The Young And The Restless

"How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!"

---Tennyson, Ulysses

America

I am obsessed, at the moment, with going on vacation. In fact, I don't even think obsessed is a strong enough word. Consumed? Devoured by? I mean, I simply cannot think about anything else. It's like being in love, but without the butterflies, the five-pound weight loss, and the sudden desire to sing along with the radio.

It hasn't escaped my notice, of course, that this time last year, my life was just starting to get exciting. I had travel adventure after travel adventure lined up: first London to see all my friends and family---one cannot argue with the awesomeness of having a "Welcome Back To London" party thrown in one's honor---and then a cross-country drive across the States. Then there was my three-month backpacking tour around Southeast Asia, bookended very nicely on both sides by some serious freeloading in Singapore. This time last year, my life was looking pretty damn fantastic. A daytrip to Santa Cruz this weekend just sort of seems to pale in comparison.

I've got the itch, that's what it is. A lifetime of being raised as a gypsy, traipsing from one school to another, one country to another, has made me the sort of person who can't go a few months without wanting to get the hell out of dodge. We'd been planning, a few months ago, to go to Detroit for Memorial Day weekend, had flights and hotels picked out and everything. And then, you know, life got in the way and we didn't book it, and everything went up by several hundred dollars, and so instead we're just staying here. But even living in one of the most amazing cities in the world now, I'm still not satisfied---a year and a half ago, spending the weekend in San Francisco would have been gloriously exciting. This year, it's just boring. It's just home.

Which is ridiculous, of course---we've only lived here four months; we've got a whole lot of exploring ahead of us yet. We've got restaurants to eat in and museums to visit and scenic drives to make. But a teensy little part of me---oh, alright then, quite a huge part of me---is saying "but those restaurants and scenic drives and museums would be so much more fun in Seattle! Or Vancouver! Or the Caribbean!" Why is it that I only think I'll be able to have fun---that I only think I'll be able to get excited about something---if I have to get on a plane to do it?

And truthfully, I do have some travel coming up; we're headed to San Diego in June, and I'm off to Chicago in July. But still, every spare moment after work is spent sitting on the new couch, feverishly looking up flight times to Rome and hotels in the Bahamas, writing down numbers, doing the math, carrying the one. None of it will happen, of course---flights to Europe start, if you can believe it, at A THOUSAND DOLLARS in September, and the Bahamas might not be the best place to visit during hurricane season (actually, has anyone done it? Was it a mistake?)---but the process of it, the ritual of it, soothes me like a drug. Just knowing that there are other cities, other countries out there that I could visit if I had the time and the means to do so makes me calmer. The irony of it all is that I work in the travel industry. All day, I'm researching and writing about exotic, far-flung destinations. It's like making an alcoholic work in a bar.

Does it annoy you to hear someone whining about wanting to go on vacation when she just took a six-month break not half a year ago? I'm sure it does. But I think all I want is something to look forward to. During the seven years I spent at boarding school, with my parents halfway across the world, my life was constantly divided into increments: the months during which I was counting down the days until I saw my family, and the weeks during which I was with them. Somewhere, I have boxes of depressing wall calendars and diaries with the days slowly, painfully crossed off, a little "98!" scrawled hopefully in the corner of one of the dates, "97!" in the next one, "96!" in the one after that. I guess I've only really ever spent my life looking forward to going somewhere. And now I can't seem to stop.

1
sgazzetti
May 25, 2007

But I think all I want is something to look forward to.

Very true. It seems a natural human urge to hope for something, anything. At eight I am looking forward to the ten o'clock coffee break, at lunchtime I'm looking forward to being at home, on Wednesday I'm waiting for the weekend, and on and on and on. What is life but a series of increments during which you're anticipating the next one?

Okay, except for Sunday night. Then it's all suspended.

