When the Moody Blues released their 1968 song; (Thinking is) The Best Way to Travel, I embraced the idea hook line and sinker. As the internet offered more and more on-demand wonders of the world and beyond, I saw it as my window to the world and was very happy to remain an armchair traveller.
… and yet, some how I have sketched my way from Victoria to Amsterdam to Cuba and back (see my travel portfolio).
In the last 30 years, I have been to; Vancouver, Dominican Republic, Vermont, Michigan, Atlanta (just before the 1996 Summer Olympics), Barbados, San Francisco, New York, New Mexico, Montreal, Salt Spring Island BC, Manitoulin Island ON, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Boston, Chicago, Newfoundland, Ottawa, and Cuba.
Lori has perfected Kaz-simple travel practices. On one of our early vacations, she found an on-line travel check list to counter my “I can’t leave my stuff” argument. I still use variations of that list, even for overnight trips. Another trick was to make the trips as Kaz-friendly as possible. All I really need to do is pack my bags with my stuff. Destination, transportation, accommodations, art galleries, and a relaxed itinerary are all planned out and booked. Time and cost were also part of my resistance story, but now that I’m retired, and Lori is characteristically frugal, these objections have gotten much harder to defend.
And if this wasn’t enough, we are very good travellers together. Neither of us have any fear of flying, we enjoy the same kind of things like visits to local attractions, galleries and museums. Neither of us go in for shopping and we have aged into a mutually comfortable and leisurely pace often discovering unexpected local gems. One of the best things is that we get a lot of café and park sitting time, Lori reads, anything in print really, and I sketch.
One safe haven for me was the Lyons’ cottage, Lori’s family cottage since the late 1970’s. It was always a warm and welcoming place. It never had a phone, but it did have hydro and, by 1993, indoor plumbing too. Until it was sold in 2016, it was always our go-to getaway place. Our first stay of the year was the May 24 long weekend, which coincides with Lori’s birthday, and our last stay was Thanksgiving when the extended Lyons family came up for the day.
The cottage was three hours away on Harvey Lake near Dorset, east of Huntsville. It is a small lake with 10 cottages surrounded by crown land. No one but Harvey Lake cottagers have access to lake or road, it so it was always a serene place to stay. The first thing I did when we arrived was set up my art table (an old and reliable cottage card table) by the widow. The last thing I did when leaving was fold it down and put it away as part of my routine packing up.
Even now in this post 2016 era, cottage vacations are not gone. There are still one or two weeks or long weekends at rented cottages. One that Lori found is at Fenelon Falls ON, just an hour away from Uxbridge. It’s circa 1970’s cottage décor but comfortable enough. It also has Wi-Fi, good swimming and great cross breeze to keep away the bugs, even in May and June. It has a patio table that is brought indoors to serve as my art table. See some of my Harvey Lake sketches.
And oh, did I mention that part of the plan usually includes a cottage country art studio tour.
From armchair traveller to actual traveller – it happened in 2001.
I agreed to go to Amsterdam for our 10th anniversary. By now Lori had truly honed her travel planning skills. Again, all I had to do was pack my bags. It was a pretty terrific trip and the next one I figured wouldn’t be needed for another 10 years for our 20th anniversary.
But somehow since then I’ve been to New York, Vancouver, and Salt Springs Island, all before our 20th anniversary Barcelona trip. And since then to New Mexico, Boston, Chicago, Newfoundland, Victoria and Cuba. How do these things happen?