June Thoughts on Domestic Travel…

In a couple of weeks or so we’ll be off to visit my husband’s family. We’re looking forward to it. Family vacations are fun.

We love traveling in general though, actually. And it’s one of the biggest reasons we didn’t buy a house sooner. As I’ve said before, for the first year and a half to two years of our relationship (after it became serious), Mark and I mostly traveled.

We visited Ireland, Great Britain, Switzerland, Canada, Netherlands and the Bahamas internationally. In the United States we were in: South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, Arizona, Washington, Florida, North Carolina, Mississippi, Nevada, and Minnesota. (I’ve been to all but six states and need to finish my list soon!)

But, after getting married and having our first child it wasn’t as easy to just pick up our suitcases and go. It’s all so completely different traveling with young children.

Thankfully, we still managed to travel some domestically, even living in Seattle for two years and doing a fair amount of meandering during that time. Our son has spent time on both the East and West Coast (The above photo was from our family vacation to the East Coast last May. That’s a lighthouse in Maine.) And although we are “keen to cross the pond” domestic travel is easier as a family.

It’s also less scary.

Lately, all the stories about tourists dying abroad have reminded me how fortunate I was to grow-up in the 80’s and 90’s when international travel was a heck of a lot safer. Going to the Caribbean or Mexico was a careless, elegant experience back then. “We’re off to Jamaica” or “I’m spending spring break in Cozumel” was very typical to hear where I grew-up. Every spring break from fifth grade to the end of high school girls would regularly return to school with tiny, beaded braids in their hair from their time spent either on a cruise or at a resort in the tropics. They often also had a bit of a sunburn or a tan. If you looked too pale it was assumed you either went to Europe or had a boring break. Ha!

…Why, when I first was dating my husband about ten years ago, he took a vacation to Playa del Carmen for a week and it seemed very normal. Most people who were upper-middle class (or more fortunate) would travel to one hot location south of the US border once or more every year. (As mentioned, the previous owners of our house loved Oaxaca.)

But, it’s changed for the worse.

When my husband was in Dominican Republic last (I’ve never been there), over ten years ago, there were armed guards along the perimeter of the resort and it was considered unwise to venture away from the touristy places. However, he never worried about his safety in his own room, as it seems you might nowadays. And swimming in the pool didn’t have a possible link to heart attacks or respiratory failure.

My husband blames global warming for the problems. He believes that the famine induced in parts of South America and Central America by the slightly changing temperatures may be linked to the increased violence and other problems in the area. That makes sense. A tragic amount of sense…

And, actually, climate change is something to consider with great caution when traveling. A recent article in the New York Times examines the topic further…

But, we’re taking a fairly green route this time and avoiding air travel. And, when we visit outside the US we’ll do so very carefully. Perhaps living in the UK will provide the perfect moment to visit the rest of Europe without having to fly back and forth and pollute so much…

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