2
Andrea Jolene
May 25, 2007

Mmm, I have to say "Amen sista" to the travel itch. Just graduating from college, I feel the need to actually GO DO SOMETHING! The irony is, I have a trip planned for Monterey and YES San Francisco end of June to la first o' July. We can switch - ever been to SLC, Utah? Lovely state. Just lovely...

I enjoy your writings! Post Script...

3
Maya
May 25, 2007

Hope is what keeps us going. Although you do make an excellent point; 'tis maybe a bit difficult to feel too sorry for you, you little world travellers, you. Haven't left this country in....lets' see, about FOUR depressingly long years - and haven't even been out of state save 3 days in scary Vegas for over a year. Time to GO is now, yet no plans to go anywhere till early next year. Jebus that is a long time. The planning is soothing, though, I agree.

4
Maya
May 25, 2007

PS I don't know what I love more - you posting at 1:50 am or me replying at 3. (West Coast time)

5
stepping over the junk
May 25, 2007

well, if you can manage it financially, DO IT! Why not?

6
liz
May 25, 2007

yes..the seven years since college and 'increments' have ended have been very trying at times. I too, like your other reader, look forward to the 10 am coffee, what I'm doing that night, and sleeping in on the weekend to get through week to week! Thank goodness I have a little vacation to San Fran next week. Don't go anywhere yet!

7
janet
May 25, 2007

ahhh yes, vacation. Mine begins at 6pm today and then I am going to Charleston for a week (!!!!!!!!) I'll keep an eye out for your book :)

8
Cobwebs
May 25, 2007

Since you're staying in the area for the weekend, why not head over to Napa Valley? Go to the V. Sattui winery, pick up picnic supplies in their excellent deli, and lunch on the grounds. Then go to the St. Supery winery right up the road, whose grounds should be bursting with flowers right about now. There's also Sterling Vineyards, which sits on top of a hill and is reached by aerial tram. There's a *spectacular* view of the valley from the top.

Then there's the Oakville Grocery, which has the most gourmet foodstuffs packed into the smallest space that you will ever see. And if you're really feeling splurgey, you can eat at the French Laundry. Oh--there's also the Wine Train, which is kind of what it sounds like: You ride a sightseeing train around the valley and get served wine.

I'll stop babbling now. But feel free to e-mail me if you want more winery recommendations.

(Boy, do I miss Napa Valley.)

9
Joni
May 25, 2007

I definitely suffer from the travelling itch- Although I think it is more of an infection, like maybe pink eye or a UTI since I am miserable until I get to go somewhere. I find that if there is no trip in sight, one slightly effective cure is to play tourist in your city. I live in Chicago and nothing cures the blahs better than going to the top of the Hancock building or other destinations I would normally write off as lame due to the sheer number of people wearing sandals with socks.

10
Pink Herring
May 25, 2007

I have to admit that I'm a major homebody. Although I love to travel, I equally love having weekends at home with nothing to do. If fact, I get very cranky if I don't keep the two in a delicate balance.

But I couldn't agree more about needing something to look forward to. I didn't realize how much I depended on that all through school, when it was easy to count down to the end of the marking period, to the long thanksgiving weekend, to the summer off. Now I just find working so... monotonous. Whether I like my job or not is irrelevant (I don't, just in case you were wondering) -- I don't think I could do anything 5 days a week, month after month.

Thank goodness it's Memorial Day weekend, or I'd be really depressed right now.

11
Heather B.
May 25, 2007

Here you are trying to 'escape' San Fransisco and here I am constantly looking at flights out there. I want so badly to go, so I've been living vicariously through you (and others), but it's definitely on my top 3 places to visit before year's end. The other place I feverishly obsess and study and contemplate is Paris. But I'm saving that for late fall.

Oh and Chicago in July well that will be interesting to say the least. Did you know that there's a giant Old Navy there? I think that's what I'm most looking forward to. Oh and the free drinks. That's always a plus.

12
chirky
May 25, 2007

I could have written this entry - it describes me to a "T" (except, of course, that part about growing up all over the world).

