Life is a journey. I'm looking for an authentic sense of place, for authentic experiences of food, culture, history, nature. I hope that you find something here that's interesting and useful on your journey.

When the wanderer stays home, Part 2: planning, daydreaming, Life List

When the wanderer stays home, Part 2: planning, daydreaming, Life List

Thuya Gardens, Maine

Thuya Gardens, Maine

Working full time affords little opportunity for travel. Since I’m now 65 (65!), I’m hoping and planning to no longer work 50+ hours a week, which includes driving. Time - and some resources - open up for travel. One of the most delicious parts of travel for me is the planning. That said, it needs to be done carefully. Learning is the goal, really, but jam-packed itineraries are not pleasant. On a recent trip to Montreal, I “did” six museums in three days. It was overwhelming and exhausting. I learned that I won’t do that again. Wise travelers advise no more than a couple of bigger things each day - maybe one museum or event, a planned meal, an hour of shopping. This leaves time to really experience your destination. Have a meal each day at the same restaurant, walk the neighborhoods, write, paint, meet people, have conversations. It’s also so easy to overdo photos to the extent that you miss the experience. I’ve been traveling my whole life but I’m still learning this. I have learned, though, to not be easily disappointed. Plans change, weather and traffic are unpredictable, everything is not precisely how I imagined it would be. This is one of the great lessons of travel - to stop and let go, to go with the flow of the day. That’s how magic gets in.

Bellini at the Gritti Palace, Venice

Bellini at the Gritti Palace, Venice

I like travel books and websites to an extent. They are useful but even the best are very limited in scope. Reading books about the region and watching films made in and about it are more interesting to me. I want to know about the history, geography and culture in some detail before I go. I try to find out directly from people who have been there and, if possible, from those who live there - hotel, inn and rental hosts can be a good source of local information. I’m trying to get in the habit of asking ahead of my trip.

Montreal Botanical Garden

Montreal Botanical Garden

This brings me to the Life List, what some people call the “Bucket List.” I don’t plan to kick the bucket anytime soon, so I prefer to focus on living. My Life List ten years ago was really long. “Imagine everything you want to do in your life!!!” I did some of those things. Some were spectacular. Others were underwhelming. That was then. I’m older now, and a lot more focused. The old list had a lot of things in the “you’ve GOT to do this before you die!” category.. That no longer is of interest to me. The huge list, besides being not my idea, was too long for one lifetime. Now, i’m focused on what’s important to me. Those are specific experiences. I want to see icebergs in Newfoundland. I’d like to go to Paris, but if I have to choose, I’ll choose the icebergs.

Roosevelt-Campobello International Park, New Brunswick

Roosevelt-Campobello International Park, New Brunswick

It comes down to what I really yearn to do and what I’d regret not doing. Keep in mind that this is my list and that it may or may not resonate with you.

Chain Of Ponds, Maine

Chain Of Ponds, Maine

What I really want to do:

flyfishing US and Canada

train travel, especially the Canadian in the Rockies, especially across Canada

Newfoundland and Labrador

learning, specific classes: falconry, baking, language, cooking

glamping

Vancouver

Italy - I’ve been once for 10 days and it was wonderful, I want more!

US National Parks

Hawaii

US cities, especially Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, New Orleans, Austin, Philadelphia, revisit Miami

see great art and architecture

learn about important local history

authentic experience of place

Naumkeag in the Berkshires

Naumkeag in the Berkshires

My list will continue to evolve as my interests and resources shift. I think it’s important to keep it flexible, to revisit it every now and again. I do think that keeping a list is important. You’ve made a list, haven’t you? You could start today. I’d love to hear what’s on your lists - please comment here or on the Facebook page.

What I might want to do:

Culinary Institute of America “boot camps”

Grand Prix Montreal

Asia

Europe

What I don’t want to do:

air travel if I can avoid it

big cruise ships

package tours, except Rick Steves

Las Vegas - went once overnight, hated it. The desert was beautiful, though

Disney World - went once with friends, hated it, won’t go back

things I “have” to see

Lachine Canal and Marche Atwater, home away from home!

Lachine Canal and Marche Atwater, home away from home!

Favorite places continued...the road West

Favorite places continued...the road West