I have a travel bug. I love to travel, and really, it does not matter where. Oh, I have travel destinations that are on my bucket list, but even going for a drive in the area I am in and just seeing where I end up is exciting for me. What is it about travelling that sets my soul on fire? Here are a few things I know are the cause of my travel itch.
The Ever-changing Landscape
Everywhere I go, sometimes it’s just a matter of a few miles, the landscape changes. Drive out of a city into the fields of food being grown. Soft wheat blowing in the wind or fields of tall corn that you could get easily lost in. It is amazing the different landscapes of food that are both beautiful and strong and touch your every sense. Fruit trees in blossom will give you an aroma that makes you stop and smile. Have you ever smelled grapes ripening on the vine? It is a unique and comforting aroma.
While driving the back roads of Ontario, I came across this beautiful yellow field. I had to stop and get a picture. It is a field of mustard plants. Great on hot dogs and beautiful to look at.
Next time you drive by a farmers field, stop and enjoy the beauty of the growth and think of the deliciousness of the result. It will make you smile.
Water and It’s Wonders
From the roar of Niagara Falls to the soft sound of a babbling brook, water has many different beautiful sights and sounds. How many people do you know, or do you love sitting by the ocean or large lake and listening to the waves roll in? The smell of the salt air while you watch the water wash the sand away at your feet. A beautiful sunrise or sunset over a quiet lake can give such a peaceful feeling.
Water that creates its own path with beautiful cascading waterfalls that bring the color of the rock to life as it smoothly makes its path is a natural beauty to behold. The mineral content of the rock makes the color, and the water shines it for all to see. Rainbow Falls in Northern Ontario is a great example of that. The cascading falls seem to glimmer with color in the sunlight. With the sight and the sound, you just have to smile.
A Life-Giving Force
Water is not only beautiful to look at and hear but a life-giving force that you just have to respect. The wildlife and plant life that lives around and within are both beautiful and unique to their area. Giving you a different experience with every water stop.
Driving through Alabama, I happened to come upon a place called Jackson Lake Island. Driving over the causeway, I entered a piece of paradise I yearn to go back to. I parked by the river and watched the sun go down and absolutely fell in love. The sounds of the water life and the colours coming off the water were magnificent. With benches at the parking spot, it was the perfect place for coffee and a relaxing moment I go back to often in my mind. There is also an amusing story with that island I will get to further in this blog.
The Flora and Fauna and the creatures that live among them
I am always amazed at the difference in the trees and shrubs as you move from landscape to landscape. Go north to Northern Ontario and be amazed at the beautiful maples and the mighty oak trees. Go south to Florida and shade yourself with a palm tree. When you go west to Arizona, you can be amazed by the cactus standing so solid in the desert lands. California will bring you redwood trees that seem to be able to touch the sky and are big enough that you can drive through.
There are some places like Newfoundland where within a few miles you are in a different landscape. From the trees of the Boreal Forest to the east to being able to touch the earth’s mantle at Gros Morne National Park in the west. In Gros Morne, you can see a line where the mantle, which is barren, stops. Then, the earth covers the ground, and the creation of life begins. It is amazing!
I am very much a nature lover. There is nothing more spirit-lifting for me than sitting against an old tree or walking through an old forest and breathing in that natural energy that nature provides us with.
The Creatures and Animals
Do you not love cute little creatures like chipmunks and birds? Sitting at a campsite or off-grid camping, a little Chipmunk comes to say hello, or a bunny hops on by. I love to watch the birds and hear their songs as they go about their day. Birds and animals are another experience that is different as you travel. I have seen bears and wolves in the deep forest and pelicans and storks near the waters. Had coffee with a moose in Newfoundland and fed a peacock named Peanut in Georgia. Have you ever heard the sound of a Sandhill Crane? They sound like pterodactyls have invaded. It is a wild sound.
There are times when there are animals you would not expect to see where you are. There are monkeys, I am told, in Ocala National Forest in Florida. In the 1960s, a man released them on an island, thinking they could not swim. They swam and disappeared into the forest. He did not know what happened to the monkeys, so he did it again. Again, they swam to the forest. It is now thought their numbers to be in the hundreds. I have been to Ocala National Forest three times and have yet to find a monkey, but I will keep looking.
It is important to remember that wild animals are wild. Respect their space, and I always remember that I am the visitor. Coffee cheers with a moose is done at a distance! Lol.
The Cultures and the People
Everywhere you go, the people and culture change. There is nothing better than stopping in a small cafe or restaurant and watching the locals interact. Since I usually travel alone, there have been a few times that the restaurant has been full, and I am invited to sit with someone I don’t know or asked if I would share the table I have. That is a yes every time. I have met some wonderful people this way and learned a lot about the area and the people that live within it.
The different cultures as you go from place to place are so interesting. Visiting the Mennonite communities in Pennsylvania will give you such a sense of community and working together. I have visited many Mennonite communities in a few different places and am always amazed at how rustic they live and thrive in this modern world.
