September 27, 2008

Wistful Wanderings

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?


Kavita said...

Monica, did you give India a thought? Kerala & Rajasthan have traditional architecture that may interest you. Laurie Baker passed on last April, bless him, but his work is there for you to see. You could google it up. In Mumbai you
are welcome to stay with me.

Monica said...

Thank you Kavita,

I would love to visit India someday, and Nebpal, Bhutan, and Tibet. Unforetunately, the plane ticket is a bit out of my price range, even though I hear prices are very reasonable once you get there. Sadly, India is also one of those places I would be reluctant to travel to on my own. I don't speak the language and I don't have a good understanding of the culture. I may just be giving in to anxiety on that score, but I think when I go to India I would rather be part of a group or at least travel with a companion who has been there before. But don't worry, I'll make it there yet!

Thanks for the offer!

wolfie185 said...

Hi, I am a big one for spending time in the country, yesterday I put the pup in the pickup, drove the county roads to my home town and them took gravel roads south of Lexington that run along the Platte river back to Kearney but having said that you will have plenty of time to spend time in the sandhills in the future. That is something you can do on the odd weekend or if you have few days off. From exprience you should see all you can now. You never know what will happen in the future that will derail your intensions; financial restraints, personal commitments, job etc. Do your traveling now while you can.
I lived in England for 2 years, via the US Air Force, it wasn't my favorite European country Norway holds that place securely in my heart. You will enjoy the experience. I wasn't a big fan of London but since you are a student of architecture you will appreciate that part of it more than I did. My greatest thrill in London was seeing the house/roof top where the Beatles held there last performance, that and going to the open air market in Kensingston all kinds of cool stuff, don't me wrong I appreciate the arches, towers, catherdals, museums and such but after having spent time in Europe they all start to look the same to the untrained eye. To me the English country side and small villages where the things that were really awesome, the chuch in the village I lived in was built in 1655. The villages are very quant and historic, there are still thatched roofs on some of the houses and barns. I would also recommend going to Stonehenge if you have a chance. First Stonehenge is a few miles west of Winchester which is a very beautiful town and the catherdal there is stunning. Stonehenge has a very mystical and magical feel to it, my friends and I were all into Arthurian legend, Merlin and Druid lore, so it was easy to feel the connection to the ancient legends and lores. If nothing else it is amazing just to see this ancient structure and let your imagination go wild all the various uses for it and the meanings behind the design, I honestly don't think we know the whole story behind it. No matter what you do you will enjoy yourself in England, sleep in B&B's they are cheap and so is using the buses and underground for transportation the tube is safe as long as you don't venture into Brixton after dark, you see the most amazing and diverse people on the tube, screw the tourist and those that cater to them, I liked mengling with average people.
To me day dreaming about an upcoming adventure is natural especially if I think life is getting dull. For myself the main thing is not to get my expectations up too high by planning the outcome because if the real outcome is differant than my desired outcome I get bummed out and can't see the rose for the thorns. I also have to make sure my day dreams don't stop me from taking care of the business at hand, it is far more fun to day dream and procrastinate than to do some of the mundane things that need to be done.