I enjoy a destination now; my companion wants to move in

An evening visit to Pontoosuc Lake north of Pittsfield, Mass.

An evening visit to Pontoosuc Lake north of Pittsfield, Mass.

The title of this blog reflects the fact that my companion and I experience travel much differently. We tend to like the same places. While I prefer canyons and she favors beaches, we both love both of them. And we reveled together in France, Switzerland and Italy earlier this year. Where we differ in travel is in our response to the places we love. I want to soak it in, recognizing that we may never be back. My companion wants to move.

Every time we have visited Tofino (our favorite place), she talks of buying a beach home there, ignoring the fact that I would have no work there and no major airport within five hours. On last year’s trip to Monterey and this year’s trip to Marin County, Calif., she was speculating on the cost of homes there (high) and saying we should move. I was saying, “Look at that ocean! Enjoy it right now!”

Pittsfield's museums made for some fun walks with Duffy.

Pittsfield’s museums made for some fun walks with Duffy.

I should have known we’d have the same divergent views on last week’s trip to the Berkshires. We brought Duffy, her schnauzer, along, which curbed the sightseeing a bit. But just walking him around the lovely town square and neighborhoods of Pittsfield, Mass., was enough to make her start looking at real estate listings.

We visited at a lovely time, with many of the Berkshires’ trees still full of leaves in vivid shades of red, yellow and orange. So, when I wrapped up Friday with still an hour or so of daylight, I thought my companion would enjoy a drive in the countryside.

We headed out north of town to drive some country roads. A turn down a side road took us past lots of colorful trees as well as shimmering Pontoosuc Lake. The leaves and lake riveted my attention, but my companion’s eye was caught by a for-sale sign.

My companion and Duffy on the square in Pittsfield.

My companion and Duffy on the square in Pittsfield.

We’re not moving any time soon. We just refinanced our condo in the Virginia suburbs of Washington. But selling it for enough to cover the loan would be difficult (we bought in 2007, shortly before the real estate market tanked). Also, my job requires frequent air travel and we live 10 minutes from Dulles International Airport, with direct flights to dozens, if not hundreds, of destinations. Virtually every place my companion fantasizes about moving is an hour or more from an airport, often an airport with flights only to a few hubs.

None of this deters my companion from her new-home fantasies.

A for-sale sign in front of a home on the lake caught her eye. Since we were on a dead-end road, we had to drive past. This time we stopped to pick up a flier. A few minutes later, we stopped at a lakeside park. I was enjoying the sun’s final rays shimmering across the lake (that’s it at the top of this post and in the photo below). My companion was drawn to the condos behind us and the every-evening views they would offer.

Another evening view of Lake Pontoosuc

Another evening view of Lake Pontoosuc

The next morning, before we could leave town, we had to drive back past the lake again. This time an open-house sign in front of the home she had spied the night before prompted a stop. We wandered through. I stepped out on the deck to enjoy yet another lake view (that’s it below). My companion had to check out the rooms. We got out of there without signing anything. I think my various points about the airport, the mortgage and so on continue to carry the day. For now.

I guess our writing interests shape our sightseeing interests. I’m a journalist, interested in reporting what’s happening now or in enjoying what I’m doing now. My companion is a novelist, enjoying the moments in part by imagining what could be.

The view from the deck of the home we didn't buy.

The view from the deck of the home we didn’t buy.

I tried out my fastball grip on some of the outdoor art in Pittsfield.

I tried out my fastball grip on some of the outdoor art in Pittsfield.




New sights and smells in familiar places

First Baptist Church of Shenandoah, Iowa

I love visiting new places. I’ve blogged this year about first visits to FranceSwitzerlandItaly and Royal Gorge. In each case, anticipation and discovery are part of the joy of the trip.

Shenandoah, Iowa, and Kansas City are not new places for me. In my vagabond life, no place is more familiar than these communities. I know what to anticipate and I’ve discovered most that either destination offers.

I lived six-plus years in Kansas City and seven-plus with Shenandoah as home base (though I was away for college for most of four of the Shen years). And it seems that I’ve spent more time visiting Shenandoah and the Kansas City area than I spent living either place.

My sons and I became ardent Kansas City Chiefs fans while we lived in Kansas City and they became lifelong Royals fans (my loyalty to the Yankees was unshaken, but the Royals remain a fond second-favorite), so I’ve returned many times to Kansas City for ballgames. Mom moved to a retirement community in Lee’s Summit, Mo., three years after I left KC, so I’ve been back more times than I can count visiting Mom at three different homes as her care needs have grown. I’ve been to the Kansas City area as well working on news stories and speaking at conferences and for a job interview.

I know the quickest ways out of the ballparks to beat the traffic. I have a favorite barbecue joint that we nearly always visit. Whatever Mom needs (this time it was a watch battery), I generally know where to find it nearby. Continue reading