Just yesterday I was scouring the Internet for a new place to go - I've got the bug in a bad, bad way - and I sent Roger a link for a hotel in Dubai. Everything in me just wants to pack up and GO, and then I remember: Crap. I'm married. I can't just leave.

Ah, well. Telle est la vie.

13
TheHolls
May 25, 2007

My husband and I are leaving for a splendid week's vacay in Paris a week from tomorrow. Despite the fact that we already threw down a goat-choking chunk of change (two plane tix alone were $2500, purchased three months ago) and the dollar's value withers more with each passing day, I have decided not to care about any of this -- lalalala, it's going to be glorious and the cost is therefore not important. Am dreaming of delish crepes, the perfect croissant, and yummy North African vittles, too!

After a hideous vacay in St. Lucia last spring (the crux of which can be summed up with the fact that on our second day there, we learned that a band of thugs with machetes and guns had been breaking into cottages in the middle of the night at our resort -- sort of eco-resorty -- tying up the couples and robbing them blind), we are totally OWED a perfect trip this time around. Which doesn't stop me from contemplating where we might go next year!

14
juliloquy
May 25, 2007

The thing that gets me out of the end-of-trip blues is planning for the next one. So I completely hear you. I like the Napa suggestion above. Day trips can be almost as fun. Enjoy!

15
Aimee
May 25, 2007

I was in the same boat until we booked our vacation last month. Now I'm equally obsessed with finding restaurants on Chowhound, reviews on our hotel and message boards on Tripadvisor and yes, I have rechecked our rate on Expedia numerous times to ensure we did not get screwed.

16
smoness
May 25, 2007

I'm with Chirky. I totally get your constant need to go somewhere, because I am the exact same way. I looove to plan trips. It's really too bad that we only get so many vacation days off of work. I would absolutely love to be able to take a number of months off to travel all over. --- Some day...
=)

17
Nothing But Bonfires
May 25, 2007

Aimee! Expedia! You traitor!

18
DM
May 25, 2007

My roommate and I went on a week long vacation where we decided nothing would be planned and we would just decide as we were going along. We drove to Wisconsin, hit a rest stop for travel info and then played tourist, going to every spot we had ever wanted to go to or had ever heard of or just found out about.

Did you know that there's a mustard museum in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin? And that it is completely awesome? Imagine what you could find in California.

19
Chaos Control
May 25, 2007

Maybe it would help a bit if you booked a room at a one of the swanky hotels in San Francisco? That way, you'll sort of feel like you're on vacation, and you can explore new things in your new home, yet not come home to piles of laundry and dishes!

20
Dawn
May 25, 2007

YES, you can definitely go to the Caribbean during hurricane season - I do it every year (I leave tomorrow, in fact, for St. Thomas, USVI for a week). Just go before the middle of July; the big storms rarely/never hit before then. It's best if you go in June, though. Bonus - you get to take advantage of "hurricane season" pricing on guest houses/hotels and such. And also, if you go to someplace that is also a cruise ship destination, you won't have to deal with as many of those tourists, since the cruise ship traffic slows down during The Season.

I calculate insurance claims for large businesses at my job, so I'm pretty much On Alert for hurricanes every year, and have been for about 14 years now. June has always been safe for Caribbean travel. Do it, absolutely!!

21
Chiada
May 25, 2007

Hi Holly,
If I had the means to travel all over the world, I sure would. At this time, though, I'm stuck paying for a roof over my head.
But I thought I'd offer up a few suggestions for some 'local' sightseeing (local=in the U.S.).

1) The Featherbed Railroad in Nice, CA. http://www.featherbedrailroad.com/ My husband and I stayed there for a 3 day weekend in November. The bed & breakfast consists of about a dozen individual train cabooses, each one is it's own theme decorated room with a large jacuzzi tub and feather beds. The owners are so friends and gracious and they cooked a delicious breakfast for us. When we went, the weather was stormy, blustery, and rainy, with the lake churned up. But it was a perfect excuse to stay holed up in the caboose and have our own fun. Highly recommended.

