We’ve been back home for just over a week, and I just can’t seem to get my fingers to engage with the keyboard. Part of the complication is that Krista will be departing for London in a little while, and we’re trying to get as much accomplished around here as we can before then. It was a productive trip in a lot of ways, but perhaps the most significant discovery was that we do indeed live in Central New York. It felt like home, when we arrived.
This is indeed a good thing. It would be a shame to be “just visiting” for five or ten years. Just before we left, I managed to mount the turntable to the living room wall and hook it up again. The records are still in boxes, but I don’t think I’ll be needing that dashboard record player just yet.
I can’t seem to catch my stride on this trip. I think it’s because a lot of it has revolved around visiting friends. No offense but that tends to alter the disconnect that is so wonderful while traveling. Meeting people who have obligations/schedules is distracts from the freedom of travel. When the deadlines are few and far between, when there are no particular time windows or date ranges to be concerned about, it’s just easier to be somewhere. The reminder that life goes on, well, it’s distracting. There is visiting, and there is road tripping and the two things are not the same. Visiting is concrete; traveling is abstract (for me, at least).
For quite some time now it has influenced the way that I think. Hitting the road and just watching the white lines go by is mesmerizing. I don’t mind the hotels at all, in fact it’s liberating to not have to worry about cleaning up after yourself too much. But by the same token, you’ve got to stay on top of hygiene in the car or it gets to be far too funky for comfort. Living in a metal box can bring out the best and worst in people; I travel best with my wife alone because we know each other well. Even after all this time it never gets boring. We amuse each other.
I’m trying to make a conscious effort to write some this time. She reminded me this morning that you never know which trip will be your last. I think I have a lot more miles in me, but, as she says, you never know.
We passed through the birthplace of Carl Sandburg yesterday. I’m not a fan of his poetry, but I was amused to find out that he was a stereograph salesman for Underwood and Underwood. I didn’t know that. I seem to collect trivia while traveling. We’re visiting in Iowa just now, but I think I want to run away to Circus World in Wisconsin tonight. We have a few days before the obligations begin again in the Twin Cities.
Hanging out in Peoria for a moment, I’m surprised with just how, well, civilized it is. I miss the midwest. New York is very different. I knew this was going to happen. After a decade in the Midwest, I feel more at home there than I do in the East. It’s on to Iowa today, and I’m pretty sure it won’t look like Disneyland (unlike Springfield Illinois).
The summer travel season is hear again. It’s day 2 and we’re in West Lafayette, IN at Purdue. As with most trips, there have been a lot of technical issues right out of the gate, such as the new computer unlicensing my copy of Aperture. This has made it interesting trying to deal with photographs. But, luckily I have a copy of Adobe Lightroom to switch to. Now, I just have to figure out how to work it.
Krista figured out that we’ve been doing this every summer for about seven years now. The more we do it, the less we plan it. I’m not sure where we’ll go from here. I know I have to present a paper at RSA in Minneapolis next weekend, and Krista just finished hers at Computers and Writing today. So we’re free, for a while now. I just need to finish the damn paper between now and then. It dawned on me this morning when we were talking that writing is always about saying, tentatively, I plan on talking about something but I’m not quite sure what it is. Then, a few pages later you figure out what that thing really is. Then, the hard part– making what you’ve already written sound like you knew what you meant to say all along.
I turned on the old version 1 of this blog from 2001-2002, so it looks weird to see the old entries at the bottom of the page. They’ll scroll away soon enough. But it reminds me that, ultimately, I still haven’t figured out what I meant to say when I started writing this blog almost ten years ago.