wasting bandwidth since 1999

Some Random Thoughts on Travel

Welcome to Iceland

Just one more post on this topic before moving on to other things…

I started traveling very early in life. About six months after I was born, I found myself about a thousand miles away, although I really don’t remember anything about that particular trip. And that was just the start.

My dad was an officer in the cold war-era Air Force for the first two decades of my life and we moved around. A lot. I started my formal education in England and never stayed in any one school for more than two years.

That really wasn’t unusual in the community of military kids from that time. And, as a result, most of us learned very quickly the need to observe, listen, and be curious. All of those skills are also excellent for getting the most out of travel in general, no matter where you decide to go.

In my opinion, there are only three types of travel: recreation, family/friends, and curiosity. You also hear people talk about “business travel” but that doesn’t count for this discussion. Business travel is really nothing more than work done somewhere else.

Of course, no trip is necessarily going to fit exclusively into one of those categories. We often have multiple reasons for going somewhere.1 When I attended conferences and workshops (usually paid in part by the district), I always carved out time away from the work involved to explore the city outside of the meeting spaces.

In the past decade of so, I’ve also read and seen a lot about “food travel”, although searching for that “magical” meal experience in a new area of the world is probably one part recreation, one part curiosity.

It also doesn’t appeal to my sense of travel. I’m no foodie and fancy meals are largely wasted on my palate. Instead of sitting for a long time in a restaurant, I’d rather explore a local market, watch the people, and eat from the street vendors. That is where you learn about the culture.

So, where to travel next?

I won’t be going very far in the next three or four months, but that’s by design. I’ve never liked summer travel especially when it involves flying. Crowded planes, congested destinations, and too many delays. We tried an Alaska cruise in the summer of 2018 and a canceled flight due to storms almost caused us to miss the boat.

However, meaningful travel doesn’t require going long distances to exotic locations. We have plenty of interesting things to explore within a short drive from DC. I already have three unique, close-by experiences lined up for the summer and I’m always looking for more.

In the fall, we’ll be returning to Arizona for some family and friends time, mixed with plenty of curiosity-based side trips. I also want to get back to New York (just a short train ride up the coast) and the fall will be a great time to explore more of the fascinating corners of that city.

As for international travel, our next trip will come after the first of the year. While we had no major issues with our Iceland trip, travel outside the US, especially involving multiple countries, is still too complicated, including a patchwork of COVID testing requirements. I’m hoping the process will smooth out a little in six to nine months. I can always hope.

And that’s enough rambling about travel for now. Time to get back to regular life while still dreaming about far-away places.

The picture is a sculpture seen as we left the arrivals area at Keflavik Airport in Iceland. One of the more interesting airport art pieces I’ve seen.

1. Although I am really crappy when it comes to recreational travel. Sitting on a beach doesn’t sound like fun and a cruise with “at sea” days is my idea of a nightmare.


  1. Doug Johnson

    Much of your post resonated with me. (Not the growing up part – I lived on the same farm until graduating from high school.) One thing you might want to consider regarding “recreational” travel is doing a favorite activity like hiking or bicycling. I am not a cruise ship fan nor beach sitter either, but I do love seeing countries in slow motion from hiking trails and bike paths. Heading to the Netherlands and Belgium for a Boat/Bike trip this week, in fact. Something to consider.

    • tim

      You and I probably view a hike in different ways. I prefer urban hikes to those outside the city and I still see them as curiosity travel rather than recreation. But even in the wilds, I will certainly have my camera in hand and looking for animals, great views, and any kind of oddities I can find to shoot.

      We had a trip to the Netherlands booked for the spring of 2020 and I’m hoping to finally get there soon. Have a great time and I’ll look for your posts and pictures.

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