Wanderlust…

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had a wanderlust I can’t explain. Maybe it started because we moved around a lot when I was a kid. I know not everyone in my family loved that, but to me, it was fun. A new house to explore, new friends to make, new restaurants to try, a new school to navigate. Not that it was always easy. As a matter of fact, fifth grade was downright hard. It was my fifth school in as many years. I had actually been home schooled for 4th grade so my mom and I could travel with my dad (now that was awesome!), so trying to fit into a school where all the kids had been together since kindergarten was challenging. I found my place, though, with the pigeon-toed girl with the coke-bottle glasses, the girl from the trailer park and the girl with the sideburns. I’ve lost track of the first two, but the girl with the sideburns no longer has said sideburns — she’s quite a beautiful up-and-coming opera singer.

But I digress…

Top of the Empire State Building on my first trip to NYC at 17

As a preteen it was all I could do to keep from bursting with the anticipation of my first trip to NYC, which wouldn’t come until I was 17 years old. That was a long, tortuous wait. But at 18, my parents loaded up our car and drove me 900 miles from Atlanta to NYC so I could begin my college education. Finally! I was a New Yorker!!

Here I am in Portugal, at the top of some medieval castle

I met a guy who was from Portugal, and every summer my dad would pay for me to fly over to spend 2-3 months with his family and explore the beautiful country. I do lament that I had my head so far up my a$$ over this guy that I never really enjoyed it as I should have. Frankly, I complained a lot that he wasn’t attentive enough to me. Ugh. Young love. But still, it was an opportunity that few get, and even though I wasn’t as grateful as I should have been then, I’m grateful now for the experience. And I know that I’m a better person because of it.

When I met Eric, we were both pretty broke college students. And we would be broke for a looooong time. Ha! But we still found ways to travel, to move, to adventure. Even trips-gone-wrong turned into great memories. Like the time we were supposed to fly to Florida for a long weekend, but the snow cancelled our flight, so we rented a car and headed for a B&B in Vermont instead. For hours we hung our heads out the windows of the car, trying to see the road through the onslaught of snow! It was scary, and needless to say, we didn’t make it to Vermont. Instead, we ended up near Holy Oak, Mass, at a Motel 6, where the hotel staff shared their chili with us and we went swimming in our clothes in the indoor pool.

One of the thousands of pictures we took in London

One of my favorite trips of all time was to London five years ago. We watched the London episode of The Bachelorette the other night, and I was almost in tears remembering the amazing time we had there. I can’t wait to go back and discover more of what that incredible city has to offer.

My all-time favorite non-touristy trip was to Sandals this past February in Great Exuma, Bahamas. Wow. So incredibly beautiful. So much so actually, that in September, we’re moving closer to it! That’s right — we’re off on another adventure all because of a week spent in the Bahamas. And once we’re settled there and saving lots of money as a result of moving OUT of NYC, we’ll be off and running again, putting pins in our map of places we want to visit around the world.

We’ll be moving near to here soon…paradise awaits!

Speaking of pins…Pinterest makes it easy for me to keep track of all the awesome places I want to visit or have visited already. Here’s the link to my Favorite Places & Spaces board, if you want to see where I want to go.

But what about you? Do you love to travel? Do you embrace change, spontaneity and adventure? Or do you prefer to stay rooted in the familiar? What are some of your favorite places to visit or your most memorable trips?

Adventures in Montreal…

Well, we’re finally here, and I’m finally settled enough to sit down and write a blog…for the first time in a couple weeks! Preparing for a trip is a nightmare for me, so most things get put on hold while I contemplate things like packing and travel arrangements.

But now I’m here! And it’s wonderful! The baby is with Grandma and Grandpa, so I’m free to live in my own little (Regency) world for a few days.

Since it was cold and rainy yesterday, I spent most of the day in my hotel room, staring out at the rain while reading Regency Christmas stories for the upcoming Danby Christmas Summons anthologies. To say these stories are putting me in the mood (and by mood I mean Regency mood…get your mind out of the gutter!!) would be an understatement. I’ve felt so whimsical and romantic these last couple days – a feeling I don’t get to feel very often with a 20-month-old underfoot at home.

Last night, I donned my new empire waisted top, (all flowy and chiffon-y, but cut to make “the girls” look like a million bucks) and I couldn’t help but think of myself as a Regency heroine, mingling at the ball, dining with handsome lords, but having eyes for only one, of course 😉 I ate too much and drank just enough to make me say something scandalous. Okay, fine…almost everything out of my mouth was scandalous. I know, I’m such a rebel.

I woke up this morning after a great night’s sleep and decided, since it was a beautiful sunny day, to venture out into Montreal. Now, I’ve been here twice before, but we always stayed in Old Montreal, which I know pretty well. This year, we’re downtown. And I know nothing about downtown. Still, I was pretty confident in my navigational abilities as I set out on my walk.

I crossed the street toward the restaurant we went to last night and kept going, reading menus and window shopping along the way. I came to a cafe, but I wasn’t ready to sit and have another coffee, so I turned right toward what looked like a park. It was! I found the fountain in the middle and nestled onto a bench in the sunshine, opened my iPad and began to read the next story on my list. And that’s when the fun began…

The smoke of a particular herb wafted my way and enveloped me in its skunky goodness. I looked to my left and saw the culprits – two middle-aged men, totally strung out, toting that joint like there was no tomorrow. The older of the two departed for another bench where another middle aged man and a middle aged woman joined in the fun, while the younger man stayed near me. He walked around the fountain, stared into it as if it held all the answers to the meaning of life, took his shirt off, put it back on, took it off again…you get the picture.

And then, just as a gaggle of nursery school children came through the courtyard, tethered to their teachers, the police arrived. They left my weird-o guy alone, but the other three were thoroughly searched, cuffed and carted off. With the police gone and the strung-out guy still hanging around, I decided it was time for me to go.

So I exited the other side of the park and started walking…and walking…and walking…

Until I was certain I had no idea where I was. I didn’t have the convenience of 3G, either, since it would cost me $15/minute on data roaming, so I just had to keep walking.

I passed by some exciting things, like this cupcakery, which NYCupcakeGuide will certainly return to for tasting purposes. And some not-so-exciting things, like construction and slums.

But then, at last, like a shining beacon in the darkness (except it was broad daylight), I saw a map! Just a random map on the edge of the sidewalk with a large red arrow that said “Vous etes ici.” Okay, it didn’t really say that, but I figured that’s what it meant.

After carefully studying it for a few minutes, heading off confidently and then turning back once more to make sure I should be confident in my confidence, I turned left at the next street, walked a block or two and VOILA! Behold, the cafe I had passed more than an hour earlier, right near the hotel. Not only did they have coffee, but they had a bathroom, which I needed desperately.

Finally, I was able to return to the Regency Christmas story I was reading. *sigh*

I hope to have more adventures to report tomorrow!