To Leave Things Unvisited

November 16, 2015

“The wisest thing is to leave unvisited in every country some place that one wants very much to see.”
— William Somerset Maugham, The Land of the Blessed Virgin: Sketches and Impressions in Andalusia

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I don’t know whether I will ever return to Spain, so I cherish the two plus weeks I spent there this October.  I say this not because I have exhausted my interest in Spain, but because life is so short.  There are so many places and activities competing for my limited time and savings.

We never did drink from the supposedly magical fountain, Font de Canaletes, on the Ramblas — a single drink is supposed to guarantee that you will fall in love with Barcelona and return again.  So perhaps we stacked the cards against us!

Still, I did leave unvisited some places that I would very much like to return to, if time and money permit.  Here are my top two:

  •  In Toledo I regret that we did not have enough time on our single day trip to see much beyond the magnificent cathedral.  What I would most like to see would be El Greco paintings hanging in those locations where he painted them.  Here is a list.
  • In Barcelona, I would love to make a day trip to Colonia Guell to see more of Gaudi’s imaginative architecture and art.

Now that my travels have ended and I have completed my recap in these blog posts, I am ready to stop looking back and start looking ahead.  Where will my future travels take me?  Will I change how I travel in my retirement?  While I doubt I will give up completely the idea of traveling as vacation — a fun break from my regular routines — I am thinking  more along these lines:

  • Retreats:  to deepen my skills (watercolor painting, photography, sketching, writing, journaling, etc.) — among other like-minded souls
  • Action adventures:  hiking or walking trips, for example, or pilgrimages
  • Sojourns:  renting an apartment for three or four weeks in a single destination, like Seville or Manhattan, living like the locals and making day trips from there
  • Work assignments:  perhaps someday someone will actually pay me to take photographs and write and blog about a place

How do you fashion your travels?  Any suggestions?

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