April 23, 2014

T Is for Travel

Back in the early 1970s, I worked for a company that sent me around the U.S. as a trouble shooter. I would be like the Lone Ranger — hit town, clean up the office files and accounting, and drift off into the sunset. That was my first taste of real travel. The best part was that I spent a week or two (minimum) in each of the offices, giving me an opportunity to check out the community. It also showed me that the "If it's Tuesday, it must be Belgium" style of travel wasn't going to work for me.

Time passed, and I did the usual Southern California road trips to the Northern California Wine Country, San Diego, Mammoth, and Las Vegas. But I couldn't afford the time or money needed to travel farther. Then came Freddie Laker and his affordable plane fares. At the same time, my ex and I parted ways, sold our house, and I had some cash. I spent three months traveling through England and Scotland (two months of which was spent in London), getting as far north as the Orkney Islands.

Canal boating in England
In London, I worked at Harrod's (for only two weeks — it interfered with taking ballet classes and going to the theater). It was a good experience, though, as I discovered that work patterns were far different outside the U.S. Let's just say, people in the U.S. are totally insane. They approach all jobs with a Type A attitude and forget to enjoy life. But I digress.

Then I started dating my husband, K. W. Looking back, I didn't get married; I hooked up with a co-conspirator. He also loves to travel — and not those fast arranged tours. Together we have spent time in France, Spain, Mallorca, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, the Italian Alps, and have lived in a number of wonderful U.S. cities and in Bath, England, and now in Ecuador. We have a two-month trip planned for the fall: Barcelona, Vienna, Prague, Dresden, and Nantes. Then over to the U.K. to visit friends and see a lot of ballet, opera, theater, and symphony. Italy, Romania, Holland, Colombia, Uruguay, Chile, Russia, and Taiwan are on the bucket list. So many places, so little time.

Vienna Staatsoper
I don't take a lot of pictures or buy a ton of souvenirs. But I've seen Tosca in three countries and an entire fall season of the Royal Ballet in London. I rode the Hogwart's Express before there was Harry Potter and seen the seriously flawed Capeman on Broadway. I've cooked dinner in a hostel in the Orkneys and on a canal boat along one of the many Avon Rivers. And I've watched a NASCAR race from the speedway media center and seen Air Force Green Flag exercises from the meridian between two runways (ear plugs mandatory). Fun stuff.

Sunset in Cuenca, Ecuador
It isn't all wonderful, though. I am old enough to remember when flying Coach was actually comfortable. In fact, today's Business Class is pretty much what Coach used to be. Unfortunately, this means that as I have grown wider, the airline seats have grown narrower and the space between the rows (known as the pitch) reduces annually. While I love actually being in new places, I seriously hate the getting there part. At least in Europe, the trains are an option.

So, is it worth the money, hassle, and time? You bet.

A lot of people have wonderful structured themes for this challenge. Me, I'm going with Random Girl. Hey, my life doesn't have a theme, so why should my blog?

And make sure you check out Blogging from A to Z . There are over 2,000 participants in this years's challenge. Whatever your particular enthusiasm, you are sure to find something to pique your interest.

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  1. I know you are looking forward to not having your travel outside Ecuador time-restricted! ;)

    D.B. McNicol
    A to Z: Romance & Mystery...writing my life

  2. Sounds like a great job, Geri, being sent around the world. Of course, when one has to work it's different, but I Imagine still pretty amazing. The pics look gorgeous. Indeed, so many places, so little time. If you decide to go to Romania, let me know, and I'll give you my take on what's what, from a native's viewpoint.
    Wonderful post. Thank you.
    Silvia @

    1. Silvia -- That job only traveled me around the US. My husband's writing career has been the one instrumental in offering us the opportunities to travel abroad. And, if we really want to explore a new area, we just move to it, find work, and live there for five to ten years.

      It might be a couple of years before we make it to Romania, but I certainly will take you up on your offer. Thanks.

  3. the canal boat sure did bring back a lot of memories. I really miss England. Wish I could go back. At present, I can only travel through the bits and bytes of the web. Thanks for sharing! <3

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    My A to Z
    Caring for My Veteran

    1. Hi Jamie --

      The Web really helps -- all those lovely photos and Wikipedia pages. :-) I do hope that you can eventually return to England or even travel to other new and exciting places. I know I have had long periods where we didn't travel much, so when we finally did get to have another adventure, it was all the sweeter.

  4. I've grown into more of a homebody as I grow older, but I still love to travel. In the 70's and 80's I also worked in jobs where much travel was involved. Now I'm kind of spoiled. I like having my travel expenses paid for even if I have to work some. Like you, I don't tend to take a lot of photos or buy souvenirs. Actually I forget to take pictures much of the time and then regret later not having done it.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

    1. Lee -- I hear you. I try and have some expenses deferred through hotel and points programs. It helps. My big bugaboo is spending on theater, opera, ballet, and symphony tickets. I was a reviewer for a long time and was comped. These days, I dip into my own pocket. Big difference.

  5. I like your style of travel, and that photo of canal boating reminds me of how much I want to do that!

    Like you, I am now married to a co-conspirator. It's so wonderful to have a good travel partner!

    ~Tui Snider~ Dropping by from the A to Z challenge! :D
    @TuiSnider on Twitter
    My blog: Tui Snider's Offbeat & Overlooked Travel
    I am also part of the #StoryDam team, a friendly writing community!

    1. Tui -- You got that right. And do the canal boat thing as soon as you can! It's awesome, but a lot of work. If we had known what we were doing, we would have gone with another couple.

      Thanks for stopping by.