A recent trip with family to a Florida beach gave ample opportunity for philosophical thoughts about the whole process of travelling. First of all, it is apparent that our family is incapable of travelling lightly. Oh, one starts out planning to do so, but then all the ‘what-if’s’ come along. What if it rains? What if it doesn’t? What if we get hungry and can’t find a place to eat? That latter concern is somewhat strange since we could each of us last for several days on stored resources, but that statement doesn’t take into account the fact that we’d be hungry, and hungry people get cranky, and who needs cranky people in the confines of a vehicle? So there ends up being an amazing quantity of material to pack and load and then live with for many, many miles. We were very fortunate on this particular trip. This trip was comprised of three generations, with the younger generations (daughter and granddaughter) attached to their smart phones and the attendant beeps and chimes, while the older generation (grandparents) tried to patiently tolerate the attendant beeps and chimes. And as for the music played in the car along the way, well, of course, there’s always the ‘yours, mine and ours’ factor. But the group also took with us much good will, all of us excited about our destination.
So we got to the beach and unpacked and immediately set about exploring. We grandparents had been to the area before, so we were delighted to re-visit; the girls were there for the first time and we were delighted to introduce them to all our favorite places and things. This is a place that smells like herbs and pines and sea air and we all felt better almost immediately. Oh, the beauty. Oh, the interesting things to do and see.
And then there is the other side of it all. Because there is always another side. For instance, this is a very popular area, with many visitors. And regardless of the recession and all its attendant woes, it was impossible not to observe that there were lots and lots of affluent people (not us) who had no requirement for frugality at all. So the prices of everything were startling, even to us returnees. Now, there is nothing wrong with those who have the opportunity to enjoy such a place, to do so. Visitors must bring a tremendous amount of benefit to the local folks. And for all I know, many or most of the visitors may also be generous contributors to those in need. But it surely was fascinating to find ourselves strolling and listening to conversations about shopping and getting glimpses into a whole other lifestyle.
As for us, our special souvenir was given to us on our way home. There is an area where the Atchafalaya River creates an area called the Atchafalaya Basin along I-10 between Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana. This area is travelled by twin bridges, one in either direction, and they are each just over 18 miles long. At a certain time as one is headed west, in the summertime, with the sun growing lower, the sun sends a golden path along the water toward the traveler, and it is magical. One of the many, many wonders one can encounter, just travelling.