Ron and I have both lived in Colorado long enough to have seen approximately 2,614 inches of snow. This winter alone we’ve had thousands of pounds of snowfall just on our yard. We know about snow. Ron grew up in Antarctica, (Como, Colorado) and together, even in more habitable places we’ve shoveled, trudged, skied, piled, snow-shoed, and snow-manned in more snow than you could ever imagine if you’re from someplace like southern California, or Hyderabad. One year when we lived in Telluride, we even bowled in the stuff with a bowling ball specially studded and pins made of firewood. More snow there than anywhere I’ve ever seen.
The record-breaking storm that ripped through Colorado this March was impressive, even to us natives. Also, snow in March and April is a cruelty for those weary of winter and longing for spring. Still, I’m telling myself to fix the images of mounds of snow at every door and window in my mind since I may be surrounded by sultry heat instead at some point in our traveling future. Something about not knowing what you got ‘til it’s gone.
Thanks to all the friends and family who so hospitably and kindly offered up visits at their own places after my post last time. I truly appreciate it. We feel loved. And we will likely take some of you up on those offers over the coming months and years. So, thank you. For now, we’re counting down the days until Ron retires and figuring out creative ways to head out on the cheap.
Two Cheap Travel Ideas:
- Home Exchange – We have undertaken to exchange our house through the Home Exchange website/app and are earning points that we trade for days elsewhere. Finding exchanges that work for both parties is a little tricky, particularly after all the shutdowns. Even thinking about months in the future is difficult for planning. Still, I persist, and hope, and think maybe these swaps will work out in a few months. I’m yearning for sultry days by a pool, or hot sand, since for the last several weeks I’ve just been watching icicles drip from the top of the planter box. Somewhere under all that snow small daffodils had sprouted and may yet brave the cruel Colorado spring to bud and blossom. We’ll see.
- Housesitting has become a real option for cheap travel accommodations as well. We will venture into that as soon as we can in Florida. And that state holds nothing but good memories for us, even though the last time we were there was during Florida’s own version of a blizzard—a hurricane.
It was the fall of 2019 and we were scheduled to be in Ft. Lauderdale at the same time as Hurricane Dorian, so we shifted our own path, continued monitoring all the models, alternated between terror and joy, and headed instead to Key West.
It was a dream spot for me to see where Ernest Hemingway had lived and written, fished, and drank. We saw “Papa’s” house there (well-worth the tour if you like Hemingway, old houses, or six-toed cats), a lighthouse, the Southern Most Point of the Continental U.S., Mallory Square sunsets and more. We ate fried conch at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville chain. And even though that’s not our usual sort of place, and the service was apathetic in the off-season, we enjoyed it because we were with good friends who also like Jimmy Buffet. We reminisced and adventured together in equal parts. We set sail from the harbor one day and floated out into the bay to snorkel and see lobsters and starfish. We kayaked through mangroves. We rode bicycles through town, sweating profusely in the close heat of the place. We toured the Papa’s Pilar rum factory and toasted Hemingway. The air was hot with the kind of heat that is nearly inescapable, yet also magical.
And heat doesn’t sound too bad just now, in the early spring that promises even more snow for us. Our only traveling now is up into the mountains to ski. And I have turned to books as another escape from the four walls of nothing much happening.
A few weeks ago, I picked up a travel book at Lafayette’s best, and only, new bookstore because it was written by an acquaintance of Hemingway’s, Martha Gellhorn. And Gellhorn, to my unexpected delight had a fantastic voice—in the vein of Eeyore, or my glass-half-empty friend Kelly H. She describes her travels without glowing reviews of sights and adventures. She doesn’t recommend places. She loathes most of the people she meets. And she writes of hardships; the fevers and chills of her trip through war torn China in 1941, the biting flies of East Africa, the hurricane winds and the worse torture of a still ocean in a sailboat where her only comfort was a small kitten vomiting in her lap. She refers to all her travels as “horror journeys”. She describes sparingly the moments of peaceful swims in the Caribbean Sea, or breathtaking vistas of the Rift Valley in Kenya. Yet she insists that she could never be content in one place for long and that the leaving is the happiest moment of all. I couldn’t agree more.
“ … beaten, exhausted, sick of the whole thing. Then the flight is called, we make the interminable trek to the departure gate, we clamber and crush into a bus or if lucky walk straight on to the aircraft. Inside the plane, our faces change, we toss jokes about, laugh, chat to strangers. Our hearts are light and gay because now it’s happening, we’re starting, we’re travelling again.”