Twelve Trips [ 2006-01-04, 8:58 p.m. ]

One of the resolutions my husband and I made for 2006 was that we would leave the NYC area at least once a month. It's sort of a baby-steps commitment to making travel a priority in our lives, with the stipulation that much of the travel will be done via our little Celica. To claim that leaving the metropolitan area qualifies as "travel" makes us sound like creepy cocoon-people who live their lives in a 5-block radius, but the truth is that we don't leave the city much. When we leave, we usually quasi-travel: we go to California to visit my family or to Ohio to visit his, and only on occassion to we take a proper vacation. I went to Dallas for a wedding last year; Kent went to Wisconsin . We drove to DC, but for the most part, our car was used for shuttling the dog to the good dog park and driving to work on days when I can't find parking.

This is silly, we said last week, after all, we have a car and never go anywhere. We should go more places, we agreed. In the car! we decided.

We have lived in New York for almost ten years and I have no clue what is on Long Island or where Paramus is or what Scarsdale looks like. I have been to malls in New Jersey a handful of times - I'm talking 3, maybe 4 times. I have never been to the Hamptons or Mystic, CT or STATEN ISLAND for Christ's sake. Most of our friends here came from places that are not within the commuting distance of New York , so there is no one inviting us to their parents' shore house or their cabin in the Berkshires or to a party in New Jersey . I actually used to think the Poconos was an obscure island chain only New Yorkers frequented.

Kent and I have taken many weekend trips together, visiting either his family or mine, and four legitimate vacations, including our honeymoon. I think the best vacation we took was to Mexico, right after we moved in together. I was fat and pasty and growing out an ill-advised pixie cut, but dammit if we didn't have a grand old time laying on the beach and drinking beers and margaritas. Of all the trips we've taken, that's the one we most wistfully mention re-visiting. Paris comes in a close second, because...well, it's Paris. Not only do I want to go back to Paris, when I go I might not return because I really, really loved it and I am totally comfortable relocating my whole life based on how divine a cities' breads are, and as far as bread goes, Paris wins. Our honeymoon was half difficult and half fantastic. We started in (on?) Maui and learned that I am twelve kinds of crazy and cannot relax at giant fancy resorts, not a day after getting married. The back-half of our honeymoon was spent driving down Highway 1 in California with stops in San Francisco and Santa Barbara, and we fared much better once cabana boys stopped offering me frozen grapes and foot rubs. Italy was earlier this year, and there was nothing wrong with that trip; someone simply has to come in last. I want to go back, though. I just want to go so many other places, too.

On a global scale, my lack of travel embarrasses me. (Lack of travel, along with not really knowing how to ski, being unable to do a cartwheel, being a terrible dancer terrified of getting outed as such, and having only a cocktail-party depth of understanding with regards to organized sports are the five big white lies I live on a daily basis. Six, if you count my claim to read the weekend NY Times, when really I skim the Style section, the Real Estate section and City section, and flip through the magazine.) I have left the continent twice. I have been to Mexico a few times. The end. I have friends who have skied in the Alps and studied in Florence and trekked in India and honeymooned in the Loire Valley and vacationed in Tokyo . I have friends who have visited places I've never heard of. I have friends who have visited places that require visas and inoculations.

On a local scale, I nod when people talk about the turnpike and the shore and the antiquing upstate. To me, everything is upstate.

But! We have a car! That was given to us, for free! And it can take us places!

There are a few flying-required trips in the works, namely to California because I have two siblings getting married in 2006 and dammit, I'm homesick. Those trips count as far as the resolution goes, but not in terms of turning Kent and me into Jet Set Couple Who Pack Light and Move Fast (although I do pack light). A few trips to California will make me very happy, but only marginally qualify as travel, considering I'm basically visiting family. And also because the list of places I want to visit looks something like: Spain, New Zealand, St. Petersburg, Buenos Aires, Chile, Istanbul, Croatia, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, France, England, Scotland, Africa, Mexico, Costa Rica, Japan, and yes, I realize that some of those places are cities, some are countries and some are continents. My point is that Damn, mama's got a lot of livin' left to do.

And I would hate to under-represent the good old US of A, because domestically, I want to see Utah and Sedona and Portland and the New Hampshire coastline and Charleston and Chicago and Vermont and the Santa Ynez valley. Heck, I want to see the outlets at Woodbury Commons.

Mostly, I want my world to go from being a little apartment in a little neighborhood in a little corner of the city to Everything Else. New York sometimes feels like living on a boat, and, while novel, I am ready to feel a little more closely tied to the land.

We are initiating our resolution to leave the city at least once a month by planning a weekend in Atlantic City. We are determined that this will happen. We feel confident that one - if not both, of us might be a gambling savant. (which would be FANTASTIC for the financing the above-mentioned travel wish list). In February I have decided that we are driving down to DC. In March we are flying to CA for brother #1's wedding. April is for driving upstate (or sideways, maybe, because I really don't know where anything is) to visit friends in Ithaca. May will be a Trip To Someplace Warm and Relaxing, Specifics TBD (although I am pulling for MORE CALIFORNIA VISITS). June and July are undecided, and August is back to CA for brother #2's wedding. Fall is a blank slate.

It would be nice to end 2006 with a new stamp on our passports, but if not now, later is still okay. Especially since I have decided that Christmas of 2007 should be spent in Prague.

(My other resolutions, by the way, are to start doing yoga, be more patient with my in-laws, and keep the floors cleaner. Right now I am most eager about the floors.)

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