In the past two weeks, I have gone from one coast of this country to the other. I had clams on Cape Cod served to me by folks with Boston accents so thick I almost needed a translator, and then watched surfers in Malibu and swam laps on a rooftop pool in ollywood that looked like it was part of a reality TV set (and had me singing the Sesame Street song One of these things is not like the other one as I was surrounded by aspiring movie stars in thong bikinis!) It is still amazing to me that I can start my day in one state and part of the country and end it in another. And in traveling as much as I have the last few years, I have gained a new appreciation for the vastness of our country, and for the many parts of it I have now glimpsed and want to continue to explore with David and the kids. I have started a running list on my phone of restaurants that warrant return trips all on their own, and excursions and spots that need to be shared, like ocean kayaking in Maine and biking across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito in California.
On my last two advocacy trips (when I am traveling to events and medical offices to share my cancer story), I have done a lot of driving. The distances were such that it was a wash as far as time goes whether I should have flown or driven, but in those cases I always choose to drive because I like seeing the geography I am traversing, and the miles have more meaning that way. And somehow my GPS now has scenic route as its default setting, which makes these trips longer (especially when I don’t notice until it is too late that I am taking the least expeditious route) but oh so much more enjoyable. I drove from San Luis Obispo to Pasadena, avoiding the highway the whole way. I saw vineyards that stretched for miles, and then gave way to farmland with cows and horses and crops of all the things Californians are so lucky to have locally grown. I then drove by dramatic cliffs that led to spectacular ocean views, and I pulled off the road a couple of times to watch the surfers tackle waves that looked menacing even from way up high on the road.
I am not a religious person, so my appreciation for these vistas is not a reverence for what a deity was able to make. But nature does have a way of making you appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. Whether it is walking on the Greenway at home with David and Darcy or staring at the snowcapped mountains from my parents deck in Bend or walking along the beach on Sullivan’s Island or seeing the different landscapes that await me at each locale I visit, I feel grateful that there is so much natural beauty to be enjoyed. So here is wishing everyone a weekend full of opportunities to relish whatever outside adventure or spectacular scenery awaits you wherever you are. And Mother Nature, thank you! I appreciate you!