I wish I could/would have begun these big fat six-week trips earlier in life. Sometimes focusing on a world ‘neighborhood’ of multiple countries, sometimes one country in greater depth…like I’m doing these last years.
Not that I regret the many dance festival jaunts or art/dance focused meetings, conferences, gatherings, viewings in so many intriguing locations all around the world. Grants often covered much of the cost, I was usually surrounded by lively and lovely friends, and I gained an appreciation of new places and insight into new (to me) cultures.
Now is a different time in my life though. I have a deep desire to get to know the rest of the global ‘neighborhoods’ and limited time in which to do so. More up-close-and-personal. More deeply. More appreciatively (before we humans manage to destroy them all). Last year, 2017, I explored a neighborhood called Southeast Asia/Nepal/India. Walking in the advance rain of an approaching typhoon along the banks of the Thu Bon River in Hoi An, Vietnam after breakfast baguettes and that thickly sweetened coffee beloved of the Vietnamese—and me…or barreling through the night on Indian Rail, sharing a cold and grimy sleeping compartment with three burly men, taciturn when awake, snoring when asleep, tend to make a neighborhood, large or small, feel truly ‘visited.’
This year I’m going to Norway for six weeks to revel in being part of a smart, practical, hardy, and adventurous band of Northerners. I will have Ancestry.com as a guide to heretofore unknown branches of the family tree, friendly cousins with whom to hang out, local lodging booked through AirB&B (cozy apartments are, strangely enough, quite reasonably priced in Norway), fresh cool air with perhaps a rainy day now and then, bookstores and coffee houses galore, and, last but definitely not least, extraordinary butter. Since transportation, services and the environment are pretty much top-notch I will actually have time to vacation…down time, free time, lazy walking in the woods time, hanging out at the café time, writing time (please god of scribblers…). This year in fact the ‘exploring’ will be almost like going home to relax. It would not please me to have every trip I take feel this safe, this efficiently structured, this comfortable, but once in awhile it is a joy to anticipate some ease in the journey.
The Danish word for cozy is hyggelig, a trendy concept at the moment; in Norwegian it’s koselig but I’m not sure the word or the concept have reached quite the same level of popularity there. In any case, I looked for some photos from the 2016 time in Norway to see what looked cozy–because I am exhausted right this minute and could use some coziness.