It’s the first thing people usually ask me when they see me. “Where have you been lately?”
It used to be because I was often posting photos from destinations around the world as I was traveling. But lately it’s because I’ve been quiet.
I haven’t been posting on Instagram much. I barely show up on Facebook. I lurk on Twitter. But I’ve been around.
So where have I been?
I’ve sort of taken the year off from posting much of anything because I’m getting divorced and it’s been an emotional roller coaster, even though it’s all amicable. I’ve been thinking about it and dealing with it and not wanting to share it.
I’ve been to Richmond.
Big deal. It’s 100 miles away, it’s where I grew up, and I go there all the time to visit my mom and siblings. But usually when I go I don’t go out much, since we have family dinners and such. This time, I went with my girlfriends, stayed at the nicest hotel in town, and hit up as many bars and restaurants as we could in 48 hours. And we found the shopping in Richmond was pretty darned fun.
I’ve been to Alaska.
My business partner, Stephen, and his wife, Juno, recently moved to Anchorage for her amazing job of a lifetime with Visit Anchorage. Though Alaska was never on my bucket list, when my mom and my aunt decided to go so that my aunt could complete her 50-state challenge at age 80 (I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing that number – she’s as lively and active as ever and a great travel companion), I jumped at the chance to tag along and discover a new place. And… wow. I could not wrap my head around the scale of things there. It looked like we were about 100 yards from the face of a glacier, and yet a helicopter hovering there appeared to be the size of an ant. I was awed by a lot of things there. It was a good place to contemplate the changes in my life and think about the future.
I’ve been missing my daughters.
My twin baby girls both started college last fall. I knew I would be missing them, so I planned a lot of travel for the period just after they left so I wouldn’t dwell on it too much. See above. See below.
I’ve been to Bermuda.
Sort of the opposite of Alaska, I guess. I went to the Family Travel Association Summit and rediscovered the reasons I got into travel in the first place. At the start of the summit, Rainer Jenss, the head of the organization, asked everyone to introduce themselves and talk about why they got into the travel business. Often, this kind of thing results in a veiled attempt to sell one’s products. But there, to a person, people talked about their belief in the power of travel to open people’s eyes and increase empathy and compassion in the world. Swoon. Plus I got to take a long walk on the beach by myself and think about things.
I’ve had a minor #metoo moment.
I won’t go into the details, but I was really disappointed in someone’s crude and drunken behavior. And the fact that it came right on the heels of the Kavanagh hearings just made it all the more insulting. So I made a stink about it to the person in charge and got some results, and a couple of apology emails that I didn’t respond to.
I’ve been to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
From the worst of men to the best of men. Another conference, another fabulous resort. This time, Nemacolin was the home for the Mid-Atlantic Travel PR Association conference. I’ve been to this conference several times in recent years to learn about what is happening in the Mid-Atlantic region – new hotels, new activities, renovations, etc. The highlight for me was a tour of Fred Rogers-related sites, culminating in a visit to his archive at Saint Vincent College, where I saw the trolley, Daniel Tiger, X the Owl, and so many sweaters and sneakers. What an amazing man Fred Rogers was!
I’ve been to the Shenandoah Valley.
I had a couple of great trips to the Shenandoah Valley last fall, one to the tiny town of Strasburg, where big things are happening with their art and beer and nightlife, and one to Getaway House, near the even tinier town of Stanardsville, where I holed up alone in a tiny house and just thought about stuff and hiked and journaled and ate the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.
I’ve been to France.
Due to a series of unfortunate (for my mom) and fortunate (for me) events, I ended up taking my mom’s place on a river cruise in France just before Christmas. I joined her regular travel companions on Uniworld’s Joie de Vivre for my first river cruise experience. I’ve been vocally anti-cruise for a long time (see my heretofore anonymous anti-cruise twitter account here), but I kept hearing about how great river cruises are, so I thought it would be worth trying, especially since it was now a Christmas gift from my mom. Stay tuned for my recap of that trip with my mom’s travel buddies coming up soon.
I’ve been curled up on my bed sobbing.
Divorce might be the right thing to do but it still hurts. Especially around the holidays.
I’ve been to Tulum.
Friends had been raving about this laid-back beach resort south of Cancun for years, and when my daughters miraculously had the same week off for spring break, I decided to use all my points and miles to get the three of us down there for a few days.
I’ve been to Tucson.
I wrote much of this from an Airbnb in Tucson, Arizona, where I joined a friend on a trip to her hometown. I’m trying hard not to fall in love with the place, since I know that it’s only this lovely 80 degree and verdant weather for a few weeks of the year. But the desert sure is gorgeous. And the fish tacos helped me gain a pound a day during the trip. The margaritas helped, too.
I’ve been playing with my kitten.
Not a euphemism! Just playing with the tiny kitten that showed up in my mom’s garden. She’s beautiful and snuggly and finally learning to use the litterbox.