Newfoundland is friendly everywhere. People honked at you to say hello, not tell you to get out of the way. People smiled and had an infectious laugh that would get you laughing. In Elliston, you will find the most root cellars in the world. Families working together and building and sharing them to keep their goods cold. Working together to form a warm and wonderful community that just keeps you wanting to go back for more.
I so enjoy the different accents as you go from place to place. From that New England drawl and Newfoundland has their own English in the east to Alabama and Tennessee in the south, the talk of the land is wonderful to listen to. I went on a tour at the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg and found myself just listening to my tour guide Jacob talk but not hearing what he said. LOL.
I have met some wonderful people while travelling. Some have become very good friends , and every time I am in the area, I have to stop by.
I travel not only for the beauty of the landscapes and the people and diverse cultures but also because I have had some fun and exciting adventures. The wrong turns and the right ones are filled with adventure every time.
Florida and the Drunk Pelican
When I went to Florida, everyone told me to watch out for the alligators, but no one said anything about the birds.
I was driving in Florida on a foggy morning and noticed something was in my lane coming towards me. I could just barely make out that it was not a car or a truck. As it got closer, I realized it was a pelican coming in for a landing!! He looked like he had been drinking as he flopped and sort of flew towards me. Luckily he went right and I went left and he missed me. I had to pull off at the next available spot, and both let my heart return to normal and laugh so hard my stomach hurt. How would I explain to people that I was hit by what looked like a drunk pelican?
Alabama and my Unlikely Neighbours
Alabama always gives me a funny story each time I go there.
Jackson Lake Island is not only beautiful and has the abandoned movie set of Tim Burton’s “The Big Fish,” which is cool all on its own. It also has a few unusual inhabitants that I did not know about right away. I had pulled onto the island when it was just getting dark. I enjoyed a peaceful moment watching the sun set and then came into my van, locked the doors, and was ready for a peaceful night.
While making a cup of tea and getting ready to curl up on my couch to watch a movie, I heard a noise, and then the van rocked. It was just a little, but it rocked. What was that??? I moved my curtains to look out, but it was very dark and I could not see a thing. Then it happened again. I called my girlfriend Kim because I love to freak her out. She told me not to get out of the van. I was not. I have no idea what kind of animals are free to roam in Alabama. Then all was quiet.
I had a wonderful nights sleep and awoke in the morning, ready to explore the island. Before I opened my curtains, there was the noise, and the van rocked again. I pulled back the curtains, and there were all kinds of little goats!! When I opened my door, there was a goat scratching his butt on the bumper of the van. Hahaha! With every scratch, there was that noise, and the van rocked a little. The mystery was solved.
When Breakfast turns to Giggles
When a souvenir from one town gives you a whole lot of giggles in another, it becomes a moment to remember. I have a confession to make, I love the Waffle House in the US. I do not think I have ever walked out after a great meal and not had a giggle or two. Everywhere, they are boisterous and welcoming.
A Breakfast to Remember
I was in Alabama and had stopped for breakfast. It was a chilly morning and I was wearing a light jacket that I had got in Newfoundland. One of the places I and my girlfriend Kim visited while in Newfoundland was Dildo. Yes, that’s the name, and yes, we went just to see what a town called Dildo looked like. It was a great town and has a wonderful craft brewing place with a restaurant and gift shop.
As the waitress was serving people, I noticed that as she walked by, she kept looking at my chest area. She did this about three times. I started to think I spilled something on myself. I looked down to make sure I had not and looked at her. At that moment, she belted out, in that deep Alabama accent, “Does that say dildo,” as she pointed to my jacket? The guy behind me almost spit out his coffee as he began to laugh.
Now, all eyes in the restaurant were on me. I laughed as I realized what jacket I had on, and said yes, it does. She asked why I had a jacket with the word dildo on it. Now the whole restaurant is laughing. I pulled the flap of the jack back and showed her the emblem explaining that it was from a town in Newfoundland, Canada, by the name of Dildo. I also added that yes it was a fun place, which set out a whole new moment of laughter.
As the man behind me left, patted my shoulder and thanked me for the most entertaining breakfast he ever had. When I went to pay my bill, he had paid for it. I still giggle when I think of that breakfast. I am sure a few people do.
A Feeling of Magic
Sometimes, it is not what happens or what I see or hear but what I feel. Salem Massachusetts is a place I have been to and will go again. I love the feel of walking down the cobblestone streets. Sitting on the park benches that sit in the pathways connecting the streets or at the common. Browsing the shops and stopping to remember a great witch, Samantha and all of those who live and lived in Salem. Maybe there is magic there. I am not sure, but I know when I am there, my spirit is lighter, and the warmth of the town seems to hold me in a comforting embrace.
There are so many reasons why I love to travel. The sights, sounds, and feelings that come with it match nothing I have ever experienced. I can not help but want more. I have not been everywhere yet, but it is on my list.
What is your favorite travel memory? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for coming along on my Chipmunk Adventures.
Safe and Happy travels!
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