I want to travel as a nomad, not vacation as a tourist.
In May, my boyfriend and I visited the Azores. We spent three days on Pico Island, where volcanic rock was piled into thousands of small fences. It appears that these were used to mark a farmer’s territory in the early 1600s. I should let you know that this is not a Journalistic article; my facts are based on Azorean history gleaned from websites that look like they were updated in the ‘90s, and from my own experiences on the islands. The last three days were spent on Sao Miguel, the main island. This island has cities and even a highway system, which is way beyond Pico’s current culture. But all of the land is beautiful. I want to write about the snack bars and problematic GPS; the people; the shops; the ocean; and the steep sharp edges of Sao Jorge, which I only saw from the plane on our way to Pico.
Five days after we got back to Massachusetts, a friend and I explored the southeast, staying in Washington D.C., Shenandoah National Park, Savannah, GA., St. Augustine, FL., New Orleans, LA., and Houston, San Antonio, and Austin in Texas. Here’s what I learned: a day or two isn’t enough to get to know a place. In each new place we discovered a small piece of a much larger picture: the gaming store that’s been “under construction” and says they’ll open in “two weeks” for the past three years, according to the owner of a neighboring business; the extremely low salary of New Orleans residents (rumor I heard from someone who lives there), and the large and wealthy Texas cities (Houston, San Antonio) in comparison to the run-down under-privileged towns where wild dogs supposedly attack people, and where a fertilizer plant exploded a few years ago.
The stories are numerous. What did I learn? Vacation is not my thing. I want to live in a new place for long enough to get a few big stories, and then move on to the next one. I’m thinking I could pull a pop-up trailer, or buy a van and prep half of it for living. Five days living out of my car in South Dakota were some of the best on my road trip, which is the only reason I think I could handle a far longer adventure. It’s a pipe dream for now, but for how long?