Ah…I’m digging into my creaky mental vaults to present you with my best vacation memory. Problem is, I don’t know if I have one! I have taken no gorgeous trips to exotic lands, unless you count Nebraska (I kid the Nebraskans!)…I DO have half a dozen ‘road-trip out west’ stories, but I’ve got to ixnay their divulging, as many of the details ended up in Driving Sideways. (Wall Drug and the Corn Palace and Las Vegas as seen through my personal warped filter will be out soon enough.)
Sidenote: I just asked my husband for inspiration on my best vacation ever and he blandly replied, “Simple. Never had one.” Oh, now that’s just sad!
I haven’t been to Europe, but boy-howdy have I been all over the U.S. I went to the ’96 Olympics in Atlanta, did a spring break excursion to Myrtle Beach, checked out a drag show in New York City, explored New Orleans before Katrina, and let’s see—there have been at least three trips each to Mount Rushmore and Arches National Park and Aspen and Florida and Alabama and two trips each to the Carolinas and Wyoming. And this doesn’t even touch the hundreds of weekender getaways I’ve taken in my own state (raise your hand if you’ve seen the giant Paul Bunyan statue in Wisconsin Dells!)
I did take a whale-watching expedition off the coast of Washington (near the San Juan Islands)…watching the pod of orca slide beneath the boat in the greenish-blue water brought tears to my eyes. Two nights earlier I caught one of the most entertaining bands I’ve ever seen at a hole-in-the-wall bar in Seattle: Herding Cats. The drummer was adept at spinning plates while drumming, singing, and doing strange things with a Kermit the Frog puppet.
Five years later I discovered another very entertaining band while on vacation: Trampled by Turtles. My best friend and I found them somewhat randomly at a Bluegrass Festival in Cedar City, Utah—but turns out they’re from Duluth and regularly do shows in my neck of the woods. Huzzah!
Hmm. I was with my best friend Cindy when I stumbled across both of these bands. SHE’S the world traveler who should be writing this post, having been to Kuwait and Egypt and Italy and Norway and Jamaica … she even volunteered at an orphanage for HIV-positive children in Thailand for an entire month. We’ve been best friends since junior high, and I am the luckiest person to get to type that. She’s always teasing me for never taking time off of work to travel (with her or not), and I always have an excuse: it’s our busy grant season, I don’t have the fundage, who will water all my container plantings, blah-blah-black sheep, have you any lame? I already regret missing out on the trips to China and Europe with some other better-traveled friends, so here is my pledge: Cindy? Are you reading? We ARE taking a trip together in the next year. Name your destination.
I hear Ireland is nice. But so is Costa Rica. I may need a little help deciding, but I won’t need any help having fun when we get there–wherever ‘there’ is!