Daily life Part 6 – Vacation

Sketch by Theresa Barker.

When I was a kid my family did not take vacations, or if we did we might travel to see family who lived in another state.  My grandparents lived in Arizona where my parents grew up (they were University of Arizona alums, go Wildcats!).  I seem to remember a lot of road trips from Seattle to Arizona as a child, though we probably only drove to and from there a few times (1200 miles, 20 hours of driving each way).  A couple of memorable times we went to Southern California instead, to visit family who lived in the Los Angeles area; I remember once traveling by train, in the 1960s, that seemed like a magical way to travel.

But we didn’t have a lot of money in those days – who did? – and so we usually went by car.  Staying in an inexpensive motel was a treat.  Sometimes they even had a pool!  There was nothing like the feeling of stumbling out of a hot car (no air conditioning!), pulling on our bathing suits, and plunging into the cool water of a small-motel pool.  I remember long days of sitting in the car trying to pass the time as we inched along the long black ribbons of highway between Washington and Arizona, reading Archie comic books over and over, or playing “auto-bingo” by spotting landscape features.

What I remember mostly from those long car trips is the planning – having to pack all up all the kids’ things as well as supplies for the trip and for our stay at our grandparents’ place – and also long days of passing desert sandstone formations that never seemed to change over long distances, even though it could only have been a day or two that we really saw those pink- and white- and tan-brown rock formations blitzing past us beside the highway. We seemed to see sand and sun and rocks for miles and miles and miles without a break.

There were happy reunion moments with my grandparents, who always loved seeing us, and lots of outdoor games with cousins who were close to our ages. But the sense of really being on vacation, of having leisure time to enjoy our travel and to see new sights, was not something I remember from those trips.

Perhaps that’s why I relish being away on vacation now as an adult.  I am grateful to have the time to travel, when I can.  It is such a joy to arrive in a new place and to take in the local sights and places. I try not to approach travel as having to “see everything,” but rather, I like to imagine that I really live in the place I’m visiting, even if it’s only for a few days.  What’s it like to go to the grocery store?  What does the air feel like first thing in the morning?  What is the slant of the sun late in the day and how does that make the street appear where I am staying?  Sometimes I imagine the location in a different season – winter, maybe, with snow, or during the rainy season.  What must it be like?

Recently my husband and I took a trip to Ashland, Oregon, for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF).  Have you ever been there?  Ashland is a small town near the Oregon-California border, in the Rogue River valley, a rural area in southwest Oregon.  The OSF is a huge attraction for school groups during the year, along with lots of tourists and visitors year-round.  The festival started back in the 1930s, and now it’s grown to encompass much more than Shakespeare; in the past I’ve seen a Checkov play and some modern plays, as well as Shakespeare both in a traditional production and in a modernized-setting production.  Jim and I hadn’t been here in several years – probably 15? – and we both loved the idea of seeing a few plays.  The town is small, so you can walk to restaurants and places to have ice cream, etc., when you’re not at the theater.

And at the theater:  the acting is amazing, and the sets and set design are always inventive.  It’s a repertory company that rotates through multiple plays in a few days, so that you can come and stay for 3-4 days and many plays in a single trip.

I try to keep in mind that the opportunity to travel and to see new places is truly a gift.  As many of you bloggers know, being able to experience another community is truly enriching.  While I am here, I don’t want to be “my old self,” the one who takes everything for granted; I want to be the person who seizes on new sights and uncommon experiences.  I want to be that person who savors life on a different track than the one I’m used to!

Your turn

Pickles . . . relaxing. Photo by Theresa Barker.

What are your thoughts about vacation? Do you have a favorite vacation location, or do you like to move around?  Are you a busy traveler or one who sees only a few things at a time?  – Thanks for visiting!

Daily Life Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

32 thoughts on “Daily life Part 6 – Vacation

  1. Since we are only living here for a few years, we are quite busy visiting new to us areas. We do however, try to stay in one spot for awhile to really soak up a particular place a bit better. Honestly, it’s a bit of a balancing act. Also, it requires a lot of planing, I feel like I have a full time job in logistics.

