If I had to point to two themes of my life in 2009 – and I do, since our editorial staff dreamed up this exercise! – they would have to be travelling and reconnecting with friends and family. All told, I left my home in Fish Creek for a record 13 weekends this year. As a Door County resident, that would normally not be considered a good thing (why leave paradise?) but this frenzied travel schedule came at the right time and was well worth the hassle and significant outlay of funds.
During the year I attended three college roommates’ weddings (from Monterrey to Massachusetts) and my 10-year college reunion in Chicago; I visited friends in Madison and Milwaukee; and I made several escapes to Washington Island and Rock Island (not far geographically, but certainly so psychologically, which I mean in the best possible way). I also got to spend time with two of my oldest, dearest friends from youth – one who came to visit here in Door County and one who I crossed an ocean to visit. I spent a weekend with my mom in Milwaukee just a few weeks ago and, as this issue hits stands, I’ll be on the eve of departure for the second trip in four months to my home state, Iowa, which is more than I’ve visited in the last five years combined. In a related way, this fall I also underwent a long-overdue roof replacement that snowballed into a bevy of home projects, accounting for another entire sense of absenteeism from my life – lord knows it felt like a journey, anyway.
So here I am at the end of 2009, wondering why I spent so little time sailing on Lake Michigan, just why time flew so fast, and especially why I didn’t get off my duff and finally open a frequent-flyer account with an airline. But, because of these excursions, I’ve recognized there’s something about travelling that allows you to feel the odd sensation of being both happy to have gone and happy to be back home at the same time. I’m so grateful to have the friends and family that I do scattered far and wide, and I’m just as grateful to have the ones I do right here in my own backyard.