I spend a lot of time looking at maps — world maps, US maps, state maps, road maps, national park maps, national trail maps, short-trail maps, loop trail maps. Maps.
I’ve never been much of a traveler — I always get sick whenever I’ve taken more than an hour airplane trip. Nor have I ever wanted to travel outside the United States. There is more here than I can ever see in a lifetime, especially since I prefer to see things on foot. I’ve mostly given up any idea of walking across the country or thru hiking one of the national trails, but there are hundreds, maybe thousands of trails in this country all for the taking. (And I can always walk pieces of the long trails. Have already hiked short sections of the Pacific Crest Trail, the California Coastal Trail, and the Oregon Coastal Trail.)
One trip I would like to make someday is a trip to Australia and New Zealand. Not only do close friends live there (friends I have yet to meet in person, but close for all that), but oh, the adventure of it! Going walkabout. Hiking some of the best trails in the world. Coastlines.
And another good friend who I plan to finally meet in person in a few months, has recently told me she is hypnotizing me by osmosis so I will join her on her overseas trip to Baku, Azerbiajan next year. It must be working. I’m looking at maps again. And one thing I noticed is that Baku is about a third of a way around the world. So are Australia and New Zealand.
I’ve been playing around with a trip planner site, one that helps plan complicated world trips. I started out with the US – Baku – Sydney – Dunedin – US. The trip planner kept telling me I could add certain other cities for the same cost. So now it reads: US – London – Oslo – Moscow – Baku – Bangkok – Sydney – Dunedin – US. (I don’t know where my Australian friend lives, maybe not Sydney, but I don’t need to know yet because this is all just a game.)
Would I ever do such a thing? I don’t know. I still like the idea of a freighter to New Zealand and Australia, and I hate the idea of all that air travel, to say nothing of being sick for months at a time while doing it, but to travel around the globe? What a romantic idea!
Meantime, I’m back to taking dance classes and planning a southern trip for this winter. Or rather, letting my friends plan it for me. It does my heart good to know that people are so excited to meet me, they are planning all sorts of delights to entice me. Camping trips. Night sky viewings (I am truly enamored of the idea of dark sky parks, where light pollution is at a minimum and the stars don’t have to compete with ambient light from distant cities). Canoing. Feasts. Friends.
If you live anywhere along Interstate 10 or within a hundred miles or so (since it will be winter, I don’t want to go very far north this trip) let me know, and I will add you to my itinerary.
People have called my redwood coastal trip an adventure of a lifetime, and it was, up to now. But there are other trips, other adventures — a lifetime of them.
And in between, there will be dance classes to bring balance to my life.
(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)