Two years ago, tomorrow, Danni and I left on an adventure across the globe, all by ourselves, to go see Cameron. It is still one of my favorite trips and I think of the fun time the three of us experienced together often.
Cameron was attending Texas Tech University and was doing a study abroad. She left in early September, all by herself without knowing a soul, flew to London, where she joined other college students to study.
She attended Kingston University, southwest London, about a thirty minute train ride outside of London. The university was founded in 1899. She stayed in a dorm with three other dormmates–boys and girls. A few of them did not speak English. She luckily had a bedroom and bathroom all her own.
Feeling happy and exhausted this morning as I sit outside on our balcony, looking at grapevines that are the prettiest colors of fall, I write. Finally.
Confucius say, “Whereever you go, go with your heart.”
We had trouble with our wifi in San Francisco and I am sad I have failed my thirty-wonderful days of writing challenge by missing Wednesday through Friday. I will make this up( to myself) by writing through November a few days.
As I predicted, I fell in love with the city of San Francisco. Mainly the wharf area and North Beach.
This happens to me quite regularly and I believe that is why I love to travel so very much.
Yes, getting away is nice. Seeing new things and having new adventures and eating new food. That is all wonderful and a wonderful part of traveling.
But I truly fall in love with places.
I read a quote by a writer that seems to artfully describe what happens when I travel. Patrick Wiltse sums it up beautifully.
“As you immerse yourself in an area over the course of a walk, you form a relationship with that area and your world expands, adding a new piece to the ever growing mosaic of the earth that has passed beneath your feet.”
When we visit a city, we like to walk the city. Take out and explore. Find places to eat and places to sit and watch people. I am known as the outdoorsy-type. And by that I mean– I like to sit outside and have drinks, relax, talk and watch people.
I believe when you actually connect your feet to the city streets you become a part of the city, you learn more about it and the people. You blend in with the city. (unless you are really looking like a tourist!) Become one. You merge with it.
A piece of my heart stays there in the new city I explore. I yearn to go back.
This has happened with New York, Paris, Rome and many places in the U.S., but none more than London. I have been blessed to travel to London two times and I will go back. God willing.
This produces a syndrome called vacation depression.
Do not laugh. This is real.
As we travel to a new city this week, a city we have never discovered, I fear this place will take another piece of me. I have always wanted to go to San Francisco but have never been.
I am excited about all the sights and sounds and tastes of this place.
The legendary Chronicle columnist Herb Caen said, “A city is not gauged by its length and width, but by the broadness of its vision and the height of its dreams.”
Caen also said, “One day if I go to heaven… I’ll look around and say, ‘It ain’t bad, but it ain’t San Francisco.'” (Now I haven’t traveled there yet, but I am pretty sure I won’t agree with that quote.)
Oscar Wilde seems to feel the same way. “It’s an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco. It must be a delightful city and possess all the attractions of the next world.”
But the most famous San Franciscan quote has to be by Mark Twain. “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”
Of course no one knows what this means except our family. Inside jokes are like that. And families with inside jokes are my kind of families.
The five of us have traveled together many times in our lives. We have been blessed with travel. Blessed by God to see a lot of His big, beautiful world.
Traveling is one of our favorite things to do. And traveling together has always been special. Mark, my husband, and I have traveled alone, with friends, with friends and their kids and with family. We like traveling in our big groups and we also like traveling alone.
Let’s face it-traveling anywhere with anyone you love is truly wonderful.
This year, we had to postpone our “family” summer trip due to Cameron, my youngest, finishing up her semester of grad school. After all, school comes first.
We tossed around a lot of options and ended up choosing a beach house an hour south of Galveston. We have been to Galveston many times in our married life. In fact, it was the first beach Mark and I experienced together. We always vacationed in Port Aransas when the kids were younger and we have also been blessed to fly and cruise to beaches, as well.
We have stayed in hotels and rented condos. We have never rented a beach house and I am so happy this was our final choice.
One word. Perfection.
The beach house was perfect. The view was perfect. The décor was perfect. The beach, while not Caribbean-it was a Texas beach-still perfect. Perfection.
All the things I listed above added to our enjoyment and made for a perfect beach vacation.
But truthfully, what was perfect, was all five of us, all together, under one roof, all alone, with nothing to do but be together and enjoy each other and our surroundings. Perfect.
At times it felt to me like we were back on Hali Brooke, raising our kids and loving each other. There was less sibling fighting though – so perfect.
Danni was Danni. Alex was Alex and Cameron, being the baby of our family, was totally Cameron. Perfect.
My world. My people. My family. My future. Perfect.
Sometimes it is hard for me to believe I am as old as I am. I can’t believe I have been married to the same man for 29 years. I can’t believe I have three children. Grown children. Grown children with their own lives. I think we like to hold on to our youth for as long as possible in spite of everything because we are supposed to still be twenty-something.
My three kids, my husband and our life together are my whole life. My everything. My perfection.
No matter how imperfect it actually is.
We had rain. We had mosquitoes. I cooked too much. My pups weren’t there with us. It wasn’t clear water.
But still perfection. Imperfect perfection.
I know my twenty-somethings will have their own lives and spouses and children (one can hope, right?) one day but having them, together, under one roof, on that beach, in that house, was like heaven to me as a mom and that was perfect!
I hope we have more vacations like this but if we don’t, I am truly blessed by our Lord to have this memory.