Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Controlled Wanderlust

by Lisa Hughey

I love to travel. I would guess most writers do. Our experiential toolbox can only be enhanced by visiting other places and absorbing the texture and color and scents and quirks of somewhere different.

I'm a planner. Before I visit a new place, I buy at least three travel books on the area. My new favorite is Lonely Planet for their varied and unusual information. I visit Yelp and Trip Advisor and read reviews of hotels and restaurants and tourist destinations and off-the-beaten-path places.

I research the historical monuments and museums and places of signicance. I try to absorb as much information as possible so that when I visit I know where I want to go and what I want to see. Not that I plan out every moment. Far from it. The fun is in the journey, not just the destination. I know the places I absolutely don't want to miss and I make sure I get to see them.

Stone Circle in Ireland

I know exactly where I want to stay. I'm big on walking so I try to stay right in the thick of things. It costs a little more but I don't waste time getting stuck in traffic and finding parking because I can just walk out the door of my hotel and get going.

Or a remote house in a village where we can enjoy nature.

Ballyvolane House in Castlelyons, Ireland

I plan what restaurants I want to visit. Because the food of an area is as culturally based and different as the dialect and the geography.

Although yes, I have a thing for five-star restaurants, I can't afford to indulge often. The food doesn't have to be expensive. A muffaletta dripping with oil from the olive spread at the Central Grocery in New Orleans. Vegetable soup and freshly baked brown bread with a pint of Guiness in any Pub in Ireland. A sandwich du Jambon et Fromage from a cafe in Paris.

An inlet in Gloucester, Massachusetts

Lobster rolls on Cape Ann. A fully loaded Dog in Chicago.

Reading Terminal in Philadelphia

Cheesesteaks in Philly. Blue Crab Cakes in Baltimore(jeez I'm getting hungry :))

My absolute fantasy, and believe me I've already started tenative research, is after my kids are grown and gone, I will join a house-swapping website and spend half my time living in other places around the world. The beauty of my dream is that with the internet, I'll be able to keep in touch with my friends and kids as well as indulge my wanderlust. But I'll be sure to be home for the holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving and Blessings to all of our followers!!!


L.G.C. Smith said...

You're like Sophie's and my fathers! Plus, you take your kids whenever you can, and give them the benefit of your knowledge and planning.

Love your photos in this post. The Reading Terminal Market brings back such memories. Sticky buns. Funnel cakes (I don't like them, but they smell good). Blueberries. Being grossed out by scrapple just to annoy my mother-in-law. Ah. The infelicities of youth wrapped up in a travel memory. :)

Sophie Littlefield said...

ohhhh the reading terminal! the high point of my 2 years in philly.

i think the house-share would be so much fun. every single one of your photos made me want to be there - with my laptop, of course. writing, eating, and walking make for a perfect day. :)

Rachael Herron said...

I love planning. I think it's sometimes almost as much fun as the trip itself. And you know what? I've never had a lobster roll and I'm DYING for one.

Lisa Hughey said...

LGC--I hope my kids get something out of the travel. And Reading Terminal was fun. :)

Soph--we're doing it. I swear. This is an integral part of my life plan after the kids are gone.

Rachael--Lobster rolls are fabulous. all they are is spongy white rolls, not even super great ones, but the filling...claw meat and mayonnaise, maybe a little salt and pepper. super sweet chunks of lobster and mayo. seriously, you can't get any better than that. :)

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