Travel with Awe and Wonder: Getting to Newfoundland, Part I

by Christy Anselmi /
Christy Anselmi's picture
Aug 16, 2022 / 0 comments

This summer, my husband and I undertook a move. A relocation from Massachusetts to Arizona has been undertaken by others, no doubt. We decided to make things a little more interesting than a direct route. We headed north. Our circuitous route is winding us through Newfoundland, Portugal, and North Carolina. When one would think to take the southerly route from the Carolina’s to Arizona in the winter months, we will make Bugs Bunny’s famous right turn at Albuquerque to get to Bozeman, Montana. Then, we’ll drive to Arizona. Our 100 pound Golden Doodle, Kipper, was not consulted in the making of these plans, but we plied him with treats for the first three years of his life to the point he considers us his pack and blindly follows our direction. Our two sons weren’t consulted either. But, given that they abandoned us in their selfish quest to get a college education, we felt at liberty to leave a note on the front door explaining why other people now live in their house.

Travel with Awe and Wonder: Getting to Newfoundland, Part 1

The Concept Turns to Action...

The conjuring of this plan began a year before departure. My husband is a dreamer. He can go deep into thought and build mountains of possibilities in his mind. This requires a great deal of sitting. I’m a doer. This requires a great deal of movement. I attack plans. To me, thinking about doing something is just the first step in obsessively moving toward the point in time when the thing is done. 

Over the years, we have discovered there is a perpetual movement in the alchemy that our personalities brew. It goes something like this…

After five hours of determined gardening (relaxed gardening is a completely different mindset), I burst into the house to chug a glass of water. John, over the same amount of time, had been thinking…on the couch…loosely disguised as “taking care of Kipper.” What it took me many years of our marriage to figure out is that John’s body is idle, but his mind buzzes, constantly, with ideas, plans, goals, agendas, and a steady list of life’s “must dos.” He will get around to all of these things in his own time, but properly placing these ideas in my path creates a dramatic and invisible chemical reaction. BAM! The ideas take on a lightning-paced life that John has come to expect by now, having been married to me for a few decades. His presentation and timing are intentional, because deep down his desire to experience all that life has to offer bubbles just below the surface. The room blurs in a flurry of action as the reality of what he has put into play in the universe takes hold.

My husband has presented me with direction-changing dreams throughout our marriage, knowing I will take the bait. This particular directional shift did cause me to stop and think for a moment. In order to move to Arizona and do a six month journey to get there, I had to give up a teaching job that I loved (albeit, had gotten slightly disillusioned with). Leaving my smart and dedicated colleagues (many of whom have become dear friends), my townie friends, my brother in nearby Boston, our beautiful home of 13 years—and all of my determined gardening that resulted in beautiful grounds—constantly flooded my beleaguered mind over the months after John presented this idea. Our two sons, though attending college, were not settled in their location, life, and careers. 

Here we are considering upending the most permanent home they have known. 

Travel with Awe and Wonder: Getting to Newfoundland, Part I  The Concept Turns to Action...
Determined gardening pays off!

But just as most of John’s dream-ideas do, this one nagged at me. Truth be told, I have wanderlust. 

I get itchy with the possibilities that lie just around that next bend in the road. 

My curious mind won’t sit still. It didn’t sit still when we moved to Montana in 1999 and I decided to take a break from public school teaching to explore Maria Montessori’s concept of teaching and learning. It didn’t sit still when I embraced and learned from friendships with an amazing community of Mormon women during our five years living in Salt Lake City. 

My curious mind swirled with possibilities for raising young children in a small town in Germany for two years. In Kansas for a year, I dove into the art of homeschooling and informally studied the motivations different people have for homeschooling their children. 

Then, in Massachusetts I reentered the profession in which I have training, Early Childhood Education. It is there that my heart lies. Honoring the developmental levels of young people by facilitating each child’s connection to humanity and capitalizing on their innate curiosity is an art. It might be a dying art, replaced by scripted curriculums with hypnotic words like “science” in their descriptors. 

