Tuesday, October 2, 2012

More Random Musings From A Committed Nomad

Summer Is Over - Now What?

It's official, Friday, September 21, 2012 was the last official day of summer. Why do we love summer? The reasons are endless. School's out. The weather's great. It's ok to wear shorts. It's ok for girls to wear short shorts! Kid's hang out. Parents send kids to camp. Baseball. Mom and dad finally squeeze in that  romantic long weekend to their favorite little place. All the rock bands, big and small are on tour. And summer blockbusters are on the big screen. But the real reason we love summer? Vacations! One of my favorite professors in architecture school  told me that ALL people MUST take vacations to ensure physical and mental well being. Maybe you can finally take that long dreamed of trip of a lifetime to some far away place that you have only read about or seen in the movies. For others it's that annual trek to the lake or the beach to reconnect with people you only see during the summer to renew old relationships and foster new ones. Still others pack up themselves and their clan and take a road trip to discover another corner of the good old USA. Summer really is the Nomad's favorite season. I mean, let's face it. How many "travel" memories do you have in February?

Now that the long days of summer are growing shorter, our attention turns back to the reality of life. Work. School. Homework. To Do Lists. Leaves. Finally, because of all that fun stuff you did all summer, there just ain't no money! Yes, the grindstone of life beckons us back from the days of summer. Yes, fellow Nomads - Summer is over. Now what? In another installment of Random Musings from a Committed Nomad, let me offer some suggestions for activities and amusements to keep hope alive for Nomad's of every ilk.

The Nomad Architect's Cure for The Post Summertime Travelin' Blues

The following prescriptions for the Blue Nomad should be taken with an ample dose of bruschetta and gorgonzola  and washed down with a nice, inexpensive Pinot Noir at precisely 55 °F. Ponder as you will:
  • Dream. That's right dream. Take this time between now and the holidays to dream about future treks into the unknown. Let your imagination run wild and imagine yourself at that special place you have always wanted to go. All travel begins with a vision of you and yours lazing in the afternoon on the French Riviera or waking up with the whales on Puget Sound. 
  • Plan. Step two for the Nomad who makes dreams come true. With all of the tools at the disposal of the committed traveler, planning a trip is the next best thing to actually taking the plunge. The internet, travel books, TV shows and other travelers' opinions about places far and wide should be used when planning your itinerary. Just click on the Design Tab above to see various lists of websites, books, etc. to assist you in planning the perfect travel adventure
  • Listen. One great thing about Fall is the release of new music by bands and performers, both established and independent. In just the last few weeks new projects have been released by Bonnie Raitt, Diana Krall and Dwight Yokum, just to name a few. Why is this important you ask? Maybe its just me, but, of all the arts, none can improve my day or my outlook like great music. I remember exactly where I was the first time I heard The Kinks' "You Really Got Me" or Dave Brubeck's "Take Five". So get some new music and slip on the headphones while you're searching the web for the next cool place. It makes it more enjoyable and its a lot cheaper than round trip tickets to Madrid.
  • Think. This activity goes hand in hand with dreaming, but involves more practical matters like - How do we actually get to that camp on the northern side of Nova Scotia? or - Is it possible to live on $50  a day in Estonia like they claim in those bargain bin travel books?
  • Read. Read, Read. Read. And then  read some more. Nothing can prepare you for your next big and excellent adventure like reading about the places, people and culture of the next country or region you plan to visit. In addition to  the latest Rick Steves or Lonely Planet, read books that actually take you there. A Year In Provence, by Peter Mayle, prepared us for the vibe, the people and their ways in that enchanted region of France. Under The Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes, gave us insight into the beauty and people of this slower part of Italy. The movie, starring Diane Lane, is worth the price too. I am currently reading A Year In The World, also by Mayes, for our trip across the pond to Spain and Portugal next year. And of course, I will reread Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises to bring the magic and mystery of Spain into focus.
  • Write. I started this blog because it helps validate my thoughts about travel experiences I have enjoyed with my wife and kids. I highly recommend starting a travel journal long before you set sail. It helps you organize your thoughts and generate ideas for places to go and things to do. And most important, going back and reading what you thought or said or planned gives you a sense of your own personal history.
  • Go. Just because summer is gone doesn't mean you can't travel. We just returned from a great three day trip to a cool little boutique on Ormond Beach. If you want to check out my post just click here. Traveling in the Fall has many advantages. It's cooler, less crowded and, best of all, cheaper. So don't hibernate just yet.
  • Save. You can save for your future travels in two ways. One, establish and contribute to a savings plan to meet your next travel budget. Second, make an extensive list of places you can stay on the cheap. One thing I have learned through years of travel is that, if you do your homework, you can find that special place without that special price. They are always off the beaten path and you have to put in the time, but they are there. There are web sites that contain hundreds of interesting B&B's, small hotels, rooms, apartments and houses for the frugal Nomad. My next post will focus on budget travel, so stay tuned.
  • Enjoy. For some, it's football. There really is nothing quite like an autumn afternoon at Florida State, Clemson or Auburn to understand the real reason we even have Fall. For others, its just the crisp, cool weather. Here in God's country, its about walking and biking in the afternoon or early morning to do all that dreaming, planning, listening and thinking about the architecture of Antonio Gaudi and the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, the bullfights in Madrid or the Flamenco of Andalusia. Plus, you can talk to yourself and/or your fellow walker/bicyclist without being interrupted.
And finally, this time of year prepares us for the real joy of the holidays when we can gather with the ones we love and talk about all those things we did over the summer. We Nomads can temporarily drop anchor and enjoy what's really important as we dream and scheme our next move.
Happy Trails
D.L. Stafford
Travel Quote of The Week - “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving." -    Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld, #32)
Video Artist of The Week - Marcus Roberts. A Jacksonville native and Florida State alumnus, this accomplished jazz pianist attended the same Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in Saint Augustine, Florida  as the great Ray Charles. His interpretations of Monk, Ellington and Gershwin are without peer.


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