Anticipation, remembrance, and reality

We might call him Dopey, but at least he's getting paid to be there. And he's not waiting in any lines, either.  Disney World, summer 1995

We might call him Dopey, but at least he’s getting paid to be there.
And he’s not waiting in any lines, either. Disney World, summer 1995

“Most travel is best of all in the anticipation or the remembering; the reality has more to do with losing your luggage.”Regina Nadelson

“Just get on any major highway, and eventually it will dead-end in a Disney parking area large enough to have its own climate, populated by large nomadic families who have been trying to find their cars since the Carter administration.”Dave Barry

Yesterday I talked about believing in fairy tales.  Today, let’s temper that with a bit of realism.

At this time of year, I typically start dreaming of travel.  In years past, this usually meant planning actual trips, but that’s something that has been put on the back burner lately, so I’m searching for reasons to be relieved at that rather than disappointed.

If you too are planning to forgo travel this year, there are plenty of reasons to be happy about it.  I’m not thinking here of the fun of taking local “staycations” as a substitute.  Primarily, I’m referring to all the elements of travel that are less appealing.  Is it just me, or do these seem to multiply as time passes?  I could mark this up to aging and getting tired and grouchy, but it’s an indisputable fact that air travel in decades past did not involve choosing between full body radiation that produces arms-up quasi-nude images somebody in a closet somewhere is looking at, versus waiting in line for a public pat-down.

Of course, you can always travel by car.  Or maybe I should say, you can sometimes travel by car.  In the DC area, this means avoiding the hours of 6-10 a.m. and 3-7 p.m.  Your actual traffic experiences may vary based on weather, accidents (yours or someone else’s), construction, and other unpredictable factors that sometimes seem to be related to the alignment of the stars and planets.

So, it’s a great year to be staying home!  Or so I keep telling myself.  Meanwhile, I’ll enjoy the anticipation of future trips, and the remembrance of past ones. If you’re planning a trip this year, have fun and be sure to send us some photos, horror stories, or both.

Happy Birthday today to Beth and Janice, two friends
who helped me create many happy memories of having fun while staying home!

One year ago today:

It’s helpful to remember


  1. There is a third way that travel experiences can be remembered, and that is humorous. A trip that was planned for years, that finally comes to fruition can surprise the heck out of you. I can attest to that. If you need a pick-me-up you can read all about it in The Italian Thing. I am sure it will lift your spirits and keep you laughing. When ever I get that travel bug and know I will not be able to accomplish my wants, I take out the photos of that trip to Sicily where we spent just over a month and I smile. Cheer up spring is on it’s way.

    • Patricia, just last week I bought a copy of The Italian Thing for my Kindle and though I’m in the middle of another novel right now, I couldn’t resist taking a peek at the very beginning – I know I will enjoy it! It might be the closest I get to Sicily for awhile, so I’m looking forward to seeing it through the eyes of a family member visiting relatives. That’s always a more authentic snapshot than I would get on any tour. Thanks for being here!

      • Always a pleasure to read your posts Julia. Thank you for all the pleasant and heartwarming stories. I hope you will enjoy reading The Italian Thing and viewing all the photos that are included. It was a trip that will live in my heart forever. Enjoy!

        • Wow, photos? I did not notice that. Now I am really excited. I love the one on the cover.

          • The photo on the cover are the relatives, well some of them. Now you know who you will be dealing with. They are a million laughs and the most loving people I ever met. :o)

            • 🙂 Can’t wait to “meet” them! 🙂

  2. There’s nothing like friends to get you through…sending hugs. xo

    • Thank you M! 🙂

  3. Sheila

    Good morning, Julia. Aren’t the vacation photos so much fun to enjoy, long after the trip? Since we live close to a vacation destination, Myrtle Beach, we really look forward to enjoying the upcoming months before the crowds arrive. Each year this area is seemingly more popular and tourist season seems longer. Is that an age thing? 🙂 It’s especially fun when the grandchildren come, since they live close but not on the beach. They know we have their beach closet ready with chairs, umbrella, towels in beach totes, coolers, and ALWAYS Orange Crush drinks. It makes me happy just to anticipate the fun. Sunbeams this Saturday morning are wonderful, too! Happy Birthday to Beth and Janice….enjoy your special day!

    • Sheila, in your case I don’t think it’s just an age thing. Jeff told me yesterday he has been reading a lot of stories (in places such as Kiplinger’s and other similar magazines) that South Carolina is a very HOT (no pun intended) destination right now, as well as a frequent mention on “best places to live” lists. The secret is out, my friend! Batten down the hatches and get ready to chill out during the crowded months. YES, just anticipating the fun can bring such joy. We have a beautiful sunny day here today, too. My temperature gauge says it’s 36 but surely it will be warmer later on. I’m getting outside regardless! Have a wonderful weekend!

      • Sheila

        Congratulations on 100,000 plus! Every post brightens my day and I thank you.

