Saturday, July 1, 2017

Truths about Travel by Rolynn Anderson

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

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

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Jannine Gallant said...

We haven't been anywhere in a while. My husband's idea of travel is sports related...skiing or surfing. Mine, not so much. One of these days (after I sell a whole lot of books to finance the trip), I want to go to France. That's always been the top of my bucket list. I've been to Montreal (back in my youth), a very cool city! Enjoy your travels, Rolynn.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks, Jannine...I'm looking forward to Montreal. You will love France! I do hope you include Aix en Provence on that itinerary.

Side note FYI: See my interview on They actually read LIE CATCHERS and asked great questions. I was impressed. Check them out for a place to submit:

Margo Hoornstra said...

We traveled to Montreal and Quebec years ago in a motor home. Beautiful cities. Very clean. We also did an Alaska cruise of the inside passage. It's on my bucket list to repeat with a week in Denali! It is so much more fun to blend with the natives. So cool that interview!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

When we go to Paris, we like to stay for a month. We rent an apt and shop for fresh food at the little shops. We have certain cafes we frequent. Watching the French and being a part of the local color is better for us than dashing here and there to see the tourist traps. We typically spend a few weeks in Berlin, too. The smells of fresh bread baking wafting out onto the street as we walk by is a delight so are the smells of other German foods. We don't like to be rushed. We like to slowly insert ourselves into their culture.

Leah St. James said...

Oh my're giving me such wanderlust! Europe is definitely on my bucket list. I want to see the big castles in Germany and across the U.K. I want to experience the lifestyle and the foods and languages. Hope you enjoy your summer travels!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Margo, if you explore Denali, you're one up on me...I only saw it from the plane (on a rare, clear day, however.) You go to Denali...plant your flag, girl!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Oh, Vonnie, I share your love of France, especially when viewed overtime from a round table on the French patio with a glass of vin blanc, chilled and dry, sitting before me, and a special friend enjoying the people-watching with me. Go for weeks...months! Magnifique!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Leah, this is my all-time favorite in Germany England is such fun...go, go, go! You'll love Europe!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Frank and I don't get to travel very far and wide anymore. We've been in many countries and had some great times. I miss it horribly. So...I will go anywhere anytime now, if I can!

Rolynn Anderson said...

I'm glad you've had some travel fun in your past. I see more adventures (perhaps closer to home), in your future :-) (Okay, not the Burbank gig...will make it fun, but it isn't exactly a 'cool' destination)

Brenda whiteside said...

Rolynn, I remember a line from Laugh In "from beautiful downtown Burbank." Must be a destination!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Right! Funny! And Johnny Carson always talked about Burbank, didn't he? Truly it has the cutest airport and Amtrak station right there next to the airport. Convenient for InD'tale's conference.

Diane Burton said...

Other than an occasional trip around Michigan, our travels have taken us to Phoenix to visit Son & Family. Now that they're going to live in our town, we can attack our bucket list.

Alicia Dean said...

Wow, you've got this traveling thing down to a science. It seems the only traveling I do lately is for presenting or attending at writer's conferences. But, I do love to travel. Thanks for sharing the lovely pics!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Alicia, thanks for the compliment. We've been in foreign train stations when Americans (after hearing us speak English, American style) actually ask to follow us (or get help from us). My husband works on the intricacies of trains, planes and rental automobiles to the nth degree, with a Google Earth matrix ready to get us around town. I pretend I know where I'm going, but he's my tour director :-)