Clive sometimes says our travel is a well-worn roundabout: we go around and around and always get off at the same places.
I can’t disagree with this view; our 2016 travel plans, at least from January through July, involve five trips and all of the above destinations.
New Year Vows
Every new year, Clive and I vow to each other, ‘This year, we’ll pace our travel.’ We want firstly to spend time with our families – scattered as they are in the USA and Australia – and also to spend time in Paris, my particular passion, and to explore new parts of the UK and other possible destinations together.
Last year we visited York in England; we hope to see another new place somewhere in the UK this year.
Two years ago, in our 2013 Christmas letter, we rather reluctantly admitted we’re not quite as young as we used to be; we find jet lag and travel fatigue more intense as the years go by.
Trying New Approaches
While continuing to visit immediate families in both hemispheres, the first change we made, beginning in early 2014, was to bring our children to us when their and our schedules permit. We’ve been so fortunate to share great family times in Felixstowe and Suffolk, London, Paris (not to forget Paris Disney), Scotland, and last year at my son’s wedding in the U.S.
More recently, this past December, when I wanted to visit my mother in New Jersey but we’d already booked time in Paris, we booked a ‘trip within a trip’.
The Felixstowe to Paris, Paris to NJ and return for more time in Paris, then back home to Felixstowe worked well. This approach gives us two trips for one set of ‘leaving home’ packing and departure tasks. We plan to do it again this spring.
2016 Travel Goal
Our travel goal this year isn’t aimed at a specific location, but at how we travel and manage our trips.
Our goal for each trip (and for the year in general) is to pace ourselves, to maintain a level of mindfulness and awareness of each moment so we truly appreciate the time we have with each family member and with each other.
A related aspiration is to remember to centre. By this I mean that when I feel my mind and/or body becoming fragmented or exhausted, when I’m putting pressure on myself or pushing myself in too many different directions, I remember what I’ve learned about travel and pacing over the years.
For example, I often try to see too many people — because you can never see everyone you want to see when visiting a particular place. I’ve learned it’s best, for me anyway, to avoid planning a ‘quick coffee’ with a friend vs. deferring it to another trip when we can spend more meaningful time together. Quick visits when one is running from one meeting to another often result in frustration and/or exhaustion.
First Stop 2016: Washington DC
I can’t wait to see my son and belle-fille in Washington DC later this month (and you too, MGLH, if you’re reading this!). After that we’ll visit my mom in New Jersey, my primary focus when we’re there. Our travel roundabout will swing back to Felixstowe and Paris for a while, before taking us Down Under for a month. That’s enough for my brain to contemplate at the moment. Beyond that, we’ll return to the U.S. for my mother’s birthday in May and a family wedding in July.
Wishing us all the perfect pace for activities in the new year, whatever and wherever they may be.
Cheers and thanks for reading. Next week’s letter will be from Felixstowe.