        • Thank you, Sheila! You went a long ways toward getting us to that 100,000 mark! I thank you too, your comments brighten my day! 🙂

  4. I love this photo. Dopey is my favorite of the Dwarfs. He doesn’t talk but he makes his feelings clear. As to travel I doubt we will be doing any this year although my mother wants me to come to CA for a reunion. I dread the trip. If I go I will have to go alone and due to limited days off from work I am going to have to make it a long weekend. Hmmm so far not sounding fun. On the other hand some friends of mine from high school are going on a cruise to celebrate their 50th birthdays. Of course their husbands didn’t loose their jobs just as they were paying for a wedding and buying a house in an extremely overpriced area so they could stay in the state where one of their kids wanted to go to one of the most expensive colleges in the state. Not that I am complaining. They did invite us to join them last summer when they started the planning and at that time I was hoping for a change in fortune for Stephen and I. God clearly has a different plan for us so in short, no I am planning only staycations this summer. AND Kat and Jerry have invited us to join us for a few days in Asheville NC while Jerry’s mom and dad are here in April. I am looking forward to that. So it’s not all work and no play. I hope you and I are still planning a day trip to the book fair. 🙂 I have found over the years there are no perfect vacations for us but we have been blessed to travel much and see and experience so many things I can’t begin to count. As yesterdays photo can testify. What a great trip that was. It went soooo fast. I loved everything we did but the I think the best day was Domremy. It was such a quiet little place and the church and museum paid so much honor to Joan. What a history. I must sign off. Thank you for this photo and the thoughts. Happy staycations this summer to you and the boys. Be sure to plan a visit to the Hill ice cream parlor!! It’s close by. I love you.

    • Amy, I am so grateful to Aaron for keeping you here in Virginia, at least for now! We will just have to keep planning our future trips over, we can take one of those fabulously priced transatlantic cruises in one direction, and hop back on a military flight – if we get stuck in Europe, well, c’est la vie! 🙂 I’m so happy you can remember Domremy as the best part (I agree) despite our adventures in the dark French countryside that night after the mishap with your car. It’s one of those things I write about here, way more fun to remember that little detour than it was to live it at the time (although there were laughs even then, that gendarme was so baffled by us – I can just imagine him thinking “Les Américains sont tres bête!”) I am looking forward to my next staycation at the Hill Ice cream parlor, maybe we can go there after your birthday dinner at Cracker Barrel! Love you too!

  5. Raynard

    Julia you know our road trips are not called Smokey and the Bandit/Cannonball runs for one Western Pa followed by Surprise Virginia Beach.As we speak now on our way to Philly to the flower show.going back to using digital camera so give me a couple of days to send blessed

    • Hey Raynard let me know when you will be going to VA Beach – if we are in the area maybe I can take a photo of y’all at the Belvedere! 🙂 Enjoy the flower show and take lots of photos!

  6. LOL – The reality of our latest attempt at a “perfect” vacation came crashing in on me recently. Your post is on the heels of one I wrote recently about said vacation.
    I’m sure reading about it will give you more reasons to stay home. 😉

    • Barb, yes it did! But it brought some big grins too. When I was first reading it, I thought, WOW, how can she be LAUGHING at this? I would have smoke coming out of my ears! But then you did make a good point, one we have learned quite well in the past 18 months, about these things being SMALL in the great scheme of things. Thanks so much for sharing that link here! It fits in PERFECTLY with today’s post! 🙂

  7. Look at those guys, cute or what? It must be magical to see the wonder in your children’s eyes. It’s funny you’re sharing a photo from Disneyland because that was probably one of my least enjoyed destinations of any holiday, HA! Dave Barry hit’s the nail on the head.

    It’s actually the very first place Mr B and I ever traveled to together. He really, really wanted to see Disneyland and I had no desire. I barely got thru the day, it was super hot and extremely crowded (we hit American spring break). We waited in excess of an hour at every attraction. Being slightly claustrophobic didn’t help. The breaking point was in a line-up that corrals hundreds of people back and forth in a very small space. It was underground, dark, noisy, hot…… I started to cry. Well sob really and told Mr B, “I have to go back to the hotel”. That was our first trip together….LOL “how do you like me so far?”

    We’ve talked about the whole airport thing before so I won’t beat that up again but those two days of going to the destination and returning home are usually the pits. There’s no glamour or cache left in the industry at all. It’s also great that whole families can afford to fly to fabulous destinations now, we sure never did. But that often leaves the rest of the passengers at the mercy of overtired, scared and unhappy little ones. Oh the joy’s of travel…HA!

    • K, I would never, ever, ever go to Disney at the crowded times. I have made it almost a science to avoid them, by researching the high-traffic days and crowd patterns ahead of the trip. I have also learned to work the Fast Pass system to maximum advantage, running all over and picking up our Fast Passes strategically so that we never have to wait in any lines. I CANNOT STAND to wait in lines while paying to do so!! So the takeaway is, you need to go to Disney with me sometime 🙂 because it definitely is NOT fun to go through what you have described.

      All of the above goes doubly for air travel at crowded times. One thing I got out of growing up traveling Space-A my whole life is a keen awareness of how much better it is to NEVER go anywhere when crowds are at peak. Sometimes it can’t be avoided (such as if you want to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom) and it seems everyplace is more and more crowded these days, but it can still be worked in such a way as to minimize the hassles. Or so I tell myself. 🙂

  8. Jenelle

    Cherry blossoms in full bloom. Now that is a vacation to me! Last week I read an article (with gorgeous pics) about that festival in Japan. Spectacular. I just know that the perfect and much needed vacation is in your future. Dreaming about where that might be and how’ll you’ll rest and spend your time could be a fun past time while you wait. I’m waiting for my special trip and will dream with you 🙂

    • Thank you Jenelle! Dreaming and planning really is half the fun. Maybe more. Plus it can be practical too, if we keep notes from those who have been there about what to do or not do. I hope you can get to DC sometime when the cherry blossoms are at peak, but there is a lot of luck involved in that, since it’s so brief and unpredictable.

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