On my various road trips over the last month to promote my book, I've greatly enjoyed the different cities and communities I've visited. In each one I'd find myself proclaiming, "Oh, it would be so great to live here."
In Tri-Cities, Washington, the hiking trail up Badger Mountain was terrific, as was the view from the top.The river is a beautiful green oasis snaking through the region. I found myself thinking, "It would be so great to live here and have access to this trail and this view."
In Seattle, I went for a walk on Alki Point and reminisced about when I used to live nearby and take my young son to play on the beach.
It's also a great place to walk, run or cycle, with great views of the city and Puget Sound. Part of me wished I still lived there.
Then came our visit to Bellingham, Washington, one of the most spectacularly beautiful places in the world, though I might be a bit partial to the region after growing up in Whatcom county, in the shadow of Mount Baker. Mike and I love to visit Fairhaven, an historic part of the city where we get lost for several days in the stacks at Village Books. Our Drive home took us along scenic Chuckanut Drive which overlooks Chuckanut and Samish Bays with views of the San Juan Islands.
Our current trip took us south and through Bend, Oregon, where we stopped at an Italian coffee shop, started wandering the streets and found a little courtyard just off the Deschutes River, where we sat in the sun and almost ended our trip right there it was so beautiful.
A 14-hour day of driving brought us to Sacramento, California, and a visit to the home of relatives near the American River. Their home backs up to a trail for walking, running, cycling and watching wildlife. Out for a walk I saw a young deer, numerous wild turkeys and luckily, none of the rattle snakes who live there.
Enjoying the lovely views, the atmosphere and people of all the places I've been visiting the past month or so, I couldn't help comparing them to where I live in Spokane.
Everywhere else seemed so fresh and exciting. Here, or there would be a great place to get out and exercise. This place or that would be so relaxing, so close to nature. Wow, what great restaurants and shops they have in this town.
It made me realize that I have come to take for granted the lovely views in my own city, the places to exercise not far from my front door, the opportunities to observer nature in my own backyard.
Rick Steves says travel is intensified living. And I have found that to be true on my recent road trips. It has opened my senses to the world around me and helped me more fully appreciate both the strange and distant and the well-known close up places.
I'm fascinated to discover little-known stories from history. Stories of people and events that provide a new perspective on why and how things happened, new voices that haven't been heard, insight into how the past brought us here today, and how it might guide us to a better future.
I also post here about my books and feature other authors and their books on compelling and important historical topics.
Occasionally, I share what makes me happy, pictures of my garden, recipes I've made, events I've attended, people I've met. I'm always happy to hear from readers, in the blog comments, by email or social media.