The Road Less Traveled
A Writer’s Book of Days (01/11) – You Are In A Motel Room
Mom, my sister Alyse, and I watched from the window as a freight train rumbled on in the distance. Ten, 25, 50, 80 cars – we lost count after 100. The motel we stayed in was in the Mohonk Valley of upstate New York. My friend Erin was having her Sweet Sixteen party at her new home in Edmeston, a town that falls in the middle of the Schenectady-Syracuse-Binghamton triangle. We decided to take a road trip up from Long Island.
It’s hard to believe that this was the same New York we live in. We saw green valleys for miles and miles from the hotel room. We’d gone horseback riding, explored Howe Caverns, ate lunch in a town with only one traffic light, tried sulfuric spring water in Saratoga, and passed many, many cows. It was a far cry from the ocean beaches, Long Island Railroad, and miles and miles of strip malls I was used to.
That road trip wasn’t as glitzy as many of the vacations my friends had taken – weeks at Martha’s Vineyard, transcontinental flights to California, resort stays in Mexico. We didn’t have that kind of money.
But I didn’t know that. Mom always made sure our trips – this was our first multiple-day jaunt since I’d gone to Disney World at five – were full of fun, unique, and memorable experiences, even if they didn’t cost a lot of money.
Even though our money situation has improved drastically since then, we still don’t go for the glitz. Vacations are spent meandering and exploring, sometimes throwing the map to the wind. Luckily, my fiance Lexcie shares the same traveling philosophy. Our house is full of treasures from those trips – rocks, seashells, little trinkets picked up at a small town gift store.
It’s finding a stone with the words “THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES” painted on while horseback riding in the Mohonk Valley. Eating stinky tofu in a little mining town in Taiwan. Finding a free pair of roller blades on the side of the road while taking a different route than originally planned. Buying the most comfortable hammocks ever from a seaside shack on Prince Edward Island. Visiting Islip, England just because it has the same name of your hometown.
You never know what you’ll find along the road less traveled.