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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's summer, which means travel time

This is going to be a cross-country sort of summer. First I'll have to pick up my kids from Cashiers, North Carolina, where they'll be visiting with their grandparents. Then it's down to Miami, so my son can go to his favorite day camp down there and from there, I'll fly with my daughter to New York where she'll be attending Camp Broadway. It's really not as pretentious as it sounds. It's just something fun for her Diva-self to do. Then, after catching my breath for a couple of weeks, it's off to San Francisco and the Romance Writers of America National Conference. This is my event-- something I look forward to every year, the opportunity to network and see friends I haven't seen for the past year, and get dressed up in something other than sweats and t-shirts. It's one of the most energizing events, from a professional/creative standpoint and the fact that this year it's in San Francisco, one of my absolute favorite cities on the planet, just adds to the anticipation.

(I also get to present at the RITA awards, so I'm very excited about that as well.)

On the downside, however, I'm fully expecting all of this travel to be exhausting and I know that I'm going to be more than ready to come home and retreat into my cave. The upside of National being held during the summer is that most of us have greater freedom to travel. The downside is that by the time you come home, the last thing you want to do is travel again. Which is quite the bummer sometimes, because I do have some dream trips I'd love to take and most of them involve a powerful car and the open road. I absolutely love driving and traveling by car. From a writing standpoint, it's actually my favorite plotting time—I've always made up stories while driving. And from a creative standpoint, I get so much out of seeing places up close and personal—it never ceases to amaze me how varied and amazing the United States is from state to state and even from town to town.

You know, I even still have the old AAA atlas that's all marked up in colored pencil with the routes I was going to take:

U.S. 1 from Key West all the way to Maine.

The Pacific Coast Highway.

And my most desired road trip? The Mother Road, Route 66, all the way from Chicago to Los Angeles, preferably with stops along the way at every kitschy roadside attraction.

Mind you, I have regular, run-of-the-mill vacations I'd love to take. I mean, I certainly wouldn't turn my nose up at a week at a secluded beach house in Hawaii. But give me a full tank of gas and a road? It would have to be a pretty amazing beach house to make me give that up.

So, what are some of your dream vacations?


Jenny O'Connell said...

When I graduated from college my best friend and I spent three weeks driving cross country from Boston to Arizona and all up and down and around (we actually missed the Grand Canyon and ended up having to back track to find it - how we could miss a huge hole is beyond me). We camped out in a little two person pup tent, lived on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Triscuits and even locked ourselves out of the car in Eureka, CA. We skied at Arapahoe Basin in CO, biked the vineyards in Napa Valley and sweated our asses off in Moab, UT.

I would never say driving cross country with $200 in my pocket and two loaves of whole wheat bread in the back seat is a dream vacation, but it was the best time ever and I'd do it again in a heat beat (as long as I could go back to being 22 years old, too).

Jennifer Echols said...

Jenny, that DOES sound like the best time ever!

I've done a lot of road tripping through Florida and out west. But honestly, I'll go on my dream vacation this summer, and that's a week at the beach.

Barb, I'm so sorry I'll miss you in San Fran. You're presenting--that's fancy! But I'll be at the conference in DC next year.

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Jenny, that sounds amazing!!!! I've always wanted to do that kind of trip, but I think I'm a little past the point when I can.

This summer the boyfriend and I are driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco on PCH. I'd love to go all the way up to Washington though. And the Route 66 Road trip is my dream road trip, too. The boyfriend did part of it once with his bff, I'm hoping he'll want to do the whole thing with me someday!

Danielle Joseph said...

I love road trips too, especially after the invention of car DVD players when the kids get restless. I hope you're having a great trip. Let me know when you're in Miami again!