Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reverb 10: Travel

Travel: How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? (Author: Tara Hunt)

I travel quite a bit for work and 2010 was no exception. I go to exotic places like Wichita, KS, or Jefferson City, MO, or Oklahoma City, OK. These are destinations I can easily reach by car and generally rent one to make the trip. Depending on the time of year, the drive isn't bad and sometimes the scenery is pretty decent, but these are not necessarily the locations that rank high on my list of places to visit for anything other than work.

Work travel did afford the opportunity to travel to the west coast this year and ordinarily that is occasion for great rejoicing. It was to be a quick trip to Eugene, OR, with a couple of quick meetings in and around Portland, and of course, a detour along the coast long enough to fill my salty-air-starved lungs with some ocean breeze. I made it as short a trip as possible so that I could get back in time to see the first of our baby goats born.

Alas, that was not to be. The Oregon trip was, shall we say, a bit longer than I'd planned. In fact, what was to be a 2.5-day trip turned into a week. I learned a lot on this trip. For starters, I learned that it is worth every penny of the $20 charge with Southwest to have them automatically check you in early. I learned Southwest Airlines is very well aware of the limits of our rights as travelers and will exploit them, no matter how well known they are for customer service. I learned that Enterprise Rent-A-Car remains true to their customer service reputation.

Being stranded for 4.5 extra days was infuriating to say the least and it took me about 3 of those just to calm down. I hiked and walked along the beach and then returned to my hotel room to write, only to feel the anger rise again. The irony is that under completely different circumstances, I would have been thrilled to spend a long weekend at the coast.

So, how will I travel in 2011? Hmm....not on Southwest Airlines, if I can avoid it. That said, I do hope 2011 brings some opportunity to travel for fun. Lisa and I are planning a long weekend trip to Seattle in late January or early February. It will be our first overnight trip together in some time and we're pretty excited about that. I look forward to seeing where she grew up and to sampling some of the restaurants she loves from that area. And, of course, it will be good once again to drink in that salty Pacific air.

For work, travel will take me to New Orleans, Minneapolis, and Nashville, in addition to the usual local exotic locations. Fortunately, these three offer some great eating opportunities, which is always a priority in travel for me. Sadly, Cafe Brenda in Minneapolis is now closed, so the opportunity to revisit one of the best meals I've ever had will not happen, but I'm sure I'll find some other good places, perhaps Spoonriver, for example. In Nashville, there are already plans for several of us to eat at Tin Angel. And New Orleans, where do I start? Maybe another visit to Dooky Chase's?

Traveling is all about eating and nature for me.

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