I’ve too many options, too many choices, and obviously too much money. Making choices are so much easier when you’re poor. I love to travel. I can afford to travel a little bit in the next year or so. Of course, now the question is where to go. The AIAS Midwest Quad Conference is in Kansas City in early November. That same weekend is the AIAS Northeast Quad Conference in Toronto. Then there is Greenbuild in Boston in late November. I’ve plenty of time off during winter break. Then coming up next March is the big whammy, Ecobuild in London. Following on the hills of Ecobuild is my own spring break two weeks later. I’ve been contemplating Seattle and Portland, Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, and even just escaping into the Sand Hills of Nebraska to write.
Trouble is, all this wistful thinking wastes a lot of time. All the checking of airline prices online is a job in and of itself. Right now tickets to London are running about $600-$700, which is high. I figure if I find something under $500, I’ll jump on that plane. Looking up hostels and checking the couch surfing possibilities is another way to waste a few hours. Yet all that has the possibility of a productive outcome.
No, the real waste of time is from all the unrestrained daydreaming. All that uncontrolled weighing of imaginary options. All the awesome things I’ll see, the fabulous historic buildings, the miracles of steel and glass, the imaginary perfect weather, the amazingly friendly strangers, the wonderful food I’ve never even heard of before. It’s almost surely better than the trip itself.
A couple of weekends ago I went to a family reunion in Broken Bow. We stayed at my aunt’s place in the middle of Custer County, where I spent weeks every summer as a child. I remember the endless cornfields overseen by their giant center pivots. I remember the rolling hills covered in grass. The fields east of the barn are flooded again this year and filled with ducks, geese, and cranes. I wonder if maybe it might be better to spend some time in a place I sometimes wonder if I am starting to forget. I wonder if I should just beg a bed from my Aunt Donalee, load my laptop and a picnic in a pack, saddle up Shorty, the gentle old chestnut quarter horse all the cousins have ridden since we were little, climb up into the windswept hills and spend the afternoon writing. And it wouldn’t cost me a dime.
Or is that just more wistful thinking?