I just finished a three part lecture on opera production. The lecturer (who was well over four feet) said opera audiences fall into two categories: thems who want their tastes reinforced and thems who want something new to discover. I thought this a nice summary of human nature. We want familiar, comfortable things but we also crave novelty.

The dilemma of familiar vs. novelty is played out each January when I nudge Someone to work upon the new year’s holidays. Do we go back to the annual familiar haunts or do we try something new and adventuresome? We have only so much time-off (and money) so it is one or the other.

Most of the time we do the familiar rounds: Palm Springs in February; Flagstaff in June; Utah in July; Canada in August. We do them as we like them. The same B&Bs, restaurants, and theatres give me comfort and are thus meritorious. However, these trips have in them a slight cacophonous undertone, emanating from my bucket list, of roads not taken and places not seen.

For thems interested, here is a my (travel) bucket list:

See Ireland

See Iceland

See the Northern lights

Attend an opera at Sydney

Go boating into a Norwegian fjord and meet some trolls.

Visit a tea plantation (proper one, no rubbish)

Rolling down grass hills in all 50 states*

Alas, most of these dreams require significant time off to do them properly, which means getting a colleague to cover. This is no small feat. Someone is Sancho Panza to my Don Quixote; he points out the longer we are away the more expensive it gets to house Harper and hotel bills etc. (and he too has issues of getting off time). It looks like we must be content with the usual familiar places nearby and not time-consuming.  While it is lovely to be back with ‘old friends’ it would be more so to meet ‘new ones’. This may be especially so if they involved Irish, Icelanders, Aussie Opera queens, or Southern gentleman one accidently knocks over while rolling down grass hills in Savannah – which happens to have nearby the only USA tea plantation.

Rolling down grass hills.


*I think I have five more states to go. These are nearly all in the South – and Vermont. I just hope there aren’t too many ticks and snakes.