By the time most of you read this, I’ll just be getting back from my first real vacation in the six years since I purchased the Methow Valley News. As yet, I have nothing to report, because I wrote this column before I left and I haven’t been there yet.
It’s a little weird to contemplate that, after some 300 issues of the newspaper, I won’t be around to help put this one (which you are holding) together. And it’s a big one, including the Methow Valley Rodeo program, with lots of moving parts.
But I’m not worried about it, because the News has a talented, terrifically competent staff and I’m confident they’ll forge ahead and make it work as if I weren’t here. Which I wasn’t.
Having trouble keeping track of the time and tense shifts? Hey, I’m probably wrecked with jet lag as you’re reading this, and am anxious about last-minute preparations as I’m writing it (which is now for me, then for you), so no sympathy.
Anyway, I’m on my way to Amsterdam in a few days, or just getting back (hang with me, I’m in a time-space continuum warp). Either way, I’m looking forward to, or immensely enjoyed, the time off.
I’m following my partner to The Netherlands, where she is presenting at least one or possibly more (I’ll know by the time you read this) keynote addresses at an international narrative writing conference for journalists. She does that a lot in Europe, in places like Ukraine, Slovenia, France, Denmark, Romania, Germany and Scandinavia, as well as South America, Africa, China and other places I can’t immediately recall. Periodically I am delighted to join her on these exotic adventures — I still look at overseas travel that way — after she finishes her conference work.
I’m out of practice for long-distance travel. In the past six years, I’ve only left the state three times — twice to Minnesota and once to Los Angeles, all for family events. Do I still have to take off my shoes and belt when going through security? Does the plastic-bag-for-travel-size-toiletries rule still apply? Should I try to intervene if a fistfight breaks out in coach seating during the long flight, or just stay out of the fray? What if I get lost in Schiphol airport? And I have no idea how to explain Donald Trump to the Dutch.
In a way, I feel like many Methow Valley residents who take vacations by leaving the country altogether. Seems like everyone I talk to is headed off-continent. If you live in a vacation paradise, maybe you have to go far away to appreciate both your destination and your home. Being in the Methow is kind of like a permanent stay-cation. But as much as we love it, there’s an entire planet out there to see.
We’ve been to Amsterdam before, but it’s a big, fascinating place and there’s much more to see. I’ve been reading up. Yes, I know about the Red Light District and the “coffeeshops.” I won’t have anything to relate about those.
We’ll also be spending a few days at a B&B out in the country, owned by some friends whose hospitality is boundless. I’m reliably informed that there will be much reading of books, and a spirited continuation of what must be one of the world’s longest running two-person Scrabble tournaments (I’m behind). It was wonderful.
So if you’ve been trying to email, phone or stop by to yak at me, I wasn’t here. Did anyone even notice? It’s been a long time since I was so deliberately out of touch, or just let go and let things take care of themselves while I’m gone. I hope it was liberating.
To sum it all up: I’m excited about going, and I’m happy to be back.