Monday, November 17, 2008

Vast Anticipation

Restlessness is buried deep within myself.

Not the kind of restlessness that comes with sleepless nights, or the anxiety one feels in a meeting that drags on and on. No, my restlessness is married to wanderlust - an insatiable desire to see and feel and taste and experience more than my world can offer.

Don't get me wrong - Cincinnati is pretty damn great - but my soul grows anxious for new experiences, and sometimes that's best achieved when you're removed from familiarity.

I think the whole process is akin to a super hero getting recharged with an elixir that feeds sub-human powers. I can't move mountains, but a little R and R (and adventure) can do wonders for my disposition, motivation and happiness.

And so a year has passed since I took my last vacation - a year since I piled on that plane, returning home with bags of tulip bulbs and Indian spices. More than 12 months since I had an opportunity to wander and wonder without a pressing deadline, without a concern for commitment or schedule. Since then, my heart has grown hungry - longing for a new destination and untold adventure.

For me, half the fun is planning the journey.

I love scouring the internets, in search of the best four-star hotel my Priceline purchase can buy. The planning also involves reading a more than a dozen websites, guide books and consulting friends with tales to share about my given destination. I weigh my options, considering tricked out dining experiences against more dive-y but genuine offerings enjoyed by locals.

Each trip requires seeking out the neighborhood bead shop - filled with the hope I'll find the perfect semi-precious beads for my own handmade souvenir.

Long walks are the fabric of my journeys. My well worn shoes are comfortable with the paces around an unfamiliar metropolis. I like walking memorable paths, taking treks in significant spaces - across Abbey Road, along New York's Broadway, down the Eiffel Tower.

And so now my brain is dreaming of my newest adventure - a trip to the West Coast.

I've been wanting to visit my dear friend, D Money, in Eugene, OR. I've decided to tack on some extra time, starting my vacation in San Francisco. My brain is already dreaming of burritos from the Mission District, a boat cruise in the Bay, a long walk along the Golden Gate Bridge.

I can't wait to check out Fisherman's Wharf, and all of the fresh delicacies from the Pacific. No doubt about it, there are a couple cocktails in my future in San Fran - I just have to decide on which swanky bars to explore.

The restlessness is still inside my soul - but, at least at this moment, it's got something to focus on.


Denae said...

The best news of my weekend came when you iten popped up in my email box. Yay! Don't forget...wineries in the Willamette Valley, enjoying views of the massive Mt. Hood in Portland and strolling through the Pearl district. Can't wait to see you!!! I await your reviews of SF - I've never been there.

Kate The Great said...

Of course, seeing you is the main attraction! I figured I'd let you be my tour guide in OR! I am really looking forward to exploring Portland... maybe seeing the coast - I have no expectactions... just excitement about exploring this foreign-to-me area that you call home!

Unknown said...

It's funny how people can crave such different things. Living in Washington DC is exciting and awesome, but right now, I crave to be home and experience familiarity, friends, and family. You want to go somewhere and take a walk in foriegn territory, I want to be home and walk the same streets I have walked countless times. Since leaving, Cincinnati has become my vacation.

Best of luck with the vacation, I was just in SF and Portland this summer. What a great part of the country...


The Boyfriend said...

Excellent choice, Kate!

I had a fellowship to go to school in Ashland, Oregon several years ago. I spent a month at Southern Oregon University and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It was an amazing summer.

I went back for a visit for the first time early last year; it was as beautiful as I had remembered.

I started in San Francisco for a long weekend and then drove to Ashland. I swear that the most beautiful shores in the country are those along the Northern California/Southern Oregon coast. Very rocky...very raw elements. Definitely not the kind of beaches for sunbathing, but for sheer beauty and the power of nature, nothing else even gets close.

And God, do I love San Francisco! I hope Julie and I can get there in the next year or so. Fisherman's Wharf is mostly a collection of T-shirt and souvenir ships, but there are plenty of good restaurants. Be sure to go to Boudin Bakery for fresh sourdough and soup. Yum. And you can watch them make the bread!

And whatever you do, do NOT leave the Fisherman's Wharf area without having an Irish Coffee or two (or four) at the Buena Vista. It's where Irish coffee was invented. I swear their Irish coffee will cure anything. (I also have a set of BV Irish Coffee glasses and use the BV recipe. I haven't done that in a while. Hmmm....)