The Blue/Green-Eyed Travel Monster

I see you. Smiling faces peering over ship railings. Eyes squinting in the brilliant Italian sun.  Bodies sleek in scuba gear in the Galapagos. One more happy Facebook vacation picture — and the computer gets it.

Okay, I feel better now.

Somewhere among those Facebook pictures of a river cruise and toes in the sand, I ran dry. Don’t get me wrong. I’m more than happy for friends’ ability to get outta Dodge and realize their travel dreams, just as they’d be for me. When you’re livin’ the hard-earned dream, it’s only natural to share it – with everyone. Glimpsing a buddy trekking through the Grand Canyon can be an actual public service, right? (I’m kidding) Poring over gorgeous Instagram shots might be the only way I’ll ever get to see those magical sites. (Those pics also incite my inner wannabe fabulous photographer)

It’s a big world. We all want to press ESC and see all we can before the curtain closes. Travel is what we save for, and dream of. It jazzes us to check off each destination box, especially when it comes equipped with memories to relive again and again.  I know. I have pictures to prove it.

These days though, not so much.  Maybe that’s one reason the rolling visual travelogues on my Facebook timeline triggers me; but not for the reasons you might think. At first, even I thought the cheerful travel odysseys were a sneaky bazinga of all the places I may never see. But slowly I realized that’s only one piece of the missing. Maybe those barefoot in the sand toe shots, or glistening views of the Eiffel tower point up the sedentary chiaroscuro of a shadow life. Yet, hey, I’m not exactly STUCK to that couch; my life is pretty damn full. In fact, the only thing that needs changing is the empty space next to me, but that ship sailed when my husband left. So why the stupid pity party? Why, when I click those ‘hearts’ and ‘likes’ on friends’ vaca pics to parts known and unknown, do I sometimes feel so empty? And what’s with the wanderenvy? Continue reading

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Good Ol’ Summertime

DSC_0330.JPGFull disclosure — summer not my favorite season. I’m not a hater; I’m just not feelin’ it. Oh, I feel the heat alright. As temps rise, I melt and it’s not pretty. (think Wicked Witch of the West) My husband, however, loved everything about summer. Despite my dire warnings about skin cancer (duh), he basked au soleil whenever he could. Neatly positioning himself wherever rays beamed, he thrived on getting ‘color’, which he hardly needed given his robust black Irish coloring. Bright blue eyes and full head of thick, wavy grey hair made him sufficiently handsome without another cancer to worry about. He never saw it that way.

Still, even now I can envision every freckle, crinkle of skin and strand of hair in startling detail. That in itself is kind of ironic knowing these days I can’t remember where I put my glasses or what I had for dinner the night before. Loss creates a really annoying photographic memory.

“I’ll be seeing you
In every lovely summer’s day
In everything that’s light and gay
I’ll always think of you that way”

The light and gay part kind of escapes me, but I remember well how that man thrived in summer warmth. (That made one of us) As I baked, he bloomed. Even days when side effects weighed heavily on him, he wanted to be on the move. Despite soaring temps, he’d be ready to rock. Well, maybe not quite that energetic but you get the gist. To me, summer just meant pressure to DO stuff. When the sun lights all the trees and you can smell the freshness of grass before you see it, what reasonable excuse can you give for staying inside? You’re absolutely obligated to take a day trip, walk, anything but curling up in your house. Yet, though I still often crave a nice comfy, rainy day, I admit the memories of those summer moments with my hot weather boy remain.

This summer, I’m not quite sure how I feel. Two thirds done already, the weeks have been pretty uneventful. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I’ve had quite enough life changing ‘events’, thank you very much. Still, I don’t foresee a trek abroad, a palm tree packed island cruise or even a visit to my favorite place – Cape Cod. (more about that another time.) It’s now the second summer without the guy who loved this season and I haven’t yet gotten my sea legs. Summer is still — meh. Continue reading

I (almost) . . . left my heart in San Francisco.

13912510_10210190201178352_467848970915089957_nNo, I didn’t go on vacation. I didn’t fall in love. And I didn’t go to find anything I was looking for – the love of my life already left the building. But, what I almost lost in the city by the bay was precious and would have broken my heart – again.

The jaunt to California was actually a business trip for a travel client as background for a snazzy review I will need to write. While going anywhere that smacks of fun and enjoyment doesn’t quite feel right to recent widows, as they said in The Godfather (one of my all-time faves) ‘It’s not personal; it’s business’. So I sucked it up, and forced myself to go to the Golden State. (I know, it’s rough to be in sunny California but someone has to do it, right? lol) Ready or not, I was booked on a tour, packed for the trip and grabbed a dear, sweet friend, who was gracious enough to be my travel bud for some California dreamin’.

With the first stop San Francisco, I was hesitantly optimistic. Yes, I was somewhere I had never been before but compared to the traumatic uncharted territory of widowhood, this would be a piece of cake!  Ha! Said cake fell flat my first night in the city ‑ and I can’t help but think my guy had a hand in it. Continue reading