Coming home

New York was having an unseasonably warm day as we checked out of the hotel and walked down to catch the bus to the airport. I was wondering how many more miles I would manage to walk today other than the three blocks to the bus stop. Our driver on the return trip was a complete contrast to the one we had a week ago. He was very careful to ensure that we all knew which airport he was going to and which terminals all the passengers needed to be dropped at. He was amazingly adept at squeezing the bus between other vehicles in the city centre and soon got us out of town. Across the river I saw a huge cemetery with gravestones more densely packed in than any other I have seen. A real treat a little further on was spotting a bald eagle perched on a tree by the water’s edge. I was not expecting to see one so near to the city. Their numbers have increased over recent years due to conservation work as they had declined and in 2007 they were taken off the endangered list. Waiting to take off, I was plotting our route from the airport, across Manhattan and into New Jersey, now that I am fairly orientated, for our late June trip and then watched the film ‘Everest’ wondering about the motivation of those who take such extreme risks, leaving their families bereft. Back at Heathrow, we had a flight cancelled so a longer wait than expected for the connection to Manchester. I was so tired that I almost left my handbag at the gate and have not quite managed five miles around the airports. The temperature back at home is considerably less than that we left so the fire is now on.
Plane at JFK 9 Mar 2016 (1 of 1)

Staying at home

I follow Nomadic Matt’s blog and recently he tackled the issues facing travellers when returning home and another venture is a long way in the future; the coming home blues. I am often in that situation as work limits the time we can go away until we retire and have more flexibility. Matt made the following suggestions:

1. Join an online community
2. Read travel blogs.
3. Attend travel meet-ups via Couchsurfing or
4. Read travel books.
5. Take short trips around your city or region.
6. Host on Couchsurfing so you can show tourists around and see your home with fresh eyes. 

I would agree with and do most of these but travel meetups and hosting on Couchsurfing are easier if you live in a city (I live in a semi-rural area most of the time). I do have a large library of travel literature and it grows as I plan to visit a new place or revisit a favorite destination. That said, I have read ‘In Patagonia’ twice, 40 years apart and have still not made it to Patagonia. I am currently planning next summer’s USA coast to coast drive (mostly) on the Lincoln Highway. The flights are booked and as we are travelling in the peak summer season (we do not always have a choice of when to go) I am booking accommodation ahead as well and am almost finished – just Reno in Nevada, Truckee and Sacramento in northern California to arrange. I have already booked the end – by the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco. The playlist is currently under construction and James will organize the car. Phil Llewellin, in his book ‘’The Road to Muckle Flugga’ devoted less than three pages to the Lincoln Highway which he drove in 1989 in only eight days. We are taking just under four weeks, inspired in part by the views from the California Zephyr train which we took from Chicago to San Francisco five years ago. We will be getting out of our car to explore and hike in several places along the way.

Short trips around my local area is something I do, on foot in the car or on the train. It is often amazing how many places near our homes or workplaces we have not been to, how many paths and roads close by that have not been explored. During the festive season, travel can be difficult and is currently much harder with flooding and rail works so staying at home can be a good idea. This morning’s surprise on a wander round the garden was the appearance of some fungi in the garden. I am trying to identify them and think they might be Hypholoma Capnoides which is in season from spring until autumn and I am still compiling a natural history of the garden. The mild winter has led to the appearance of spring flowers in December so this is something else appearing earlier than usual.

Mushroom 1 (1 of 1)

Mushroom 2 (1 of 1)