My Tea with T. page is going to be relatively silent for a couple of weeks as I am off and running again, doing more travel and having more adventures this summer than ever before in my life. No, seriously! 50 years of inertia and I now have a suitcase and carry-on bag that suffer from road-rash. And a bit of international road-rash, at that. I’ve just returned from the unbelievable gift of a birthday trip to Vancouver, B.C. and various points in Alaska and I’m now on my way to San Diego for Comic-Con… which, I believe should be equivalent to intergalactic travel (for which I’d like a stamp in my new passport, thank you) what with all of the Stormtroopers, Superheroes and alien attendees. And next week? I will be in Spain.
[Gah. Forgive me. I had to pause myself and re-read what I just typed. I will be in Spain. Still, not real.]
For years, my most exiting travel took place only in my mind. A lot of it fueled by the books I was reading. When I was 12 years old,
I went to New York to visit Francie Nolan and her brother Neeley in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Immediately after, courtesy of the same author, Betty Smith, I went to Ireland in her book Maggie Now. Around the same time, I toured Holland in The Dutch Boy and the Dike and experienced my first snow, thanks to Zlateh the Goat, in some unnamed land (which prepared me for REAL snow in Sequim, Washington many years later), as laid out by Isaac Bashevis Singer. To truly head out and travel now, after decades of only doing so by fingertip-to-pages, is to finally see, hear, smell, touch and taste the places I’ve only visited in my imagination. It blows my mind that about this time next week, I am going to be sitting on a stool in Ernest Hemmingway’s beloved Cerveceria Alemana in Madrid then take myself for a leisurely stroll around the Plaza Mayor. My heart can hardly stand it.
Back in 1996 my mother-in-law came to live with us, having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I’d watch her spend hours upon days upon weeks sitting in the corner of the living room sofa reading paperback novels. As soon as one was finished, she’d grab another and start all over again, sometimes reading favorites multiple times. I begged her to get off of the couch and go somewhere, anywhere, before the pages on the calendar could not be retrieved. She insisted it was not necessary, because everywhere she’d ever want to go she’d already been… in a book.
Last year, I was given a passport application as a gift from my Viking Beau – who decided I needed to see the world (or, perhaps, just get out of my head) and he saw to it that my first two passport stamps were London and Paris. These past 18 months, I feel as though I’ve been living somebody else’s life, out of my suitcase. It has been busy, but it has also been incredible.
So, my sweet friends -- for a couple of weeks my Tea with T. page will be quiet. But, when I get back? I hope to be able to quote Oscar Wilde when he said, “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” Or ship. Or plane. Or automobile. I promise to share, when I return.
“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag