Day 210 of the Nowhere To Be Project was spent lazily sipping sangria at Blue Moose Pizzeria in the Lionshead corridor of Vail. While the sangria was effervescent, fruity and refreshing, the best part was the price, $2.18. This was just one more wonderful promotion for Vail’s restaurant week. There are still several days left to enjoy affordable food in Vail and that’s not something we can say very often! Cheers!
On day 208 of the Nowhere To Be Project I dined alone as I so often do. In my mind, there are very few dinner companions as alluring as a good book. As I sat in bliss, eating and reading, the conversations of those around me seeped into my awareness. Some were bantering on about recent events in what sounded like a catch-up chat. Others whispered with gossip-filled glee. One elderly woman was happily spewing word after word and sentence after sentence, so much so that I wondered how she was managing to squeeze in bites of her meal. She just sounded so thrilled to be in the presence of others. A conversation like that would have completely exhausted me today. I guess that’s another benefit of retirement, I no longer have to speak for my dinner.
As a professor, I lectured for a living. I had to be wordy, funny, engaging, energetic and affable. If I failed, my students failed by zoning out and missing key content. I was paid to be an extrovert. Over time, this was incredibly draining because my natural inclination is toward introversion. I would come home after a day of lecturing for eight hours and stare at the television, not really watching it, but needing its drone to unwind my brain. After today’s solo meal I stumbled over the most wondrous blue pumpkins. They were sort of hidden and I’d no doubt have missed them if I’d been with another, embroiled in conversation. Not to be hyperbolic, but these pumpkins were the most beautiful shade of grey-blue-lavender that I’ve ever seen! Their seductive color not only reminded me of the beauty of silence, but reinforced the value of solitude. There’s just so much to see in the world, so many blue pumpkins, and I’d hate to miss a thing.
Day 207 of the Nowhere To Be Project was the best Sunday of late. It began as most of my days do with coffee by the fire followed by a thigh-busting Peloton ride. Then it was on to a lovely creekside lunch with my daughter and a walk through the second to last farmer’s market of the season. Finally, a long windy walk with the pup through layers of crunchy fallen leaves closed out the day in quiet solitude with nary a person in sight.
The perfection that was today represents most Vail days at this time of year. This leads me to Vail’s best kept secret: October is the optimal time to visit. There’s a saying around town that people come for the winter, but stay for the summer. That may be true, but is very short-sighted because it doesn’t mention the glorious month of October. October is a time when the leaf-peepers are mostly gone, and when the town looks to the locals instead of the tourists to fill the coffers. I can confidently say that there are more dogs than people in Vail in October! This means that everything is ON SALE. From restaurant week (more on that later in the week) to the end-of-the-season sales in most shops and hotels, bargains abound. In short, prices in Vail fall with the quaking Aspen leaves. That first snowflake will usher in the harsh reality of living in one of the priciest communities around (recently ranked #1 most expensive in Colorado), so get here now if you’re like me and live for the bargain!
On day 205 of the Nowhere To Be Project I visited an adorable new shop in the Vail Valley called Maker+Stitch. The Edwards, Colorado boutique’s website describes it as a yarn shop. It certainly does have a bounty of beautiful yarn from all over the world. It also has a few ready-made pieces for sale. I loved literally everything they had available for purchase, but as a knitter with very primitive skills I don’t yet feel worthy of a $20 or $30 skein. Thankfully, they offer classes, workshops and other events focused on teaching and learning needle crafts. I hope to try a class in hopes of improving my skills to a level that would warrant fine yarn. Perhaps even better than the classes are their planned retreats which strive to combine the inspiration that only nature can provide with needle work. These outings take advantage of the beauty of the Vail valley to inspire creativity and may include a hike, snowshoeing, or even skiing.
My visit to Maker+Stitch reminded me how fun it is to incorporate hobbies into travel. I would love to plan an entire trip around knitting, or genealogy, or hiking, but have yet to do so. I always try to include my hobbies in some way on my travels (e.g. knitting while on the road in the RV, hunting down cemeteries for genealogy, etc.) but have never planned a trip entirely around a hobby. Have you? If so, I’d love to hear all about it. Feel free to reach out via twitter, instagram or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your hobby travel experiences and ideas.
