We spend on average 40+ days a year away from home and find ourselves planning our next trip before returning from the last. I find myself planning trips that I am not ready (or planning) to take. I plan for everyone around me whether they ask or not, and at less than ideal times (an unofficial sign on my office door at work said “Unlicensed Travel Agent”).
Earlier this year a friend gave me a NY Times article by Stephanie Rosenbloom (What a Great Trip! And I’m Not Even There Yet) that discusses the thrill of planning the trip. Yep, I get a real thrill from planning – making checklists, reading reviews – and examining the individual that created the review (ie: how many hotel reviews has he/she created, are they all typically the same as in really poor or excellent or a variety, do they typically stay in 5 star resorts and are now comparing this 2 star b&b to what they are used to?) I know, most people find research and organization repulsive. Not me.
A vacation in the sense of the word as it is known is never enough for me. Over the years we had joked about “selling it all” and traveling but it always just seemed so distant and untouchable. After all, we had been living the American dream. In 2003 we purchased a house that over the years we turned into a home. A haven of what we love. We had it all, the house in a little village that we helped to revitalize. We lived only a train ride from NYC, and a 20 minute ferry ride or drive to the beach.
Why would we want to give it all up? Well, we were living a dream, but it was no longer ours. We both had been feeling fed up with careers. I had a few great reinventions of myself but found that now I was just dabbling in a few different things with a 9-5 job to make up the difference in order to go on vacations. My feeling was that having a career at this moment in time was not what I was looking for, but Daryl was only just reaching this conclusion and the first trip to Hawaii sealed the deal for him. We had come to a decision for change.
We came home from our first trip to the Big Island of Hawaii in 2013 to a snowy, wet, cold and gray early March. On the flight home we felt homesick for Hawaii and vowed to start cleaning out and getting rid of some “stuff.” Quite amazing how much stuff can be amassed in a 1,000 sq ft home over 11 years. For a number of years we had lived by a “something comes in, something goes out” rule, but we still had lots to part with. Before we knew it we were back in Maui and Kauai, and after returning from that trip quickly booked another back to the Big Island and to Oahu.
We loved it there so much we even planned a trip for the middle of the summer on Long Island. If you know Long Island at all, you know that you basically live here all year anticipating the summer. Miles of sandy beaches, beautiful skies, and the only time of the year where people slow down from living life 100 mph to 97 mph… ok, maybe 95 mph.
The fall of 2013 Beth Giacummo and I created the NY Contemporary Arts Symposium (NYCAS) to bring 12 international artists to NY to create and collaborate with each other and the community. At this point I realized I was done with traditional life as I knew it. Meeting the artists here for the residency instilled a feeling of being trapped by circumstances. I loved my house and my life – just not my situation.
Now I was faced with the opportunity to be apart of residencies in other countries. I have had to turn down invitations to participate in both Romania and Austria, and what for? In January we headed off to Toledo, Spain with a gaggle of friends to be apart of NYCAS artist Fernando Barredo de Valenzuela art happening surrounding the release of his book and the 400th anniversary of El Greco’s death. Participating in the event reminded me that life is about more than living someone else’s dream.
On our flight home from our 3rd trip to Hawaii that year just 6 weeks after being in Spain, it was settled. We were selling our house and moving to Hawaii… well, maybe after spending some time exploring Europe. Oh yeah, and one more quick vacation back in Hawaii before leaving for Europe!