When the Lights Go Down in the City: 2 Years of “Accidental Wanderlust”

I’ve spent a lot of evenings alone in the last two years, with either the glowing screen of my laptop, or a stunning view of the ocean to keep me company, hurrying across a busy downtown street, dodging taxis and tourist traffic, or eating at a table for one, in a quaint Italian restaurant.

There have been a lot of “artisanal” premium cheese plates ordered during this time, because that’s really a thing, and definitely constitutes a full and satisfying dinner, when you’re on the road, and trying out new places, hoping for a unique experience (see link below). Well, the Gorgonzola Cremificato, Parmigiano Reggiano, Piave, and Taleggio are certainly good enough for dinner tonight, as long as there is a glass of Chianti or Pinot Noir sharing the table with me!

This way of eating allows a traveler to linger, to sit quietly and watch the stories of the people around her unfold. It says “I’m not going anywhere, just yet. I’m here to just relax for a while, perhaps flip casually through a book, and see what happens in the space around me.” That’s often where the real story is! Information about the next adventure doesn’t always come from the recommendation of a tour guide, or a “Top 10, Must See” list on some travel blog. The more genuine experience . . . well, it just happens, more organically, somewhat accidentally. And it’s so much more fulfilling, just because that’s the way it came about!

A few bites into my meal, I realize that the entire platter on my table is just too sweet for my tastes . . . the crusty bread is drizzled in honey, and the spreadable fruit compote, which I’ve carelessly drizzled on the screen of my iPhone, is just a bit too syrupy. When the waiter is more than happy to bring me a savory substitute, along with a plate of the bread that is served as a buttery crouton on the house salad, my night is made! I’m in the right place; I’m sure to tip well!

Then Tom Jones is broadcast over the restaurant’s speakers. . . “What’s new pussycat? Woah . . . What’s new pussycat? Woah ohhhhh. . . Pussycat, pussycat, I’ve got flowers / And lots of hours to spend time with you / So go and powder your cute little pussycat nose. . .”

And I chuckle to myself, because I’m actually having a lot of fun, though I wish I had someone to share the experience with. . . so I write about it, and wonder if anyone will find a bit of the same joy, in reading about my experience.

For the last 24 months I’ve share stories, taking readers along on art, nature & culinary adventures. Along the way, I’ve shared the perspective, the “attitude”, of a solo work traveler. Traveling for work means I don’t always have much control over where I’ll go next, or how long I’ll be there. This can be unsettling, but it can also be an invitation to explore!

I’ve traveled within my Midwestern and East Coast regions, revisiting some very familiar territory, again, and then again. It’s a territory worth visiting! While I was there, I learned how to properly eat a lobster in Boston, and followed the trail of witch hunters in historic Salem, MA. Nashville provided me with musical entertainment one week, and I had the opportunity to cross the border into Canada the next week. I’ve been asked to assist at special conferences in the humid heat of the Florida coast, watched amazing sunsets in Corpus Christi, and gazing up at towering Redwoods, on the Oregon coast.

What a life!

If work directs me to go North, I go North. While I’m there, I try to experience what it’s like to be in the heart of Minnesota, appreciating the culture that borders on being Canadian, but thankful that I’m not there in the deep winter, when there’s no guarantee I’ll get out!

If work directs me to go South, I go South. While I‘m there, I accept the gift of pecans that my staff grew in their backyard, and I do my best to craft them into a pecan pie when I get home. The hardest part is working the prized “meat” from the shell of the pecans. It’s labor intensive, but the result is a sweet pie!

If there’s a need for training in the hills or West Virginia, I hop in my car, and make my way there. I’m aware of the struggles of some of the more impoverished areas in my territory, and I try to make my sales staff aware as well, sensitive to the concerns of many of the families that we Photograph. We’re selling beautifully captured moments, ones that a new Mom will cherish forever!

If I’m flown out to California, I become very aware of the complex labor laws that direct management in that part of the country. I proceed cautiously, but also have a job to do, and a staff to train. We discuss how great Photography involves connecting with your subject, and goes far beyond knowledge of shutter speeds, aperture settings, and camera models.

As I said, I don’t always control my travel destinations, but what is within my control is what I do during my personal time. “Accidental Wanderlust” grows out of those choices, and the adventures that those decisions take me on. . . . the adventures that I end up sharing in this blog!

There are a lot of surprises, since I often have to fumble along in a city I never imagined I’d be visiting. Recommendations from friends do matter, so I deeply appreciate those. But often my most colorful experiences, the ones worth writing about, come from chance encounters.

I’m just making the most of my time away from home!

It wouldn’t be a surprise to find me traveling during the weeks “in-between”, when work is not asking me to hop a flight, or get behind the wheel for another 4 hours! Personal trips in the last 2 years have taken me out of the country, to Cuba, Costa Rica, Canada. . . Where can I go next? It might be time to expand my travel list . . . ! Is there somewhere in Italy or Greece that I can visit soon . . .? Both are on my travel bucket list!

I sincerely hope that my readers will continue to come along on my future adventures. Sharing my encounters via this blog helps to make me feel at home, wherever I am! I kind of like the fact that sharing new experiences every week is becoming my idea of “normal”. I thrive on new experiences, and I will continue to invite you along!

Enjoy this visual recap of where I’ve been during the last two years!

Join me on my next adventure,

~ Kat

Related Links:

Artisanal Premium Cheese: https://www.artisanalcheese.com/

One comment

  1. Feel like I’ve shared your experiences, especially in the photos. To steal the motto of Loyola Hospital, you “touch the human spirit” in every “sense”.
    I envision your Blogs on the world screen someday….mark my word.


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