Unusually, day 202 of the Nowhere To Be Project was not a travel day. That, of course, means that it was all about food. When I’m not traveling (and eating), I’m cooking at home (and eating). Food is most definitely a passion and since becoming vegan nearly a year and a half ago, I’ve had to renegotiate recipes and favorite meals. I’m not a salad eater nor am I a preachy vegan because I believe that everyone is entitled to their own lifestyle, food included. However, I know that eating more vegetables is never a bad thing. I wasn’t raised on vegetables (unless they were canned, haha), so it has been a transition to say the least. All I can say is that I’ve never felt better in my life and I chose to “go vegan” primarily for health reasons. Guess what? It’s working! My most recent blood work reveals superior levels on every single measure. Furthermore, I have no vitamin deficiencies despite the lack of the animal products and (somewhat frustratingly) my weight has stayed about the same. People often ask me how a true foodie can possibly avoid animal products. Here’s a glimpse into a recent day…
As you can see, no matter where I am I eat well. As a constant traveler, I’m forever trying new foods and hunting down vegan options wherever I go. I’m always happy to share my home recipes if you’re interested. Just reach out via email at email@example.com, twitter or instagram.
Day 191 of the Nowhere To be Project placed us back in our beloved RV, the Tiny Dancer, Too. If you’ve been reading my recent posts, you know that I’m totally obsessed with autumn. In the mountains of Colorado, we’ve been getting an early taste of the awesome beauty of fall with cooler air, bursting colors and festivals galore. Everything good comes to an end (including fall), but we are going to do our best to enjoy every minute of it.
With that goal in mind, we’re going to roam up to Wyoming and see what’s happening up there before making our way home very slowly through Colorful Colorado. I literally have the words of my beloved Dolly Parton in my mind (Here you come again…and there I go!) as we roll along in search of anything and everything autumn. Much, much more to come…
I spent day 182 of the Nowhere To Be Project driving. Driving is a fabulous way to travel even when you’re not really traveling. It can be as simple as taking a new route to work or school to find a fresh new perspective. Road trips, more than any other mode of travel, offer catharsis. Roaming foreign roads is both hypnotic and healing as each twist and turn has the power to unveil something new. Some days I just drive aimlessly, inevitably ending up smack dab in the middle of nowhere. Nowhere is unlike any other destination. It soothes the soul. Nowhere rejuvenates the spirit. Nowhere is an ideal destination!
On Day 163 of the Nowhere To Be Project we arrived in Bergen, Norway. Norway is known for cold air and abundant rain and today was no different. Travel tip: pack a hooded raincoat when visiting Norway. I did not and was soaked to the bone by what the locals call “Norwegian Sunshine” (rain…over 80 inches each year)! Umbrellas are pretty useless here as the wind can get fierce.
Bergen itself is a busy port city filled with seafood, boats and tourists. The colorful wooden row houses are the signature of this former capital city. Travel tip two: bring a very fat wallet for a visit to Norway because prices are at least double what one might pay in the U.S. for the same item. A pint is $15 and an average glass of wine around $25. The ever-popular Norwegian sweaters range from $200 to $600. A casual dinner for two can easily cost several hundred dollars. We kept (most of) our money and enjoyed the free scenery instead, haha. It is very easy to whittle away the hours just watching the boats come and go and we did that very thing with great pleasure.
Day 161 of the Nowhere To Be Project places us eleven days into our two week British Isles Explorer voyage aboard the Viking Sky. We docked in Invergorden and joined an optional tour to visit the battlefield of Culloden. The drive through the lush heather-covered rolling hills of the Scottish Highlands was so peaceful that the horror of what happened at Culloden on 16 April 1746 nearly escaped us. That is, until we stepped foot on it. Tombstones etched with clan names dot the grounds to mark the mass burial sites. We were told that after the battle, wives and mothers came to identify and bury their kinfolk only to be raped by the loyalists who had defeated the Jacobites so fiercely. Sadly, the humiliation didn’t end there. Following the battle, clans were no longer allowed to dress in their tartans and were not permitted to speak in their native tongue, Scots Gaelic. So many men died which wiped out many Highlanders clans. The Fraser clan was so depleted that men from outside the clan were offered twenty pounds to change their names to Fraser! Today’s visit was so moving, rivaling the time I spent on Omaha Beach in Normandy. Both are tricks of the mind…so much natural beauty, yet so incredibly tainted by the ignorance of war.
Day 153 of the Nowhere To Be Project marked my 47th year of life and the fourth day of our British Isles Explorer voyage onboard the Viking Sky. The morning was spent at the spa as we cruised the English Channel. A deep-tissue massage followed by a few minutes in the hydrotherapy pool gave me a lot of time for reflection. I am so grateful for the life I’ve had, especially for the many low points. It is easy to wish away bad days, but without those I probably wouldn’t be as profoundly appreciative of the good ones. Speaking of good days, my husband and I raised a glass to at least 47 more years as we floated in the infinity pool and watched the world go by. Can life possibly get any better?