2) The Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. http://www.gonorthwest.com/Oregon/columbia/Columbia_River.htm Although the Gorge is further away than the Featherbed Railroad, it is well worth it. Just take the I-5 straight up north until you hit Portland, then turn east and drive about 40 minutes along the Columbia River. The Gorge is home to several waterfalls, including Multnomah Falls, Oneonta Falls, and Horsetail Falls (some of my favorites). Hood River is a famous wind surfing area, and there are dozens, maybe even hundreds of hiking trails all over the Gorge. The summer weather is warm and balmy and everything is green and mossy, full of Douglas Firs. About an hour northeast of the Gorge is the dryer area, east of Hood River, and a wonderful museum called Mary Hill (the phrase "where in Sam Hill is..." came from the builder of the museum). There are countless things to do and see up there, including the Bridge Of The Gods, the Sternwheeler, Timberline Lodge, Mount St. Helen, and so on.

Check out www.calgold.com and get addicted to Huell Howser's many many trips throughout California for scenic drives, history, places to visit, and well kept secrets.

Hope that heps! Happy traveling!

22
heidikins
May 25, 2007

Oooh! Travel bugs! I have one too - I have actually spent the entire morning researching a trip to New Orleans in about a month... never been, and why not? Ok... let's be honest - I do the same researching almost every Friday, just because I'm curious.

xox

23
jess
May 25, 2007

I can't help you with your travel itch because I've been scratching hard myself lately (and I just got back from St Martin in April). Going "back home" to Europe for me never counts as a holiday (but it does cut into that budget).

I haven't tried this yet, but I recently read about www.yapta.com where you will be alarmed if any of the ticket prices (that you already booked) come down. That will save you a lot of hassle in gambling when to book (I never know when too book... too far in advance is not money smart but too short notice can also do you in).

May be it is interesting to check out (or may be you already did).

24
little white liar
May 25, 2007

I'm itching super hard myself. Flights fly in six weeks for Australia - thanks again for those SE Asia tips. Anyway, I went to Puerto Rico the last week in August last summer. It was AMAZING. I had a really bad prejudice against Puerto Rico for some reason, but I went with a big group of friends, rented a beautiful apartment in Old San Juan for dirt cheap, and we lived it up. I'm talking blue blue beaches, lots of great Spanish dancing, cheap rum drinks, awesome castle/fortifications, this crazy architectural mixture of Europe/Caribbean/South America, and the BIO BAY, which is the #1 experience of my life. I wrote a little bit about it here: http://littlewhiteliar.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/09/bio_bay.html

Flights were $100 each way from New York, and we booked them a month in advance. The apartment was $200 each for the week. We budgeted about $50 a day for cabs, food, drinks, gifts, and admission prices. It was a great time. Go Puerto Rico!

25
Corina
May 25, 2007

If I haven't spent several hours in a car or on a plane in a couple of months I start getting horribly antsy. I got back from a trip to SE Asia in March, and if I didn't have several short trips planned this summer I'd be going bonkers by now.

As for the Caribbean in September . . . I've never been to any of the islandds that time of year, but I've been to Belize in September several times (and am planning to go again this year) and it's fabulous! Yes, hurricanes are a possibility, but the weather is otherwise wonderful. You get these big beautiful storms rolling in late almost every afternoon, but they leave the air fresh and the mornings/early afternoons gloriously beautiful. I can't recommend it highly enough. (Plus it's cheap.)

26
Leah
May 25, 2007

I recommend you take a little hop, skip, and a jump over the bay into the exotic lands of, say, Crockett. Or maybe over the hills to Orinda or Clayton. It feels like a different PLANET.

Or there's always Napa.

