A Travellerspoint blog

USA

And we're off!

Mom and Baylie's Super Spectacular Road Trip 2021 Has Begun

All those flights today came together perfectly and I found my favorite person in Chicago just as planned. We were both starving so we settled for what we both agree will be the worst meal of the trip. We only had a few minutes to inhale some terrible pizza (which is probably actually against the law in a place that has a whole style of pizza named after their city), but we managed to eat and get to the gate right on time for our last easy little flight.

Grabbed our rental car at the Buffalo airport and a quick 30 minute drive brought us to our hotel right on the walkway that runs along the river to the falls. The sun was setting so we just jumped out of the car and ran to get a peek before even checking in. It felt like a spectacular start to the next ten days. Can't wait to see everything in the morning. We're hoping to catch an early Maid of the Mist boat ride.

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Posted by Pelham Family 02:31 Archived in USA Tagged falls niagara Comments (3)

I'll meet you in Chicago

An entire lifetime has passed in the ten years since I first started this blog. In the summer of 2011 I was planning a ridiculous, outlandish trip; I had a husband of 20 years and a beautiful, brilliant daughter that I was desperately (and very deliberately) trying to turn into an idealized version of the person I had always wanted to be. I had no idea what depression really was, but I had definitely been hovering around the edges of restless discontent for quite a while. We took that crazy trip, but, even crazier than that, we came home and...everything returned to normal. Life wasn't better - or worse - right away. Baylie didn't escape any of the normal difficulties of being a teenager, in fact many of the ordinary problems came with an extra serving of intensity that made a few of those years truly terrifying. Shawn and I didn't escape marital boredom, typical stresses, or the sad reality of infidelity. I dragged my family around the world to escape a malaise I could feel closing in on us from out there in the future, but it didn't work. That tidal wave of unexpected, and yet also totally predictable, unhappiness knocked our feet right out from under us, tumbled us against the rocks, and left us gasping for breath on the shore.

Everything has changed in the past ten years, except one thing. My need to escape to somewhere new with the travel partner I made from scratch. I realize that travel is something many people are still not considering, but we are choosing to hit the road. Ten days to reconnect with my bird that left the nest and flew away. Road-side stands and scenic viewpoints, playlists and pit-stops, rest areas and car snacks, historic markers and natural landmarks; it still feels like that is where life is waiting.

I am so excited to meet up with my favorite traveler at a layover in Chicago, then we are on to Niagara Falls. I figure this blog will have an audience I can count on one hand (hi mom), but it makes for a great way to record memories for myself. I can't even guess how many times I have clicked back through it over the years. So I'm going to take up a little space on the internet with my pictures and posts, even if no one ever looks at it but me.

Posted by Pelham Family 23:25 Archived in USA Comments (8)

A Quick Good-bye :)

Thanks for following along. The journey home was long, but it was very easy and uneventful. It took us both a few days to recover from jet lag and to get used to the scorching heat we came home to, but we are back to "normal" now and it occasionally feels like that whole wonderful month was just in my imagination. I now have to face a bunch of reality and I'm hoping those memories of driving around looking at elephants and searching for penguins on the beach will help me through some of what is ahead.

Until next time...

Posted by Pelham Family 07:09 Archived in USA Comments (1)

The End...until next time!

(Sorry it took so long to "finish")

I really did intend to finish off this blog with some sort of final entry, but once we got back it seems like "real life" just washed over all of us. So today I decided to really think back on the trip and come up with some conclusions. When we decided to come home after only seven months of travel I truly felt defeated and could not stop thinking of it as a failure. But now I see it as "Seven Whole Months of Travel" and I have come to the realization that it wasn't a failure at all. I am extraordinarily proud of what we did and even though I may have waffled a bit at first when people asked, "Was it worth it?" I have no hesitiation now when I say, "Absolutely!" Personally I actually feel different, as if all that cultural exposure actually did change me in a few ways. And when my wonderful daughter, who is about to turn 13, says that there is nothing she wants for her upcoming birthday because she feels "totally and completely happy with everything in her life" I have to believe that seeing the world has had an effect on her too.

Everyone has asked us, "What was your favorite place?" And I really did think that the final entry would be a list of favorites from each of us. That would have been pretty easy to do (Nicest people: Turkey, Most beautiful: Thailand, Favorite food...etc.), but since we have been home I think our reflections are actually a little more complicated than that. The place we talk about the most, by far, is India. It clearly made the biggest impression on all of us and is the source of most of our travel stories. Not one of us would have put anything about our three weeks there on a list of favorites! But looking back, I am so thankful that we went there and took on the challenge of really travelling in that most bizarre and foreign place. In retrospect, Europe was nice...but India was intense! Of course we loved Thailand, but to be honest Thailand is so easy you really can't brag about surviving three weeks or even three months in Thailand...it's paradise after all.

There is something very different about long term travel and I can't wait to do more. Of course it's a different perspective from your regular life at home, and it is also a very different perspective from a one-week vacation or an organized tour. We loved it and even though we came home broke and essentially homeless (at least until we can get back into our house in July!) it was the most valuable experience of our lives and worth every sacrifice.

See you right back here on this site just as soon as I can figure out a way to take off for South America!

Posted by Pelham Family 19:53 Archived in USA Comments (6)

Sorry, we told a bit of a fib...

Surprise, Mom!

Well, Shawn was having a strong need to get back to his businesses, Baylie was feeling pretty homesick, and I was finally forced to admit that we were basically out of money. So a few weeks ago my sister and I started working on a plan to surprise Mom with our very early homecoming. Erin invited Mom along on a day-trip to Disneyland (not a hard sell since my Mom is a bit of a Disney nut and going with her two little grandsons is something she would never pass up). Our big plan was to have them stop for a picture in front of the castle and we would magically appear to join in the picture. It worked out exactly as planned and there were screams, laughter, and tears all around.

Of course the fun of a surprise homecoming only lasts so long and then you realize, "Oh...we're home. Now what?" It's proving to be a harder transition than I expected.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who followed us along the way. It was a great feeling to know that we had a link to a familiar reality while we were jumping off into the unknown! I want to try to get Shawn and Baylie to help me with one last entry of each of our favorite things, what we each learned along the way, and the discoveries that will stick with us from now on. After that I guess this blog will sit idle until I can finally make it to South America (which might be sooner rather than later!) In the meantime, if anyone is planning an extended journey I would be happy to in my two cents and also follow your trip since mine is done.

:) Leslie

Posted by Pelham Family 08:10 Archived in USA Comments (6)

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