I’m a creature of habit. I like to order the same things from menus and I make the same mistake multiple times.
Part of my daily routine is checking the Facebook “On This Day” feature when I wake up… and I can’t wait to make it past 2020.
Today in the life of me, per “On This Day”, I’ve historically had pretty decent days. I traditionally take my spring vacation around this time of year because the weather is usually beautiful in most places, less expensive and less crowds… and I’m usually on or very near water.
Last year, I spent the day looking at the Atlantic Ocean on the beach in Long Beach, New York. In 2018, I was on Jamaica’s north coast, lounging on a quiet beach in Rio Bueno, captivated by the Caribbean Sea. I sailed the Atlantic on a Disney cruise in 2016 with several friends and their children — because of this virus, I have no doubt that was the last cruise I’ll ever take.
2015 was the farthest I’d ever been away from home (headed west). I spent a week in Oahu and Maui exploring lush landscapes and taking in beautiful sunrises, magnificent sunsets on the North Pacific Ocean — and loving a black sand beach that touched Keawaiki Bay.
I flew to the northeastern coast of Spain in 2014 and loved every minute in Barcelona. I went after seeing a 60 Minutes piece on La Sagrada Familia. Gaudi everywhere. I sat and wrote while looking out at the Mediterranean…. drank sangria in a small restaurant on La Rambla, saw flamenco dancers at Tablao Flamenco Cordobes and bought saffron at Boqueria Market. I left Barcelona. And headed to Madrid… where I listened to jazz and had tequila shots. I left from Madrid to head to Lisbon. And so did, half of Spain.
Unbeknownst to me at the time of booking, I was arriving the same day as the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) Champions League Final played at Estadio da Luz in Lisbon. The match? Real Madrid versus Atletico Madrid. I know nothing about football (American or rest of the world version), but I got an education that weekend. It was amazing.
Europe’s westernmost capital city, it sits on the western Iberian Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and the River Tagus. I climbed steep hills, had sardines… and the famous custard tarts at Pasteis de Belem. Those tarts would’ve been worth the trip alone. Six years later and I’m still thinking about them.
In 2013, I flew to Rome, ate gelato while crossing Ponte Sant’Angelo over the Tiber in awe of Bernini’s angels on my way to the Vatican. I went by high-speed train to Florence and crossed the Arno via the Ponte Vecchio. I fell deeply in love with pesto and limoncino in Cinque Terre and walked off carbs near the Ligurian Sea in Manarola. I took another train, further north to Venice and crossed the Rialto over the Grand Canal. I took water taxis, had a romantic solo gondola ride on the edge of the Adriatic and waded through a flooded Piazza San Marco.
I was in Athens and Santorini in the spring of 2012. I arrived the day after the Olympic torch was handed over to the London organizers of the 2012 Summer Games. I spent a week in Oia, sipping champagne, eating a lot of risotto and peacefully looking out at the Aegean.
I walked along the Seine and took a dinner cruise with Black American ex-pats in 2011. Traveled to St. Louis and boarded the Tom Sawyer paddlewheel riverboat cruise on the Mississippi in 2010, a roadtrip to Connecticut in 2009 to see The Amistad on the Mystic River.
In May 2020, I would’ve been set to head out on a journey to the Canadian Rockies to travel by glass covered train to see bears coming out of hibernation…Banff, Lake Louise (to stay at the Fairmont Chateau with a perfect view of that mglacial lake), astrotourism in Jasper… I don’t know what traveling will look like in the future, but God willing… hope I can make this trip happen in 2022. I’m skipping 2021 altogether and letting my memories of days past and those still to come maintain me.
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