This is the season when most sane (or insane) Americans are On Vacation.
School’s out, the weather’s warming, plans have been made for sandy toes and long flights, Disney days or camping nights.
I’ve been on vacation as well — from blogging. My new Oysterville Life is full and fulfilling, but as a wise Oysterman pointed out to me, “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.”
It’s not so bad.
Everything I want to do includes world travel, writing my memoir/novel/website/blog, processing seven years’ worth of travel photos and setting up a portfolio site, seeing my family in California or even friends in Seattle, and planting a garden of more than radishes and weeds.
Everything I have done includes planting a garden of radishes and weeds, taking care of my Mama, who is now gone, and trying to be a good partner in business and life with that wise Oysterman. But it also includes some writing (memoir and now blogging, it seems), processing a few photos and seeing family and friends that are willing to travel to Oysterville. And because j’insist, it still includes a higher-than-average amount of world travel.
But for me, travel hasn’t necessarily meant vacation. Because we need to squeeze our trips into a few short weeks of winter (we operate a seasonal seafood market and oyster farm), I have tended to plan whirl-windy visits to places I’ve wanted to see (Barcelona, Iceland, Italy) and share (Paris, Paris and Paris). Tight schedules make for full itineraries, and I admit I’ll try to wedge a week’s worth of sightseeing into 36 hours. (To be fair, winter days are shorter.)
Noontime in Iceland in winter.
Our relationship did survive walking (what seemed like) the whole of Paris in three short days, but I’ve had to make a promise never to be such a taskmaster again.
So while I loved the Paris Christmas carnival and Barcelona’s Mercado de La Boqueria, this January we tossed aside the itinerary for a long respite on the other side of the world — 10 days in Bali.
First (toe) dip in the Indian Ocean.
We swam in the rain. We slept on a screen porch and woke up to monkey calls. He caught up on a year’s worth of news magazines. I had a flower bath and ditched my hair dryer.
We vacated. We vacated so hard that I have not once since felt the urge (yet) to plan a winter trip.
Our bed for 10 days….
As we were on our way to the airport in January, to fly first to San Francisco, then Seoul, then Denpasar, Dan asked me if it was better to roam the world, or to create a life that you weren’t anxious to get away from.
I realized that yes, I once did want to escape my loneliness and trauma and embrace the liberty of being able to go anywhere at any time without accountability or compromise. But all of my journeys — to the jungles and urban jungles of India, the mosques and bazaars of Istanbul, even just driving solo through the Florida Keys, have suffused my life with such richness that it’s only whetted my appetite to go everywhere, eat everything, and meet everyone (and write about it all).
Traffic jam in Delhi (bicycle rickshaw ride on the Chandni Chowk).
Traffic jam in Oysterville (elk on the tideflats).
I’m finally living a life I don’t want to escape from, with a partner who keeps me grounded — but who now shares my travel passion. And while I’ll be focusing more on trips that involve relaxation and respite, vacation can still include a little adventure….
Bali in monsoon season!
While summer-season travels are on hold until, a) Dan can find someone who knows where all of his oysters are, and b) I can find someone who knows where all my files are, we’ll continue to take advantage of the benefits of the off-season — better pricing and availability and less turistas (though never less monkeys). I think it’s time to plan our next journey trip vacation.
How many monkeys is too many?