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The Year Of The Short Trip

Lately it seems I’ve been checking 3 or 4 new countries off my list each year.  Traveling is what I love to do.  And people keep asking me where my next trip is going to be.  But my response is unusual: I don’t know.  I normally have my travel plans for the year all done and planned by now.  I might have even gone on a big trip already.  But 2012 is different.  Because of lots of things - work stuff, money stuff, personal stuff - I haven’t been focused on planning a ‘big’ trip.  

But I have spent a lot of time on an airplane (thanks to work).  And I have been places.  So as I reflected on my current travel state, I decided this year will be the year of the short trip.

After all, time is precious when you’re taking a short trip. 

Short trips, long weekends, mini breaks - whatever you want to call them - can be great.  Sometimes short trips give you just the time you need to disconnect from day-to-day life and connect with a place that is new and different.  They can be a jump start to get you inspired and shake off the mundane.  While I definitely prefer to take my time immersing myself in a place, short trips force you to jump in and absorb a place quickly.  They make you prioritize.  They also force you to become more aware of where you are and what you’re seeing.  After all, time is precious when you’re taking a short trip.  Plus, short trips can be less stressful because you don’t have to worry about the hundreds of emails waiting for you at work since you just took a day or two off.

This year, my short trips have taken me to New York City and Las Vegas.  I took a long weekend in New York because I wanted to spend time in a place I used to call home and might want to call home again.  Honestly, in a lot of ways, I’ve become bored by the Mid West.  And about 9 months ago I decided it was time to move back East.  But I had doubts.  I figured spending 5 or 6 days back in NYC would be enough to convince me if I was ready to move back.   New York is a place of great contrasts, and that is exactly what I experienced.  Great fun and excitement, and great boredom and loneliness.  While I’m still unsure if I will move back to NYC, what I realized over the course of  a few days is you can feel bored and alone anywhere.  Even in a city of millions.  So maybe the Mid West isn’t so bad. 

In Las Vegas, I developed a new relationship with of all things, my camera.  I’ve had a lot of fun using my camera to capture my travels.  And up until now, it’s been just that - fun.  But looking through my lens in Las Vegas changed me.  My eye changed; I saw light, and color and texture differently.  I framed shots differently.  And now I can’t look through my lens without thinking about the joy (is that the right word?) I felt snapping away. 

So my friends, don’t discount what a weekend away can do for your soul. 

A weekend away may give you the good swift kick in the pants (as my Grandpa used to say) to change something in your life.  I might make you appreciate something you currently take for granted.  Or it might help you reenergize and get inspired.  So find an open weekend, and plan one.  

More short trips on the docket for me: Colorado and Montreal.  Perhaps a camping trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, or a long weekend in Washington, DC.  And maybe a day trip here and there, spending time hiking in the Ohio hills (yes there are hills in Ohio).  Where ever I go, I promise to take you along with me.


And why the sparkler photo for this post?  Well short trips can be exciting and fun, but short-lived.  Just like a sparkler, you’ll want to make the most of that bright light while it lasts.

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