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It’s fitting that my blogging and real-life friend Kelly introduced me to the expression “Leap, and the net will appear.” Not much leaping has gone on here for a while, but it was an innocuous message from Kelly a few days ago that launched a swift and thrilling decision to meet her and husband J in Malta just four short weeks from today. That has, in turn, prompted my first blog post in quite a while. Not exactly a high-wire act, but a pretty nice shot of adrenaline after these last few years!

Lake Tahoe: the last place we saw Kelly and J

I go through phases of throw-caution-to-the-wind leaping. There are times like the one where I decided on a whim to cash in my airline miles and fly for 48 hours in order to meet other blogging friends Lisa and Fabio on their sailboat off the coast of Madagascar for a week, and other stretches when I settle into a safer existence in which any sort of impulsive decision-making seems irresponsible or just too damn hard to pull off.

Madagascar: Lisa, Lexie, lemurs!

Jumping back onto the blog feels scary and impetuous, too. I’ve drafted plenty of posts that fizzled out mid-composition in recent months; they just felt boring and uninspired, perhaps because my blog is about travel stories, ideally set in exotic or far-flung locales, and all I had done in the last several years was drive our car back and forth across the U.S. and western Canada.

You’ve read all about my road trip addiction, the pull to the west as summer gets underway, the call of blue byways when the days are long and a sense of giddy adventure rises in my chest as we exit a new hotel on a warm morning. But even the granddaddy of our road trips to date (over 5000 miles, starting in Houston and making our turnaround in Whistler, British Columbia, and in between big chunks of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Utah) failed to inspire a riveting, or even good, tale. A little follow-up drive of some 3000 miles up the spine of the Appalachians was equally beautiful … and equally devoid of mass interest. You’ve been there, done all this driving with me before!

Sure, it was fun and very scenic at times, and the people part has been great. Lots of family, some more bloggers like Alison and Don in Vancouver, our now-IRL pals Pam and Sean in Oregon, my 29029 gang at Whistler Mountain, and my best high school and college friends in Montana and South Carolina.

Vancouver and Whistler probably did deserve a write-up; they were first-time destinations for me and were breathtakingly gorgeous, but I just couldn’t flesh out a compelling story.

Bend, Oregon was a photographer’s dream, the southeast and Appalachians offered somewhat fresher driving routes, and there was even a new grandbaby visit in there for good (the best) measure! Still, a narrative eluded me, photo essays aren’t really my stock-in-trade, and personal stories have been mostly off-limits here.

In our non-travel life, we’ve been contemplating other big leaps as well. Our reason for establishing a second base in Colorado two years ago (our son’s growing family) suddenly disappeared when he took a new job in Ohio in July. That tipped the east-west scale a little farther to the right, with kids now in San Francisco, Ohio, and Boston, and precipitated a now-endless discussion of whether we should stay put in the middle of the country to be able to fly quickly to any of the three places (really four, since my parents are still in Pennsylvania) or try to move somewhere where three of the four could be reached by car in a day’s driving? With my husband J’s job allowing him to work from anywhere these days, we began to contemplate a relocation, but we know better than to follow peripatetic children, and part of our mostly-practical selves keeps saying to be patient.

I think we can sit on that decision a while longer, but the overseas travel itch was not as easy to push off. Perhaps a sudden or last-minute opportunity is more conducive to decision-making, at least in our household. We can’t seem to make dinner plans with friends or neighbors for months on end, but when one of us suddenly proposes an outing that evening, it works! In this case, Kelly casually suggested we join them, I latched onto the idea, J was impressively open to it, and two days later, everything was booked … I hope she really meant it! Next post from Malta!