I’ve been watching a lot of “Gilmore girls” lately. I just finished watching all of season 6 (in less than a week) and am getting ready to embark on the ever-elusive season 7, which I’ve yet to see. This immersion into fictional Stars Hollow has made me want to visit New England, specifically small-town Connecticut, the seashore, old Boston and Cambridge. Now, despite loving the idea of travel, I really haven’t done much. I’ve been to South Carolina several times, mostly with my mom, mostly to visit my grandma and hang out playing Skip-Bo all day. The one time I was there for something different, I spent 95% of my time on Fripp Island and made one quick two-day visit to Charleston. Other than that, I’ve been to Europe once when I was too young to appreciate it and had everything set up by tour guides and my band teacher. I went to Cocoa Beach, Fla., with Mandy for spring break during college. I went with my mom and her boyfriend to Maine, New York and through New England in 1996. I drove out to Colorado with my youth group for a short conference in Fort Collins, Colo., in 2000. That’s pretty much it. Anything else has been pretty minor and short distance. Do I really have the gumption necessary to set off on a real live road trip?
I keep thinking about it and idealizing the ability to just pick up and go somewhere. I can’t imagine doing it without a shred of a plan, mostly because I’d hate to show up in every single place just a few days after some big, awesome event for which I should’ve been there. And, ideally, I can have a tentative, loosely bound plan that allows me to stop along the way and look up further details on my laptop before moving on. There are places I definitely want to visit, but I’m afraid I won’t get to enjoy them thoroughly if I’m constantly stressed about where I’m going next and how long I have before I need to be there. I just want to enjoy walking around Walden Pond, visiting Harvard’s campus in Cambridge, touring Cape Cod and the other seaside communities.
The more I think about New England, the more I remember how many other great places there are in the country, how I should venture farther south and visit D.C., Virginia, North Carolina. If I could take three months, I would go from Maine to North Carolina. Maybe I could do it all in less time, but I just don’t know. We’ll have to see. The beauty of playing it cool is that I could just say, “Hey, I’ll be done when I’m done, or when I think I’ve spent too much money.” So I could be gone for the month of June, or June through August, or June through October. That would be awesome. Unlikely, but awesome. I suppose if I fell in love with a place, I could stay there longer, but I could stand sleeping in my car for only so long.
Mostly, what I have to overcome is motivation. I have to get in my car and go that first day, but more than that, I have to get up early every day and take in everything I can. Unless the weather is really horrid, I need to go out rain or shine, stay on whatever schedule I’ve planned and take in everything I can while I can – how many more chances do we get to see the world? Maybe I could do this when I’m older, married, have vacation time saved up, but usually those vacations are more strictly planned. I want to be able to just take off and make a go of it without worrying about making it here, here and here in the week I have away from the office.
I’m going to e-mail my DU colleagues out east and see if they have suggestions. About.com is a pretty good source of things I have to see and do while I’m there. I’ll probably go to the library in the next couple days and see if I can find Frommer’s guides or other resources to look through.
Once I’ve done all that and let the excitement wane, I’ll see if it’s actually meant to be. I’ve gotten my hopes about things like this before – mostly about Colorado, right before I got my DU internship – and while it would be nice to find another job, I don’t want to put this idea on hold again. I figure, wherever I go, so long as it’s somewhere new, will be great. It could be Colorado, California, Canada or the Northeast. I know I’m not going abroad anytime soon, so at least I can limit it to the United States for now!