areas on my own.
In 2003 I joined a small group of Americans in Venice, Italy, to celebrate Carnevale. There were only eight people, a good size for a crowded event. We went to fancy dress dinners and strolled the Piazza San Marco in our elegant costumes. A two-day cooking class in a private home was a highlight. The temperatures were frigid but the sun was bright. I flew in and out of Venice just for the tour. I wasn’t about to drag my costumes around Italy.
Many of my travel photos predate the digital age. When I get a chance to scan them, I will add to my travel galleries. And hopefully, in the fall of 2014, you will see pictures of a trip to Namibia I am hoping to give myself as a retirement present.