In a sargassan depth, the selective memories of travel’s discomforts cease to bubble and quietly sink to the mud opening the mind to the pleasures of the new, the discoveries, the escape. Planning the excitements for a body in motion (the savannas of Florida once left safely behind) and seeing hills become mountains, regales with small thrills.
Trip plans will accommodate the serendipitous, leaving room for discovery (and the search for a good carrot cake.) What hints does the map produce? What confirmations does the super brain, Google, provide? Planning travel reveals a world of possibilities and delivers that carefree feeling of anticipation of things wonderful, like having a lottery ticket before the drawing.
Every state a kingdom with its own customs and I, Marco Polo, will attempt to bring back rare chilies from the west, traveling from grits to salsa to grits.
It all sounds like great fun but I’m afraid we must recover the selective memories of the discomforts of travel from the bottom of the Sargasso Sea.
Our skins will contract and shiver when confronted with non-Florida weather and demand a proper covering. We’ll pass through heavy rains where there was drought and fires where there were heavy rains searching longingly for the habitable provinces. Einstein would marvel at the warping of time while trying to cross Texas and the rearranging of molecules in the body trying to get accustomed to such a different diet.
Reconciling the pleasures with the discomforts, knowing that smiling for hoteliers and patiently watching them fumble with registration and not having the room key work at first and getting moved in and ready for lunch at 3PM and finding the restaurant closes at 2PM and, as in all hotels, finding Flamenco dancers practicing in the room above yours is just the sub motif of a wonderful vacation. Freeze that smile, it helps. Memorize the discomforts beforehand to eliminate the element of surprise and rob them of their weight. Admit the discomforts but keep the pleasures hypothetical. They will seem more profound when they appear. If you know your pleasures beforehand they will be diminished. Try foods you’ve never had before; take side trips (the road less traveled) from the main route. Often, memories are created once you get lost. You’ll be interacting with your journey!
Frank DiGangi is from Hawthorne, FL