After such an absence from this blog—the longest continuous blank spot since I started blogging in 2005—I wonder where to begin. These days social media, blogs, and such demand a continuous stream of updates and trivia, even if there’s nothing to say. I find myself wishing for the days of paper correspondence again, where a month or two away wouldn’t be considered unusual.
Certainly much has happened in the Airstream Life world and personal life, but we’ve done no Airstream travel since arriving in Vermont back in early June and so I’ve been disinclined to fill this blog with other details. It’s not that I felt no one would be interested; it was more a matter of trying to live in the moment.
That’s because this season marks a milestone for us. Our summer location for the past decade (the place where I grew up) on the shores of Lake Champlain is going away. The house will be sold and a family tradition will come to an end. No more Tiki Bar parties on the beach, views across the broad lake to the Adirondacks, Frisbee on the lawn, tubing on the lake, sunset dinners on the deck, and nights sleeping in our Airstream beneath the old cedar trees. Knowing this, we’ve savored each day of the short and sweet Vermont summer.
That sounds sad, but I prefer to look forward. The memories of past summers and the life-shaping experiences we’ve had can never be taken away from us. Rather than bemoan what is gone, we’ll be looking to new opportunities here in Vermont and in other places. From our years of Airstream travel I have learned that there is always another adventure around the corner, if we just bother to break out of our mental rut and go look for it.
There are lots of fun things pending indeed … Some of our Vermont traditions are perennial, like evening trips to the ice cream stand, weekend Farmer’s Markets, boat rides on the lake, blueberry picking, sweet corn on the cob, the County Fair or Fire Dept BBQ, daytrips to Montreal … all those low-key and local activities that seem so small but end up being fond and important moments in retrospect. None of those things are going away.
This year we added a few things to our repertoire which will help make up for what we can’t do next year. Emma and I have had a blast exploring bike trails and urban areas on our electric unicycles, for example.
After years of borrowing motorcycles for annual rides around New England and Canada, I finally bought my own (an eBay steal) and outfitted it with luggage for week-long tent camping expeditions. The first major trip was across New Hampshire and Maine to Acadia National Park in July. It was a flawless trip. The guys are talking about a bike trip to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island next year, so there’s another nugget of the summer that will be retained.
But I remind myself that every year is different. None of us will ever be this age again and so we must seize the opportunities we have right now, or possibly forgo them forever. It’s not about what we can’t do anymore, it’s about what we can do. Everything new we do has a chance to be the next cherished memory.
Or as I always say, Airstreaming is not about where you go, it’s where you stop—and the things you do when you get there. Our Airstream has traveled exactly zero miles in the last 60 days but nonetheless it has made possible a wonderful summer.
Now it’s winding down for us. Obligations in other places are clamoring for our attention, and we’ll be getting on the road soon. Today is a prep day: cleaning the Airstream inside and out, testing systems that haven’t been used in a while, re-packing and shipping excess stuff home, making rough travel plans, etc. It’s the lead-up to yet another adventure, so even the prep work comes with a certain excitement of anticipation.
I’ll try to remember to live in the moment, even as we launch across the country knowing that a heap of obligations and responsibilities await us. A summer of savoring has been good practice. But now that summer is almost over, I’ll also try to balance that with more regular updates so that I can share experiences and lessons as we go.
Bob Martel says
Nice post, Rich. Good advice about not looking back!
David B Johnson says
Hi Rich: I did miss your letter this summer, but it makes perfect sense to wait until a new adventure. I do enjoy your blogs: And I love Airstream Life and read it cover to cover. I even keep them in the study, all issues since 06. Weird old guy I am.
It is trying to sell the Vermont place after so many years. It looks so beautiful there. We finally sold our Minnesota home which we loved, but we like Colorado equally as well. And I sold my old 66 Trade Wind this summer. It provided 4 years of enjoyable renovation work, but not much travel adventure. We travel in the Limited. We’ll try another vintage Airstream soon. I need a project trailer.
Always enjoy your writings… David