One of my favorite things about being on the road is enjoying the particular specialties of our favorite people. The other morning, I woke up in a house that has a whole section of the kitchen dedicated to coffee makers. There’s a thermal-carafe drip machine, an espresso machine, a siphon, a french press… I don’t even know if that’s all of them. In addition to the assortment of coffee, my friend tells me she’s been forbidden from buying any more tea, and omg, the beer. ALL THE BEST BEERS!
Before that stop, we hung out with my sister, who always has the best snacks. Seriously: when I was pregnant and struggling with the need to eat more food than I wanted to, I called her up to get a shopping list. On our last trip through Boise, her partner commandeered the shopping trip to make sure that we had all the snacks we’d need for the road, and put back the tortillas I had picked, in favor of way better ones.
Every house we’ve visited has had some kind of best thing about it. One of the AirBnBs that we stayed at had the best creepy taxidermy. (This is kind of a special category — no place else that we’ve stayed had any creepy taxidermy, let alone several dozen pieces). Thankfully there was no actual taxidermy in the bedroom we stayed in, just a couple giant plush animal heads. It was both fascinating and a little terrifying, to be honest. Almost every home we’ve stayed in has had some great art in it, which I’m going to call a credit to the awesome taste of the people who like us. Even hard pressed, I probably couldn’t say that one place had the best art. That’s totally OK with me.
Wyoming (to my surprise) had the best smells. Nebraska had the best lightning storms. Aunt Judy’s house had the best bunnies in the back yard, AND the best selection of kid’s books. I couldn’t wait to discover what’s best about my sister-in-law’s house. It turns out the answer is that her house has the best cousins in it. OK, yeah, that’s a tough call to make, but the kids (who are adults, or almost) spent most of the time we were there fighting (so gently) over who was going to hold Rockford, and bringing us delicious treats.
This period of our life is so strange, so chaotic, so unpredictable-despite-our-attempts-to-plan. It’s easy for me to feel overwhelmed, to feel like I don’t have anything but Carlos and Rock and Dita to anchor on, and taking the time to check in with my surroundings, finding something there to appreciate for its own weird and wonderful merit has been immeasurably valuable for keeping me grounded and in the practice of staying open to beauty and possibility. I think that when I have traveled in the past, I have not been great about anchoring my memories to specific places — was that cool castle in Grenada or Sevilla? Where did we eat all those tiny lamb chops? I like to think that making a note to myself about the things that are the best in each place has been helping me be better about remembering the places that we’ve been.