When a special trip has a preset agenda


Iím just wondering. Is there any place you go, not frequently but on a somewhat regular basis, where as soon as the plans are set in motion you automatically have a checklist of stops to include?

Terry and I live somewhat in an isolated setting. Itís not amazingly far away from the real world. Itís not the middle of nowhere. We have grocery stores and dining options within a few minutes of the house. Even a great community movie theater. (One-dollar popcorn on Wednesdays! Looking forward to that becoming a regular thing again.) However, itís twenty minutes in one direction to a decent sized city, with significant shopping and restaurant names, and itís more than a half hour to the real city area.

For our question today, the living situation means we can get all the necessities fairly easily. We rarely need to travel outside of our multiple town community that often. But, on occasion, we have an appointment with a doctor, or reason to go to a particular store, or whatever needs to be done is something that is only available by driving that more than a half hour. And once we set that cause into a place on the calendar, we already know that there are three restaurants we will decide between for a meal, and a couple of stores we are likely to visit.

Since weíre in the area, use the opportunity.

Hereís another thought. Do you live near your home town? Or, more generally, do you have a place that is not nearby, but you love it and visit it whenever you can?

By car, Terry and I live several hours away from the place where we grew up, and still have family and friends there. When we know weíre headed to our home town, it is never questioned that three specific restaurants will be part of our trip, on every trip. And, selections will be made between a handful of others based on the length of stay. Rarely do we try anything new during those visits since there are so many specifics we miss because of where we live now.

And thereís more. Other locations have favorites in place. Are we headed to Orlando? Thereís a Japanese steakhouse that has become tradition for us.

The lists and concepts go on, but the idea is the same. Canít regularly get there, so immediately when something happens to deliver us to this place the addition of other stops is virtually guaranteed.

So, again, I wonder. Is there any place you go, not frequently but on a somewhat regular basis, where as soon as the plans are set in motion you have a checklist of stops to include? Iíve found over the years that there are actually three types of places that fall into this group, and my examples more or less outlined them.

First are those that arenít ridiculously out of the way from your home, but they are inconvenient for one reason or another. Perhaps your normal needs and routines simply donít bring you down certain roads or to certain places. You live here. You work there. And these businesses are off in a completely different direction.

Second are places you get to on occasion, but they arenít close to where you live. You travel for family and friends, long weekends or extended stays, and part of the charm of the area comes from including the great and familiar.

Third is the rarest, sort of long-distance travel opportunities. You go on vacation, and have a place that you return to again and again. You know the attractions, the retail, and the food. And you definitely have favorites.

One of my sisters lives outside the country. For many years, every trip home with her kids involved bringing empty suitcases along and heading out shopping with her kids. She loved a certain shopping center to begin with, and the prices compared to where she lives made it more than worthwhile.

When you break out of the routine daily events, Iím guessing you have more than a few routines that immediately become part of the festivities. The next time it comes around, I hope you enjoy.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com