I just got home from NYC, but two weeks ago I was out in Arizona and California with Troy. I’ve always loved traveling alone but it’s a special treat to have Troy along … for going to eat, relaxing with beers, exploring, and driving long distances.
AZ was: visiting talented friends in Tucson and being treated to amazing food and homemade ice cream, walking Tucson’s college town streets and getting coffee there too, shooting a lovely wedding at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, and waking up to drive to CA the next day.
CA was: longer than AZ and hot and sunny the whole time, airstreams and vegan food at hippie cafes, archery and Joshua Tree, off-road sandy desert driving, hiking and picture-taking, Palm Springs and its magical wind turbines, the ACE (ummm, ack! am i the only one who hates this place? maybe because i was sick and the LA hipters were loud and many and everything felt so contrived?), mid-century modern architecture everywhere (awesome!), driving and more driving, getting crazy sick and not being able to eat anything (boo…), longing for home and Madison and it’s down-to-earthness and beauty and better temps.
Let me say that I enjoy overcast and 60s/low-70s. Some sun (with a breeze) mixed in there is nice, but you’ll be hard pressed to find me on any spring break style beach EVER … I dislike pools, swimming, and wearing sunglasses. I don’t think I’ll ever step foot in Miami. Give me a beach like Cannon Beach in Oregon … where I can wear a jacket and boots and read without stepping foot in the water even once. That’s my kind of life. So when I got severely sick and feverish for the last half of the trip … the heat and sun that I already don’t really love too much … seemed oppressive. Not to mention that eating on trips is my most favorite part of traveling … and all I could swallow were ice cubes, honey and yogurt. No bueno. Troy took care of me … gosh, I’m so glad he was along this time. He drove the car and everything … as the littlest things were too much for me.
Being a frequent traveler, I’ve fallen in love with certain cities to which I always want to return. They just feel like home now and I’m a creature of ritual. Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Brooklyn NYC — just let me cycle between them all the time. But I’m also, for the first time in forever, feeling like I’m settling INTO and not simply FOR Madison WI. It’s beautiful and green with all four seasons and talented people. We have gorgeous lakes and the best summer nights. There are enough coffee shops to get me through each week and our restaurants and businesses value what’s local and sustainable. People walk and bike and don’t look strange for doing so. While sometimes I feel the art and music scenes are lacking … I’m in an idyllic place in life where I can travel almost whenever and wherever my job takes me. And I have tons of people I love in the cities I love the most. Just enjoying the show, the ride, this time, these memories. For so many years I wanted to move … I missed my closest friends who moved year after every single year … but I’m starting, for the first time in almost 5 years again, to truly find my place in and love Madison. Which feels amazing.
The most memorable part of this specific trip for me was sitting with Troy in a hot tub on a star-gazing deck, with beers, late at night, in the middle of the desert. The CA stars never looked brighter than they did right then. And for a brief moment, everything — even being sicker than ever — felt perfectly right. Ooo, also, playing ping pong. I’m really good :)