I’ve lived a lot of places in my life, and right now I live in Kansas. By way of introduction, rather than talking about what I do, I thought I would share snippets of where I’ve been. This month our theme is Staycation, so my hope is that these snippets will provide a bit of perspective on how I view vacationing close to home.
Along the Rhein River in Germany, there is a youth hostel that is actually a 12th century castle. I spent a week in that castle along with others in my sixth grade class. Sloping away from the castle was one of the many vineyards in this region that produced the famous German wines. This was our field trip, and we spent the days traipsing down the steep road from the castle to the ferry, touring the nearby towns, vineyards, and other castles, then trudging back up that hill at the end of every day. It was a great experience for an American Army-kid, and I appreciate it more now that I am an adult.
In Huntsville, Alabama, there is a place along the mountain path where the rock juts out a bit and you can touch the top branches of the trees growing below you. I remember hiking along the wooded path on the day I discovered it, and sitting there on the rock for a long time, taking it in. It isn’t every day that you get to touch the tops of the trees, and I felt like that experience was somewhat profound.
In San Francisco, the seafood gumbo at a restaurant in Ghirardelli Square is so fresh it tastes like the ocean smells. (Since I’m not a seafood lover, I didn’t necessarily think that was a good thing.)
In North Carolina, there are stands of pine trees that have dropped so many needles over the years that neighborhood kids use them for fort-building. The pungent fragrance of pine sap permeates the woods, and the thick bed of needles acts as a silencer to outside noises like traffic speeding by on a road just a few yards away.
In Wichita, there’s a stretch of highway north of town where you can look out as you’re driving and imagine cattle drives and outlaws — that is, as long as you’re in the right frame of mind. The rest of the time, you’ll just be thinking about a laundry list of things that need to get done, like laundry.
A few miles from Independence, Kansas, there is a well that was, presumably, dug by Laura Ingalls’ pa. There’s also a schoolhouse and a replica of the tiny cabin they lived in.
When I lived in Germany, in my childhood, when we weren’t out touring castles and cathedrals or sampling every restaurant’s Wiener schnitzel and rot kraut offerings, we watched Little House on the Prairie and Rawhide and dreamed of what it would be like to be pioneers.
Just outside of Kansas City, the interstate rises over the crest of a hill, and you can see Kansas in all of its glory. It feels like you can see all of Kansas from that place. One year I saw it and realized it was home.
Carolyn Erickson blogs at Wichita on the Cheap from her home in Wichita, Kansas. She is also an adjunct instructor at Butler Community College, a WordPress instructor for Pixel Time, and a consultant for a national blogging network. She’s the mom of a teenager, stepmom (not wicked) to two grown boys, mother-in-law to two great gals, and Grandma C. to two boys, with a third grandson on the way — maybe this week!