Archive for August, 2010

Need a bit more time…

Everyone says I’ve been running around like a chicken with her head cut off since the day I landed back in the US – and they’re right. I’ve been rushing through everything: seeing friends and family (in multiple states); unpacking; buying (and fixing) cars, phones, etc.; getting Nick ready and to school (moved him in yesterday. It was difficult – for me anyway – but I really think he’ll thrive there); finding a realtor; starting my new job search; planning this road trip. And they’re right. I haven’t honestly taken more than a moment to breathe (well, I took two moments: one at the Cape with Mom and Mark and one in Florida with Dad and Mag) and I haven’t been planning much breathing time into the road trip either.

I think it’s time to stop. For a minute. And think about things. (Ugh – I hate thinking – that’s usually when I end up either in shock or in tears!) As my mom wrote on the cover of one of my books in high school (because I’ve pretty much been doing the same thing – going non-stop – since then): “All organisms need rest. If they don’t rest, they die.” I’m paraphrasing – she put it in much more scientic terms. But you get the idea. Not that I think I’m on the brink of death, but I do think I had better not rush through everything and end up regretting it. Two thing specifically: prepping my house for selling and prepping myself for the road trip.

If I leave on Sun. Sept 5, that basically leaves me tomorrow (Wed.) and Friday to prepare the entire house and get ready for the road trip. (Thursday I have to be in Boston for meetings, Saturday mom and I are visiting Nick in Salem and Sunday we’re visiting Jake in Amherst.) Not exactly realistic for a 10 room house with a two-story two-car garage! Especially one lived in by a recovering collector of absolutely everything (me). I’ve pretty much decided the house will go on the market when I leave for the road trip (just have to pick realtor),  and I don’t want to sabotage myself by leaving it the way it is (a cluttered mess – even after filling an entire dumpster and having a giant yard sale). Or by concentrating both of those days on the house and being completely unprepared for my trip (although I know I can buy pretty much anything I need on the road).

So I looked at my initial itinerary, thought about what I could cut out or simply shorten a bit, and I decided I can leave on Thursday, Sept. 9, without changing much. I just cut out a few of the minor stops along the way in upstate New York (which aren’t far if I want to go in the future) and Ohio. That will put me at Niagara Falls late next week and my cousin’s school in Ohio next weekend, which are important things to me.  And from there on out I’m going to take my mother and other’s advice and allow a bit more time in places to soak up the atmosphere, relax, enjoy and breathe…

Read Full Post »

Am I doing it right?

Deep down I know there’s no right or wrong way to plan my road trip, but every time I start to write things down and really plan it I feel like I’m doing SOMETHING wrong. And that feeling gets confirmed when I share what I’ve planned with someone.

“You should take more time in each place. You don’t want to rush.” “You shouldn’t make a beeline to one place – especially not the middle of the country.” “Why would you go there and then all the way back to there?” “Oh no, don’t go there.” Ok, the last one is helpful when it comes with an explanation, so I can judge whether I really should skip a place or not. And the first ones are all repeats of what I am saying to myself, I’m just not sure how else to do it all. I want to see so many places, but I do have to remind myself not to rush. I do want to get to certain places to see people, but I also want the route I use to get there to make sense.

So I think what I’m going to do is put milestones along the way – certain places I MUST be by a certain time, and leave a bit in the middle more up in the air. That both scares me and is a relief. It scares me because if I don’t  know ahead where I’m going to be each day, I won’t be able to book somewhere to stay each night and then I could end up without any fairly reasonable options. But it’s a relief in that I don’t have to do as much detailed planning ahead of time. And I want to leave some things open. What if I get to Indiana National Dunes National Lakeshore and love it and just want to take pictures and read on the beach all day? That won’t be able to happen if I’ve booked a place to sleep two stops and five hours away. Think this is one area I’ll start by facing my fears, not over planning and seeign how it goes…

So my milestones so far(with LOTS of stops between):

  • Amherst with my family to start Sept 5.
  • Nashville Sept 17 for the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman (accidentily bought tix for this show when I meant to buy for the other, so am going to be in Nashville ALOT in Sept!) My friend Amy – an up-and-coming country star herself, check her out on her new website http://www.amywestney.bandvista.com/ – would love this one as it features her idol Carrie Underwood.
  • Nashville Sept. 21-24 as some London friends will be in town.
  • New York City Sept. 24-27 for my friend’s wedding/friends weekend and then to start my job search.
  • Nashville Sept 28 for the grand re-opening of the Grand Ole Opry – looks to be an incredible show!
  • Have to figure out what city I’ll be near Oct 1-3 so I can book my tickets home for Nick’s college family weekend and to celebrate his 19th birthday!
  • Oct 4 – Maybe Oklahoma for a friend’s birthday.
  • Oct. 24 – San Diego for the Patriots game – it’s the only road game I think makes sense. And Afraid none of the Red Sox games fit. Checking Celtics schedule next…

I’m finding it hard to think past October right now, so this is it for the moment. Any planning tips? Other milestones I should keep in mind?

Read Full Post »

Gambling or Graceland?

Road trip planning is officially under way. I have a giant fold-out US map decorated with dot stickers – currently 47 although I know some dots will move and others will be added – marking my planned stops. (See the new tab at the top of my home page called ‘Road Trip Itinerary’ for details.) I also have an 8×10 state-a-page atlas that I carry with me everywhere I go and frequently reference. If nothing else I’m learning a lot about US geography!

My last week as social butterfly has paid off too ’cause it seems nearly everyone has a friend or family member I can visit along the way. That is wonderful – the more the merrier – keeping me company and out of skeezy motels. And reducing the need for me to resort to my friend Jane’s suggestion of trying http://www.rentadate.com when I’m in an area where I don’t know anyone but am sick of being alone. Good thing I like plenty of alone time!

People also have many tips and words of wisdom for me. Even Nick is showing his protective side. A couple of friends recommended I try staying in hostels. They said they’re cheaper and full of friendly people looking to explore the local area. Nick doesn’t like that idea at all. He also sides with my dad in the ‘avoid Memphis’ debate. To visit Graceland or not? Worth the $30 admission charge and a ride through some not so nice areas? Not sure yet. Dad’s suggestion is to instead take a side trip to Tunica, Mississippi – specifically the casino. In fact, last night (Nick and I are in Florida for a quick visit) Dad gave us all a lesson in 7 Card Stud Poker so I can have a fighting chance if I do pop into that or any other casinos along the way. Hmmmm… they do have good buffets!

Where do you think I should go? What sites must I not miss?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »