Monday, March 25, 2013

Exploring Wherever We Happen to Be

I come from parents who specialized in large, dramatic gestures. "We're moving to Alaska." "We're camping across country from Alaska to Maine with five children." "We're going to live in Puerto Rico."

With this sort of plan as my template, I've spent most of my life believing that the only cure for boredom was a sweeping change. Settling in always seemed a denial of life and all that it had to offer. But as all people who move quickly and in huge leaps do, I missed a lot in any place I stayed in for a substantial length of time--when I was in the U.S.

When I was in Bangkok, I found delight and wonder in every corner of that city. In Seattle. I ignore the sort of attraction that brings people here on vacation, and leave vast numbers of neighborhoods unexamined. Then one of my sons and his girlfriend gave me a trip to Vancouver B.C. for Christmas.

I've spent the past three months thinking about when to go, where to stay, what to see, what to eat. I leave in two more days and the thought of using my passport for something more than an identification card is almost more excitement than I can stand. But an odd thing happened as I was planning my escape from Seattle; I began to understand that there are pleasures and diversions here that I have ignored since my return from Thailand a year and a half ago.

Today is a picture-perfect spring day and there are hundreds of places in this city where I can spend it. There's a new form of transportation called the Bolt Bus that will get me out of town for a very small sum, and there are trains that will do the same thing for a bit more money. This year I intend to use them, to fill in the gaps between where I've been. Look after you leap may not be the recommended course of action, but it's better than not looking at all.

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