27
Carrisa
May 25, 2007

Oh Chicago in July... does that mean you are going to BlogHer? If so I would love to meet you. I'll be the nerd in the corner who is too shy to talk to anyone.

28
AlieMalie
May 25, 2007

a friend of mine turned me on to www.kayak.com. they have wicked cheap fares to virtually anywhere because they search every single airline and every single booking site for the absolute cheapest seats. i'm leaving on tuesday for a month - a MONTH - in europe and canada and have a multicity ticket that i booked less than a month ago for ... wait for it ... $650. and those are summer fares. if you're seeing $1000+ in september, you're being had. :(

29
David Burn
May 25, 2007

Have you been to Bolinas yet?

30
jaz
May 25, 2007

I'm going on vacation in the morning. Arizona.

I'm totally not prepared but oh well. I figure I just have to throw some jeans, t-shirts, and stuff in a travel bag and grab my camera, right?

Early flight, got my ticket, refuse to feel stressed. If I forget my toothbrush, I'll buy a new one when I get there. Bwah-ha ha! Freedom!

31
Melanie
May 26, 2007

I'm so jealous - I never travel. I grew up pretty much in one house, then rapidly moved with my husband to four different places, all within 45 minutes of each other, and we've been in our current (horrid, hateful) place for about 4 years. I'm bored as hell. I wish we could pick up and just go someplace - and then I research houses, dreaming of buying a house which will further trap me here. Your way makes more sense.

32
Natalie
May 26, 2007

Come to Toronto....we're supercool! haha
My family and I went on a Caribbean cruise during the hurricane season...we bought travel insurance and luckily it didn't affect us. It all depends on luck/chance I guess...but the cruise? was DEFINITELY worth it!

33
Susan
May 26, 2007

You know that Heather B. and I will be SHOPPING in Chicago in July, don't you? Well, now you do.

I think you should join us . . .

34
Nomes
May 28, 2007

Girlycakes (I am ALL about the pet names at the moment...must be TMAME's influence...back to you!), I get it. I totally get it.

You're an expat brat, whether you boarded or lived avec votre parents. I have the same calendar markings. I still do now - only these days I count down to my next leg wax.

I live for air travel. I salivate at the thought of airmiles (I've membership to three programs). I love spending Monday's looking up all the travelzoo holidays I could(n't afford to) go on.

Gah. This is it babe. This is the life of a spiritual nomad. Forever homeless.

Good luck itching those soles.

35
Jessica
May 28, 2007

I love this post.

We leave for Alaska in a month for a 14 day adventure, while seeing Alaska by land, air and sea. We hope it is what we are expecting and I am bursting with excitement. We return and leave again 3 weeks later for 10 days in California (LA area) and a quick 4 day trip to Maui. You would think, with that and a bunch of weekend trips that are planned for the summer, my "itch" would be gone.

Yet I am sitting on my couch, on my first day of summer break (aah, teaching!) looking up flights to San Juan and Greece and Phoenix and ANYWHERE for the fall because the desire to travel is that strong. Oh, and pouting because we did not go away for Memorial Day.

I always say I would rather have beautiful memories of beautiful places than beautiful things and when you travel, you have just that.

I've done the Bahamas in the beginning of November. Perfect. Calm, warm, beautiful. Cheaper as well, and no cruise lines in the area.

Go. Enjoy. Travel.

36

this past weekend was the detroit electronic music festival, so the city was full of hipsters and tweakers and euros, so it's totally good you didn't come this weekend. stark post-industrial landscapes don't look nearly as good when there a dozen moby-lookalikes there taking pictures.

37

oh, and I meant this response to tennyson:

"caelum, non animum, mutant, qui trans mare currunt." (they change their sky, not their soul, who run across the sea)--- Horace, epistulae (the full quote is even more applicable, but I've used up all my pretension here this morning).

38
camille
May 30, 2007

chicago in july? let me know if you need suggestions of things to do and see!