I stepped away. And went with Plan B: John’s well-placed dream. 

Travel with Awe and Wonder: Getting to Newfoundland, Part I  The Concept Turns to Action...
What is around that bend in the road?

It took us three actual days to get to Newfoundland from Massachusetts. In our perception, it took us thirty. And not for the reasons you might be thinking: "John drives like my 96-year old great Aunt Ethel and Christy can be quite a conversational bore." 

The days lasted so long because so much happened in each one! Leaving our small Massachusetts town started with a stop at Dunkin' Donuts for a cup of coffee and a last visit with the ladies at the drive-through window, who always gush over Kipper and sneak him a piece of bacon whenever management turns their back. Eight texts to our sons detailing all the things I forgot to tell them after the 30 minutes of face-to-face things I told them and a month's worth of intermittent "leading-up-to" information before we left. 

And then we were off! 

Not a care in the world except that persistent nagging feeling about all the things we care about. Oh well, I'm sure that feeling will go away in the never-future. Kipper and the tower of luggage next to him were looking both unsteady and uncomfortable. As dogs usually do, Kipper sensed the impending disaster before the humans. Coming around a steep curve not yet on our first highway, our first luggage tumble missed Kipper's tail by inches. 

Kipper and the luggage tower of terror. From Travel with Awe and Wonder: Getting to Newfoundland, Part I  The Concept Turns to Action...
Kipper and the luggage tower of terror

Pulling off the road, we solved the luggage problem by pushing everything back into place—and pushing Kipper, who clearly wanted to escape the unpredictability of the situation, back to his designated spot next to the tower of terror. Off we went!

For the next two hours, John and I gave many furtive glances back to the luggage/Kipper situation in the back of the Jeep, but dismissed it as potentially working. Until...it wasn't. 

The luggage tower gave way in a more convincing statement than it had previously. This mishap took a full reimagining of our 3.5x5 foot setup. In the parking lot of a Days Inn, Kipper and every piece of luggage came out. With fleeting thoughts of leaving everything except Kipper in that Days Inn parking lot (and buying daily disposable clothes along the way), we continued to stare at the 100 pound dog, the 10 pieces of luggage, and the empty rear of the Jeep until our Ah-Ha moment finally arrived. 

A view of Acadia National Park. From Travel with Awe and Wonder: Getting to Newfoundland, Part I  The Concept Turns to Action...
A view of Acadia National Park

Repacked and ready to go, we were finally off! Day one ended with a lovely hike in Acadia National Park and a lobster dinner at an outdoor roadside diner. Kipper took one look at the kibble we put in his bowl while we ate our lobsters and proceeded to stare intently at John (who Kipper knows cannot resist feeding people and sad-eyed dogs) until John gave in and placed a succulent market-priced piece of lobster in Kipper's mouth. 

After that, kibble didn't stand a chance.

Everyone in our family loves lobster! From Travel with Awe and Wonder: Getting to Newfoundland, Part I  The Concept Turns to Action...
Everyone in our family loves lobster!

 

More in this series: 

Travel with Awe and Wonder: A Change of Life Predeparture Checklist
 

Christy Anselmi, the Travel with Awe and Wonder Editor for Wandering Educators, taught kindergarten and first grade for 13 years in public schools in Atlanta and Massachusetts. She took a two year diversion to teach and learn in a Montessori school in Bozeman, Montana and a 10 year sabbatical to raise her own children. Christy has an abiding interest in early childhood education and how to provide developmentally appropriate experiences to engage young people in connection and communication. Raised by parents who got Christy involved in travel at a young age, she developed a curiosity about what is around each corner. Married to a Wyoming man who developed his own wanderlust after years in the Army, the two (along with two sons) have lived in five states (Georgia, Montana, Utah, Kansas, Massachusetts, and soon to be Arizona) and one country (Germany). Christy is a life-long noticer of intriguing scenarios, phrases, and ironies in everyday life. Finally putting pen to paper, she has a growing passion for insightful travel-experience writing.