There are many things that I want to be good at: there are many hobbies that I am curious about mastering, there are gymnastics moves that I wish that I could still do, there are meals that I wished that I knew how to cook, and that cherry stem knot thing that signifies superb kissing skills? I wish I knew how to do that, too.
Although my goal list is miles and miles long, ever changing, always transforming in weight and depth, there is one thing that I am quite confident about, something I know that I do pretty well.
I have a curious spirit, and I am good at satisfying my spontaneous sweet tooth.
I grew up in somewhat of a unique household. My father worked construction while my mom remained at the house they built in small-town Connecticut, raising my sister and I. Dad’s jobs over the years were sprinkled all over the Northeast, so he stayed in Boston or New York or Philly for the week and would either come home or let us come up and see him on weekends. I LOVED visiting my father on work trips- I still remember my favorite hotel as a child, with all suites surrounding one giant pool in an enclosed atrium. (Because back then, pools were on the top of my “hotel must have” list.) My mom would drive to my father on Thursday nights, we would spend the day riding trains around Boston and seeing the sights while my dad completed his last day of work, and then we would be together as a family for the rest of the weekend. The arrangement worked for all of us- I see no dark shadows when I look back on that time of my life. The trips were always something that I looked forward to- At an early age, I developed a curious outlook and an undeniable love for travel.
When I was in elementary school, my parents separated and my mom worked in our school system- she didn’t have a lot of money for day to day lavish activities. We were always busy though, and some of my best childhood memories include reading books on State Park grounds, listening to the sounds of waves from the Connecticut shoreline while 60 pages into “The Babysitters Club.” We frequented libraries and scurried around the state in search of the best playgrounds and spent a lot of time with my grandmother, who believed that a good day started with a prayer and lit candle inside church walls and ended with Italian cookies from Mozzicato’s Bakery.
This notion of filling a schedule with fun, interesting things to do, no matter the budget, was instilled in me early on, is still a part of my everyday. In college I wrote for the Johnson & Wales University Admissions office, had a student blog on their website that documented my travels, my discoveries, in and around Providence. When I moved back home after I graduated, I got creative in ways to occupy my time and still feed my conquistador spirit despite the familiar backdrop. I hiked, drank my way through the Connecticut Wine Trail, traveled abroad, explored bookstores and coffee shops.
Now living in Virginia, my husband and I have this whole new world at our fingertips. We live about 35 miles away from Washington, DC, an hour away from Annapolis, Maryland, and then in the other direction, we have sprawling forests with Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains. You bet your bottom dollar that I have itineraries for every free weekend we have!
Although I am sure that my husband would rather sit on the couch sometimes, especially after a long week of work, my ideas keep things fresh. They keep us active. Even when I drag him to, say, a sunflower farm- at first he sulks along unenthusiastically, and then he takes a photo. And then four more. Next thing I know, he has some great shots that he’s proud of and they are being hung up in our home. And the day becomes a great memory.
I am excited for the next chapter in my life, when I get to discover places and live them alongside a child, witness their curiosity and joy. For now though, I am content to roam the world with friends that I call my family, family that I call my friends, alone and at peace with myself.
Whether you live in Connecticut or the DMV, whether you are looking to travel abroad or just want some inspiration for activities, all your own… I invite you to sift through these entries, provide some of your suggestions, and tell me about your own experiences, near and far.
I’m always looking for the next adventure.