Apologies and travel


Today I come to you with apologies in hand, for both my colleagues and my readers. Before we went out of town, I thought I’d get a few columns ahead by alternating “oldies” and new pieces from the road.

That didn’t work, of course, and by the time I realized that I had to put fingers to keyboard or at least call Mike-my-editor with apologies, I couldn’t even get up the gumption to explain.
 Worst of all, I let my readers down. I had not mentioned we’d be gone that long – the column space was not “saved” for me. Bless Michael Boylan for whipping together a number of columns, and he makes it look so easy. (If you haven’t read his column about Kevin Thomas, go to TheCitizen.com, June 20, and look it up. A perfect tribute.)

We were gone for about 10 weeks and by the time we returned home, I’d become accustomed to life without deadlines

One rationalization led to another: I was using a Baby Dell computer that had problems that distracted me from my mission. I became dragged down by depression and fatigue, my demon at work, I guess. I was seriously trying to word my resignation. I could do without deadline pressures.

Then someone tells me how much they enjoy the column or say something encouraging, and I’d cave. Cal Beverly was especially supportive, for which I thank him profusely.

So. Enough about that. All I can say is, I’ll try to do better.

This week I’ll run a few “Coming Attractions” intended to re-whet your interest, then intersperse them with whatever else strikes my interest.

As I’ve said before, I respect my readers, hard-working souls dealing with a troubled economy. I’ll travel for you. Who needs or can afford  a few weeks’ vacation, children who are hard to travel with, not enough money, and time! Who has the patience to buy cruise-dressy clothes or to endure long lines waiting for security clearance?

I can help. It’s the least I can do. I go in your place, then tell you all about it in a couple of columns. No humongous VISA bills, no jetlag, no security wands, and think of the money you’ll save.

Today I’ll just give you a brief itinerary of the 2012 journey. It worked out quite well, although I admit I was not as strong as I used to be. Were my energy half what it was several years ago, we could have doubled our itineraries using car or train.

First stop: Barcelona in southern Spain.

A group of about 30 church members and friends arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, in mid-April (the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic….). We spent a night in a motel, then boarded Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas in time to check out our cabins and eat a great meal. We were embarking to one of the most interesting destinations.

We were crossing the South Atlantic, out on open water, not a manmade structure in sight. We were very lucky with the weather. Those of us who liked being out on deck just gave up looking neat and all-in-place, because the movement of the ship kept a steady wind on every deck.

The northeastern corner of Africa is buffered by small islands collectively named the Canary Islands, of which Tenerife is the capital. Not sandy beaches with foamy water drifting in and out, these islands look like just about any other port-towns: crowded streets, taxis vying for customers, prosperous-looking stores.

Didn’t think I’d say so much this early in my travelogue, so I’ll add but one more remark. This archipelago is one of the first stops for east-traveling shipping and built their economy largely on that service. Ditto westbound water travel. A sort of “last gas for 5,000 miles” alert. 

I said I’d trot out our itinerary and then used up my space. Just know that all that water is isolating on so many levels.

Next week on the way to Gibraltar, then the Mediterranean, southern cities in Spain and on to Barcelona…