Travel Reflections From An Armchair Wanderluster

I am delighted introduce you to Glynis Valenti, who has graciously agreed to share this wonderful article as my very first Guest Post (it’s purely coincidence that I’m also mentioned in the article).  Glynis has a way with words.  Her writing, in combination with her photographs, work together to weave beautiful, introspective stories that invoke emotion, yearning and connection.  This powerful combination is beautifully illustrated in the article below about Wanderlust, something that resonates with me, and I suspect will be meaningful to many of my fellow RVers.  This article originally appeared in Times Leader on Sunday, March 15, 2015.

 

Maybe it’s the winter. Maybe it’s that I feel so isolated where I live. Maybe it’s in my blood, but I seem to have a case of wanderlust.

Before the trip out west in November, my only excursion out of state in the last four and a half years was a long weekend at a friend’s house in Florida in January 2013. During the cold dark days between New Year’s and Presidents Day, I’ve hibernated, the saving grace being that the daylight lengthened ever so slowly. Now I’m feeling antsy.

wander_03When I was growing up my family traveled on vacations and weekend trips. If we didn’t go away, we usually at least went for a Sunday afternoon drive and picnic. One President’s Day weekend my parents made plans to go up to Ithaca, New York to visit friends. We left sunny Painesville, but reached cloudy, colder weather by Erie, PA. Then it started to snow, and as we neared the Finger Lakes area cars were sliding off the freeway. My father bought chains for the tires, and we moved on.

After plowing up a hill littered with stalled vehicles, my father found the only hotel in a rural town and booked a room. The police had closed the roads, and we were fortunate to have a place to stay. There was a small mom and pop store across the street that stayed open because the owners couldn’t get home. We thought we might get out the next day, but apparently this was a freak snowstorm, and roads remained closed as heavy equipment literally cut lanes through several feet of snow. Finally on Monday we reached Ithaca.

A friend of mine is an avid RV enthusiast, so much so that she’s started a new blog, CUontheRoad.net, about her family’s adventures. Reading her posts revived memories about boating with my family on Mosquito Lake and numerous trips to Niagara Falls, Watkins Glen and the Finger Lakes. She thinks I should buy an RV and do some traveling again. I do have a tent and thought about taking a weekend jaunt somewhere, but 2014 wasn’t the year for that.

I’m reading “The Road to Burgundy” by Ray Walker. I have been to Burgundy, and can picture the places in the book: Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-Saint-Denis, Romanee-Conti. We were there in October 1994 and out wine tasting. As I took photos along a quiet street, a van of men wearing costumes (clown, bearded lady, pirate) came blasting around a corner. They stopped right in front of me and asked, “Photographie [photograph]?”

“Oui,” I replied and snapped a couple of shots of their grinning mugs. Off they buzzed around the next corner, a wake of hearty laughter wafting behind them. You won’t find that in a Fodor’s guide.

My belongings from Oregon are in the basement, and I look through books I shipped back–all about other places: “Village in the Vaucluse,” “Journey to Portugal,” “The Wine Roads of Europe.” I think I’ve read all of Peter Mayles’ books about Provence. Obviously what I’m feeling isn’t just cabin fever.

wander_02If money were no object and I were able to travel beyond my armchair, where would I go? Would I rent—or buy—some sort of recreational vehicle and take a back-roads loop around the United States? Would I go to France and visit the western part of the country, i.e. Bordeaux and Brittany? I’d like to explore Italy, especially the coast, Tuscany, Umbria and Sicily.  I could visit several friends in Hawaii. I’ve always wanted to travel the UK since my grandfather’s family is rooted in England and Scotland.

Or I could return to my old favorites, New York City, Toronto and Washington, D.C., for museums and shopping. My first trip to NYC was a mystery date. My boyfriend at the time (later my husband) asked me to keep a particular Saturday free. I was stunned when, the night before, he said he would be picking me up for the early flight to the City, and we would spend the day there. He was my tour guide for breakfast at Grand Central, a Yankee game, dinner at the South St. Seaport and picking up the return airport bus from the World Trade Center. We made regular trips after that.

Again, maybe it’s the winter, but I have an anxious feeling that there is too much to do in little time. I can read about any place, but it doesn’t satisfy the craving for experiencing. A favorite excerpt from “Spoon River Anthology” is a lament from George Gray. He ponders the carving on his tombstone, a boat nestled in a safe harbor, as not his destination, but his life: never taking chances, never experiencing, wanting to leave the harbor but too afraid to set sail.

I read, I think, I write from the safe harbor of my living room. Remembering with affection these foreign places and good times sparks a sense of gratitude and also of curiosity–not in a “hey, the grass is greener over there” sort of way, but generating an intrusive “I wonder what would happen if” restlessness. Just like spring fever, it appears wanderlust is back, and it’s holding a passport ready for the cure.

 

About Glynis:

Glynis Valenti’s twisting and turning path has taken her through cities, suburbs, beaches and farmland, usually with a camera in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. She is currently a lifestyles, food and wine writer/photographer for an Ohio Valley newspaper. In Oregon she was an artist and freelance photographer and writer. Her wine education began over 20 years ago and continues to this day. It has encompassed wine collecting, conducting wine tastings for private parties and public events, and selling wine in her wine shop/gallery and for a California-based distributor.   You can follow Glynis’ weekly wine picks and nourishment for the mind, body and soul in her blog www.artsoulwine.com.

Coming Soon:

Look for a collaboration between Glynis and Chris on an article about wine, travel and Harvest Hosts.

 

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3 Comments

  • Reply Bill Miller April 23, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    Very interesting both the story and the meeting…

    • Reply Chris Hughes April 24, 2015 at 8:02 am

      Thank you so much!!!! She is a great writer.

  • Reply 5 Day Black and White Photo Challenge (Day 5) – CU On The Road May 16, 2015 at 7:55 am

    […] and I immediate connected due to our shared love of travel, photography, and family.  Glynis was a my very first Guest Blogger and we collaborated on an article about my Harvest Hosts stay at Adams County Winery in Gettysburg, […]

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