Fall is my favorite travel season. There’s hope of cooler weather, brighter colors, and fewer tourists. But recently, my pleasure has been plagued by anxiety. [Before proceeding, for full disclosure, I acknowledge that travel anxiety is a first-world problem. I merely share.]
Back when the world and I were young, I’d load my 4×5 camera and tripod, my set of 35mm viewfinder Leicas, attendant film holders, film canisters, hardboiled eggs and a plethora of other necessities into the car and drive from Boston to Galax, Virginia, for a week or so, shooting scenery, people and the Old Time Fiddler’s Convention. Then I’d pack it up and drive back north.
For autumns in Paris, during several junkets in the ‘80s, I’d take a couple of suitcases and cameras (no 4×5 and tripod) and traipse about the City of Light for hours, walking and shooting. In Paris, everything is a photograph; whole buildings and details; a mansard roof, an oeil de boeuf window, shutters open or closed, a gargoyle-headed gutter spout.
But today, to address the Getaway “problem,” an unsettling, “Do I have to go?” whine starts in my head directly after booking the flight eight or nine months in advance. Don’t get out your tiny violins; I have my own.
I’m fine once I arrive, though as time encroaches, there’s less ground-covering and more lounging on the couch in an Amsterdam flat watching swans and pleasure boats cruise by in the canal below.
As departed as Eloise and Abélard are Paris rambles through immense Paris cemetery Père Lachaise, where those lovers rest, as do Jim Morrison, Honoré de Balzac, and Antoine-Augustin Parmentier (introducer of the potato into European cuisine).
I’m off to Scotland in a couple of weeks, already wrestling with the “What have I done?” whispers. I deflect them with feverish activity—even cleaning. Knowing I must drive on the “wrong” side of the road, a litany of, “Keep to the left! Keep to the left!” loops treacherously around my brain, reminding me of the old “Twisted Fairy Tales,” where Geppetto advises Pinocchio, “Stay wood!”
I trust Lavender readers have not yet experienced my own level of travel anxiety, and that you all are eagerly planning and preparing to enjoy your Fall Getaways. Bon Voyage!