My past experiences as a “cruiser” have provided a fantasy for living life the “easy way” in materialistic overindulgence. Although I appreciate the well-organized script to provide endless food, luxury shopping, and pleasing entertainment through such escape, I must face the truth that such pampering basically does not really suit me. Do I really need to grab a fancy tube of “Go Smile” fresh mints conveniently posted outside each restaurant to conclude my latest dining experience? Is it desirable for me to watch five, eager servers reconfigure my lounge chair with a fitted mat and pillow while I am attempting to leisurely watch the nighttime movie on deck? Do I really need to hear musicians that I don’t really care for (Perry Como and Dean Martin) over the loudspeaker at breakfast when I would prefer reading the newspaper in silence?
Ironically, I seem to enjoy the challenge of facing my imperfect world of urban edginess in South Florida. While the tourist season will undoubtedly bring the annual invasion of “snowbirds” to my community each day, I try to cope with seasonal price gouging and impending traffic gridlock by slowing down to meditate faithfully in yoga class or relax quietly in my neighborhood park overlooking a serene lake. In the meantime, being at home provides ample spare time to plan suitable itineraries for our upcoming vacations.
My mind today focuses on the next travel plan for 2017. From March through mid June, my wife and will embark from our Fort Lauderdale home on our third road trip across America. This journey will also include a one-month, apartment rental in Morro Bay, California as well as a ten day tour of India. As is our norm, close friends/family will make our vacation more pleasurable this year and save us money. My best friend’s younger brother, Tommy and his wife, Jennyin Thousand Oaks, California have kindly given us permission to leave our personal car in their driveway while we tour India. Sharing treasured memories about loved ones will no doubt be on the docket in a brief visit to my wife’s close cousin, Andi in McKinney, Texas. Ample opportunities for global conversations seem certain in visiting our ex-neighbor Tina in Boise , Idaho. Offering the wisdom of a godfatherly presence to our “wish we had” daughter, Nicole, in Lincoln Nebraska will further brighten our spirit in this marathon adventure.
On a personal level, I will enjoy the challenge of studying living history in crossing our country this spring.Passing through small towns in America’s heartland, I seek museums of Route 66 memorabilia. Crossing mountain passes, I will keep my eyes out for historical markers of the Pony Express and Oregon Trails. Attending a Dodger, Giant, or A’s baseball game bodes well for experiencing the relaxed nostalgia of the “grand old game.”
In these troubled times of terrorism, I realize that there are those who believe that our country is under attack both at home and abroad. I sincerely hope that Donald Trump’s determination to escalate tensions over this issue will not jeopardize my freedom of travel in the future. I should not be forced to make a choice between patriotic isolation and global awareness and I should never find reason to wall myself” off from others in cynical fear of cultural difference or political dispute. Thus, in continuing to act with a spirit of unity and goodwill to all peoples this year, I have revealed my final theme for retaining travel normalcy.