As usual, in the summer, I’m on the move. For years Steve and I spent the four summer months cruising on our trawler; now that we sold the boat, we’re working on our international bucket list of places to see.
How do you decide where you travel next? Do you have an ever-emptying bucket, or do you keep tossing in new locations?
We tend to add and subtract places based on a number of elements. This year, we chose Quebec City, Montreal, Niagara Falls, because of family events in the Midwest and East Coast. (My college reunion in Minnesota played in there, as well.) So: proximity was factor #1; Hype about Quebec/Niagara factor #2; Shame about not knowing about/exploring our neighborhood in the north was #3; Love of Canadians #4; Favor for the U.S. dollar in Canada #5; Temperate weather #6; Uniqueness (West coasters are rare in Quebec) #6 (The picture below shows a gigantic statue in front of the amazing Frontenac Hotel in Quebec City. It's a Salvador Dali object d'art.)
You get the drift. My husband and I have a complicated matrix pushing our decision about where to go next. How about you?
One solid rule we have about travel? Stay at least three days in one place; make sure the hotel/VRBO allows you to walk the best streets (we prefer not to rent a car...and there's no place to park them in the old towns, anyway!). As you know we’ve enjoyed expanded stays lately: a month in Seville; another month in Aix en Provence. Three days is starting to look too short to us lately. We hunkered down in Quebec City for two weeks; Montreal-five days.
How long do you tend to stay in a given vacation spot?
Traveling is stressful, but there are also strains involved when you must settle into a new hotel room, a VRBO or B & B. Where to eat; where to shop for necessities; how to keep up an exercise program; how to manage the language of the country; what to buy (and not to if you’re in carry-on luggage mode)? The picture below, in front of our VRBO shows you an additional stress: a tiny Hobbit door to our VRBO condo 9 1/2 Rue Ramparts. My husband, 6'5" in front of it. The apartment was very comfortable, actually.
What’s your method of carrying ‘home’ with you, so you’re less stressed when you travel?
Coffee. I need good coffee in the a.m. while I write; coffee-decaf-at night (with a piece of rich chocolate). We also need a friendly coffee shop nearby, where somewhere around visit #3, they smile at me and without a word from me, they fill my order, ready to chat. The place has comfortable chairs, too, set up for people-watching. Wine. I’ve discovered a local brand or two that I like and patio-ed places where my husband and I can sit and enjoy local food and wine. Below: This group of thespians, in ghostly garb/make-up, drifted by our restaurant one evening.
How about you? What are the signs you’ve gotten comfortable with a vacation destination?
We might be oddities as travelers, less interested in ‘covering’ all the attractions; more focused on fitting in with the rhythm of each new place.
But our process must be working, because we still like to travel!
Speaking of travel, you get a glimpse of Italy in my novel, BAD LIES http://a.co/0DuYNPn:
Italy’s haunted caves spell danger for an American golfer and a NATO geologist
Sophie Maxwell is a late-blooming, unorthodox golfer, and mother of a precocious thirteen year-old. Determined to put divorce, bankruptcy, and a penchant for gambling in her past, Sophie goes to Italy for a qualifying golf tournament.
Jack Walker turned his back on a pro golfing career to become a geologist. As a favor to his ailing father he’ll caddy for Sophie; off hours, he’ll find caves on the Mediterranean coast, suitable for NATO listening posts for terrorist activity.
Someone is determined to stop Jack’s underground hunt and ruin Sophie’s chances to win her tournament.
On a Rome golf course and in the Amalfi coast’s haunted caves, all the odds are stacked against Sophie and Jack. In their gamble of a lifetime, who wins?
Seven Suspense Novels Spiked with Romance
Web and Blog: