I am drafting this post as I fly over the Rockies on my way once again to Montreal for the last of three fall foliage cruises. Each has been a little different, one going up to Noofin Land ( which I am told by Newfoundlanders is how the word is pronounced), one going down the eastern seaboard to Boston, and this one continuing further to Fort Lauderdale. The fall foliage is fading, winter is coming, and Canada cruising will be over for the year with this voyage.
I started my North America part of My Year of Living Travelly with a few weeks in Alaska, going between Canada and the US and now I am ending it on the other coast doing the same. When I started, the first leaves were starting to yellow, and now the last will be fluttering to the ground.
In between was the seasonless world of San Diego. Friends from Connecticut sent Dan and me a beautiful foliage photo taken on a walk in their neighborhood, and we responded by sending one of the lone tree in Balboa Park we could find that was losing its leaves, although in more a shrivel of dull rust color than the loop and swirl of yellows and oranges drifting to the ground
So now here I am, airborne again, heading out on—what is it?—my eleventh cruise in my fifth part of the world with my seventh travel companion (Dan twice) in my eighth month of Living Travelly. A good a point as any for a little reflection.
It’s nice to be in San Diego for a while. I have deep roots here—more than half a century living here makes me just about a native. But it’s different to come back for a couple of weeks than to come back with no expectation of leaving for a while. There’s the rush to fit in seeing friends, but that is balanced by a feeling that there is hardly any point in picking up activities one is going to stop doing again very soon. I had a number of great lunches with people I love seeing, but I played tennis only once, and I didn’t swing a gold club at all. I see announcements for things the social activist in me would want to participate in, but the reality is that I will be back in my other world before the events take place. Ads for upcoming movies, shows, and events remind me that I won’t be here for any of it.
As I leave once again I can say with even greater certainty that I am dislodged and displaced, but not at all discombobulated or dismayed. I belong nowhere in particular which means I belong equally wherever I am.
Maybe the seasonlessness of Southern California has a little bit to do with the way I am feeling. People elsewhere are turning their thoughts to preparing for winter. There’s rarely a “now or never” feel in San Diego. Tomorrow will be pretty much the same. It’s okay to leave.
I will admit that I felt no frisson of excitement heading out to Montreal this time. This will be my fifth time on the St. Lawrence River and most of my questions have been answered about it, and desires met. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to go. It doesn’t mean I am getting tired of the life I have chosen. It just means I am having a bit of a delayed reaction to what the opportunity represents.
Now that I am actually headed there, I am excited about sleeping in Montreal tonight, excited about walking around the port tomorrow, excited to go back to a couple of great shops I found and a few lovely places to stop, breathe, and look around. Excited to get back on a ship I haven’t been on in a while, to see who i know on the crew, and what cabin i will have. Excited to unpack all my stuff and start doing the dressing for dinner and the other girly things I love about cruising. Excited to be sharing the beauty of the area and the fun of the ship with my friend Annie. Excited to feel the nip of fall on my cheeks. Yes, here I am ready to go again! Montreal and Silver Wind, here I come!