Friday, August 10, 2018

Tricks to Keeping Friends for a Half Century by Rolynn Anderson

As some of you are aware, I’m on a journey to reconnect with friends/relatives from the Pacific Northwest.  Not a task for those with iffy organizational skills.  I have thirteen groups of friends and family with whom to connect in less than three weeks. 

I’m watching myself taking on this task with a measure of pride, because my mother never taught me the skill.  On our many trips cross-country (we followed Dad, an Army officer, everywhere), my mother’s modus operandi, was to call the friend or relative as we approached his/her residence…about 50 miles away from his/her home.  If the person answered the phone, my mother suggested a drive-by (an hour stop at the most).  If the friend or relative weren’t home, Mom would shrug her shoulders and say: “I tried.” Later she’d jot a letter to the person we’d failed to see, saying she’d been in the neighborhood, as if that excused her lame try at a contact.

Nope. Not me.  I started working out our itinerary months ago, checking to see who was in town and when the best meet-up times would be.  We even set up a hotel-stay in a location that made it easy for us to go visit friends.  A step further: we were invited to stay overnight with two different couples…something we do rarely. 

Such an itinerary isn’t easy, especially when planning rendezvous points.  Which restaurant is lovely, not too expensive, and central to each particular group of friends? What do the reviews say about food and service?  Is there parking? Do they serve wine? Is the food generic so all would find something on the menu to like? Is the restaurant quiet enough to allow comfortable conversation? (I picked this restaurant because it had a gorgeous side-room...and if we met here at 4:30, we'd have it to ourselves...wouldn't need to pay rent!)


And I forget to mention: If friends come on a ferry, what’s the best time for us to hold the lunch/dinner, and who picks up the ferry passengers and drops them off? (We’re in ‘ferry country,’ and in high summer season, with big crowds and days of fog that delay the ferries, we’re talking complications! Forget about driving on a ferry…foot passengers have the only chance to make it to the other side on time.)

So far we are doing well.  Six groups visited…seven to go.  Ferry rendezvous tomorrow.  I’ll let you know if the last half of the month (including a one-week family reunion) goes as smoothly as the first half.

How about you?  What’s the most intricate trip you’ve ever planned in an effort to connect with friends and family?

Speaking of intricacy.  Here’s my story about tourist itineraries that go wrong, very wrong…in Aix-en-Provence France: CÉZANNE’S GHOST http://a.co/bQdl7jp




Facebook page:
Twitter:
Goodreads:
Amazon

16 comments:

Leah St. James said...

What a neat "project," Rolynn! And yikes--the amount of planning it's taking! I know what a pain it can be to plan even one trip, but 13 stops with 13 groups of people?! You're my travel planning idol. :-) I've never attempted anything close to that intricate. I wish you many hours of joy and laughter (and zero hours of stress or discomfort) with the rest of the trip!

Diane Burton said...

Enjoy all the reconnecting, Rolynn. I've never attempted a trip like that. What fun!

RE Mullins said...

Ferry country - I like the sound of that. It conjures an idyllic scene of gliding over waterways. Sounds like you are reaping the rewards of lots of planning and are having a great time. Travel safe.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Leah, I never anticipated Seattle traffic. We left Seattle because of the traffic...it is now 100 times worse! Yesterday our rendezvous was 1/2 hour late because we had to take a third option after I-5 and I-405 got glutted. I'm trying to take it in stride, but really!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Diane, I'm taking pictures at every juncture...and i-phones make it easy to gawk at family pictures and homes. Technology helps with these reunions. And we've already planned some re-reunions when we compared travel calendars!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Oh my gosh, Rolynn. What a monumental effort. When we went to MN in June, we had 4 sets of friends to visit. I started my outreach months in advance. Got it all set, and it changed three more times. I was dizzy trying to make it work. Good for you. It is worth the effort to reconnect. Enjoy!!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Yes, R.E. Ferries are lovely. The weather was perfect on Wednesday...balmy...no need for a jacket even as we rode at the front of the ferry. I swear Seattle is gorgeous on a week like this...we've been very lucky...saw Mt. Baker and Rainier from the ferry...gobsmacking!

Vonnie Davis said...

Oh Rolynn, I thought traveling alone to Paris and Edinburgh was a planning marathon. New passport, arrangements for Evie, two types of clothes since Paris is normally in the 90's then and Edinburgh in the 60's, and two types of electric convertors since what worked in Paris receptacles would not in Scotland's. Mercy, all I had to worry about was me. You've got gaggles of people and unending details. Go you! Enjoy every smile, every hug, and every shared bit of news. Safe travels.

Alison Henderson said...

I'm impressed, but I would have done the same, if only to keep my own sanity. I'm a born organizer, too.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Brenda, we've had some snafu's for sure. Ironically, one couple we were determined to see, couldn't make the pre-set rendezvous. So even if you do your best... More upbeat: people are genuinely thankful I went to the trouble to make the meetings happen. Feels good!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Vonnie, please, please, tell us the details of your trip. We went with you vicariously, don't you know? I think planning a trip overseas is the ultimate challenge. Like you say, electrical issues...also packing medicines...clothes for the different weather. Whew! Sounds like you had a good trip. Tell us more! (Or did you tell us and I missed the blog...shoot me the url, s'il vous plait)

Rolynn Anderson said...

Alison, if groups of friends don't have a planner like you and me, would they ever get together? I don't think so. It's okay...the schedule puzzling is kind of fun!

Jannine Gallant said...

I've never done this. Mostly because we don't move, so friends are still pretty much local. As for relatives, we call the San Diego group and tell them we're showing up at their door to stay on such a such day. Doesn't happen often!

Rolynn Anderson said...

As an itinerate (Army brat beginnings), I yearn to start over again as a person who stayed put. What a joy that must be!

Andrea Downing said...

Oh, I hear you on this one, Rolynn. Every time I go back to London I have to sort whom I can see when & where and make sure not to hurt anyone's feelings. Then there was the 7 week cross-country trip which took so much planning, not only as to stops but as to friends. Hope things go smoothly for you--especially with those ferries!

Margo Hoornstra said...

That is one fabulous undertaking. Lucky you to have so many groups of friends to connect with. I lost a very good and special friend a few years ago. Cherish those you still have. And enjoy!