friends and family reunion road trip: day nine: friends, dogs, and views, plus some thoughts about future travels

When we went to the BART station to pick up our friend D yesterday, there was an unexpected surprise: a market! It was the Berkeley International Flea Market. A vendor told me it's been going on every weekend, both Saturday and Sunday, for 47 years. 

I was immediately drawn to the first table I saw. There were two necklaces that jumped out at me; they appeared to be "paper beads". I have a necklace and a bracelet made of these fun beads, which I purchased at an AIDS fair when we lived in Port Credit. Turns out I was right, these necklaces were also paper beads, and I bought one. Earrings and beads: you can never have too many. 

We wandered through the whole market, which was quite extensive, with an African and Caribbean accent. Like most flea markets, there were some nice stalls, and some junk. But of course one person's junk is another collector's treasure. Surprisingly, that first stall with the paper beads was the only one I liked! (The artist told me she is on "Selective Treasures" on Instagram, but I only found her Facebook page: @SelectiveTreasures.)

Soon after that, D arrived, and (with Allan in the back with the dogs), we went to the Ohlone Dog Park. This is one of the nicer dog parks we've been to -- very large, with lots of shade, and wood chips on the ground to help tamp down the dust. Kai and Cookie played a lot. There were lots of beautiful and funny dogs to watch.

We had a great conversation -- apparently the norm when D and I get together. He recommended we listen to this: Rod Serling's speech at UCLA in 1966, just after Ronald Reagan has been elected governor of California. Serling's speaking style is slow and wordy -- a product of a different era -- but the speech, about Black freedom and "white backlash," is very powerful. The speech is about 30 minutes, followed by a Q&A, which I have not heard (yet).

After a while we said our goodbyes and dropped D in downtown Berkeley; he was off to do some exploring. After a quick pitstop at the cottage, we drove further into the East Bay, to nephew and niece-in-law J and C's home.

J and C live in a lovely neighbourhood with modest (as opposed to McMansion) homes. Their house is amazing: they've knocked down walls and re-configured rooms to create an open-concept space. I was amazed to learn that J did all the work himself. It's filled with art created by C, and some by her parents, who are also artists. It's altogether beautiful in a way that feels random and haphazard, so you might discover new beauty every time you look. C's design sense is incredible.

In the backyard, C has her studio and J has an office space, both really sweet little buildings. The rest of the yard is a garden, where they are growing seemingly every fruit and vegetable I can think of. We ate plums off the tree and strawberries off the vine as we walked around and J pointed out all the plants. The showpiece is a giant Meyer lemon tree that was absolutely laden with gorgeous yellow fruit.

The yard is fully fenced, so Kai and Cookie immediately made themselves at home. Because there are cats inside, I could only do a quick indoor tour, but it was delightful to sit outside in the gorgeous Bay Area weather. (I was reminded how, for a fair portion of my adult life, just sitting outside in someone's backyard was a huge treat. City life!) 

J picked up yummy Mexican food for lunch, something we never have at home, a lovely treat. Their suburban neighbourhood has a large Latinx and Asian population, so there are plenty of food choices. (Yes, I'm a bit envious. No, it doesn't matter.)

After lunch, we drove (in two cars) to an amazing park area about two miles from J and C's home. "Park" doesn't do it justice; this is a peninsula of marshes, grassland, forest, and coastline, with hiking and bike trails. It connects to a regional trail system that sounds completely amazing. We took a long walk, first on a trail that hugs the coastline, with beautiful views, then went back on a paved walkway, slightly more inland. It was warm and sunny, but breezy and not at all humid.

Back at J and C's house, we cooled off and relaxed on their patio, and talked more, before saying goodbyes. You know how I feel about goodbyes. sigh

When we moved to northern Vancouver Island, I said that all our travel would be to visit family and friends -- that our days of exploring new places around the world are over, at least for a while. I felt ready and able to do that. And I still do... except when I think about places I haven't been. J and C, for example, casually mentioned their trip to Turkey, and I immediately feel a desire to go to Turkey. We've never been and it's on my List. But, like any other addict in recovery, I've learned to sit with that feeling, and let it pass. 

A few weeks before moving to BC, I wrote:

There are few things I love as much as travel. It feels more like a need, an addiction, than a pastime. But these days, some of my hunger to see new places has abated. I just want to travel -- anywhere. There are still dozens of places I'd love to see, but I notice that any travel, to anywhere, feeds the need. A big, special trip -- like Egypt last year, or Peru in 2006 -- slakes the thirst for a long time. But a short trip to a place I know well also quiets the bug, just for a shorter time.

Since we moved to Canada in 2005, all our family has been long-distance. This has sometimes caused conflict between wanting to visit people, and wanting to travel someplace new. Moving to Vancouver Island, we'll be closer to some family and farther from others, but everyone will still be long-distance.

So here's what I'm thinking. I'd like to try traveling primarily to see friends and family, plus local exploring, and see how that feels. That alone includes Vermont, Boston (Fenway Park), New York, New Jersey, California (both SoCal and the Bay Area), and Oregon. It could also include Florida, Maryland, Texas, and Alaska, if we wanted. And the GTA! We would see family and friends, and get some travel in at the same time.

I wonder, could we do this for, say, five years? Would it satisfy my wanderlust?
In the Pacific Northwest, the Bay Area, and SoCal alone, there are so many things to see and do, and it would be wonderful to see and do them with family and friends! This is all peachy keen -- until I think about Turkey, or Hawaii, or Prague, or... any other place we haven't been to. How this will play out is the story of our future; it has not yet been written.

Meanwhile, today we drive back to the Ashland/Talent/Medford area. Unfortunately, we have car trouble: the turn signals are not working. Further unfortunately, it is Sunday. We got a tip on a car-repair place from J, who has an office in Berkeley, but will they be open?


Stephanie said...

I like the mural BDS with Handala (boy walking with his hands behind his back)!
Nice to see that the message is out there.

Nice artwork.

laura k said...

Naturally I thought of you and David! I love that the mural connects Palestine to indigenous struggles.

Amy said...

It sounds like a perfect day. The park and your nephew's backyard sound heavenly.

I hope you're able to get the turn signal fixed!

laura k said...

It was heavenly. Thank you, Amy!

Stephanie said...

The mural connects Palestine to indigenous struggles. Yes indeed!

Stephanie said...

I was 13 days old when Serling spoke, yet, I am still a huge fan. I watched twilight zone through the late 70's.