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  2. Nice to read about your travels – so nice to get away and even nicer to get back home! 🙂 If I think of my childhood I usually think of myself in a car 😀 My father loved to travel and drove us many amazing places. My mother also was very sporting and once we went on a road trip with my sister only 6 months old and I was just over 3 years old and brother under 10! And I used to invariably fall sick on these trips so a visit to the doctor was mandatory but that didnt stop them! Great fun. Once my Dad ran out of petrol and we rolled down the hilly roads until we found some kind soul who shared the petrol. I was terrified I remember, plus I had a rash and lay on the back on the car 😀 Loads of super fun times – thanks for triggering those beautiful memories. 🙂

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    1. Oh, Dahlia, what a fun thing to share your memory of those awful-yet-exciting car trips! There is something about a road trip, where you can stop off anywhere, that seems to call to a lot of folks, especially fathers, huh? That reminds me, my husband decided we needed to go on a trip to see the Grand Canyon (in Arizona) just after our daughter was born. She was only 4 months old when we flew from Seattle to Phoenix, then drove 4 HOURS to the park. It WAS beautiful, and it was off-season, so we avoided the crowds. But that 4 hour trip back by car with a 4-month old was exhausting…! Still, it was memorable! Thank you for sharing your memory! 🙂

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  3. It’s nice to read about your travel, Teresa. When Mercy was 3 years old, we took a road trip from California to Salem, Oregon to visit Mercy’s grandparents. We stopped by Trees of Mystery in California, visiting all the giant trees. We stopped by Ashland also and watched a Shakespeare play in the Amphitheatre, then we visited the Enchanted Forest in Oregon. Mercy had a good time running around.

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    1. Ooh! The Enchanted Forest sounds wonderful. I enjoy reading about your travel, Miriam, and your posts have inspired my post! 🙂 It’s so fun that we share a few things in common, even though we have only met through blogging. Thank you! 🙂

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    2. Miriam, I just wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude for your continual support and commenting on my writing. I know it takes time, and I also see how generous you are with your support to a great number of bloggers in the community, and I just want you to know – thank you. 🙂 I consider it a great gift to hear your thoughts on my writing. 🙂

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      1. You’re so kind, Teresa. I like interactions and communication. I know that some bloggers only post but don’t visit or comment, but I do enjoyment reading as many posts as I could and comment. I feel like making friends here! I appreciate your reading and comment on my posts also. It makes me feel that I’m not talking to the air.

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      2. Yes, I was just telling my daughter that a group that I’ve been going for 28 years, they’ve seen me going through different challenges such as cancer, even when I get to the group late, someone would get up from the couch to give me the seat so that I could elevate my leg. It’s almost like home!

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      3. Yes, according to Times magazine research and interview around the world for people over 100 years old, community support is one of the elements for longevity. It doesn’t mean that I want to love beyond 100… 🙂 🙂

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  4. This is a lovely post, Theresa. The OSF sounds like so much fun!! I have never been to Oregon myself, but I hope to visit sometime. I have always enjoyed going on vacations even if they involve long car rides; mostly because I get to spend time with my family. 🙂

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    1. Ah, thank you, Joy! It’s an interesting experience, being in a small town like Ashland but having these intense theater experiences. We had not been here for many years and decided, this year, would be good to come back and have the experience again. I didn’t quite realize how far OSF draws from; while we were there we met many folks from California or even Nevada who made the trip. (It’s only 15 minutes to the CA border, which I did not realize.) There was a whole party of people from the Bay Area, from Oakland, actually, and it was super-refreshing to see the diversity of playgoers in town while they were there.

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  5. It’s so interesting to hear that you trips as a kid involved mainly visiting your grandparents. I guess that is what you do for family, and I suppose part of the reason why was that your parents wanted to spend some time with their grandparents. This was quite similar to my childhood. I spent a lot of time in SIngapore, and during the school holidays my parents always insisted that we go across to nearby Malaysia by car to visit my grandparents. It was always the same thing each holiday – I was always restless, and wasn’t able to hang out with my school friends, and would always get carsick in the 6-7 hour car-rides that started at 5am in the morning from Singapore to Malaysia.

    Ashland, Oregon sounded like such a lovely getaway for you and your husband 🙂 These days holidays for me don’t come by too often due to work, but shorter trips to nearby places work well for me. LIke you on vacation, I like to leave behind my problems and just soak in what there is and feel who I can be. Sometimes it takes a different place and a change in routine to make us find what we’ve always been looking for.

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