(article from Megan’s Travel Column, Weekly Wanders on Life2PointOh)
A few weekends ago I decided to take one last weekend trip before heading south for the summer. A friend of mine was invited to stay at his friend’s house upstate in Lake Huntington so I decided to tag along. I figured most city dwellers would migrate to the Hamptons for 4th of July weekend and craving serenity, I knew heading somewhere more remote would be a nice change.
Despite being from a relatively small town, I think living in the city does something to your perception of normal. After only two years living in Manhattan, I have already noticed myself feeling jaded at times. I realize this most when I have friends in town. They immediately notice what I now categorize as complete normalcy: fights breaking out in the middle of the street, children cursing and rapping along to The Black Eyed Peas in the subway, transvestites wandering about and cabbies screaming about God knows what.
So when we finally were close to our destination, our jadedness started lessening. We found ourselves pointing at cows, horses and even commenting on the sounds of birds chirping like these were the strangest occurrences. It was almost as if we were at a zoo and nature was on display. When we arrived at the house, it took me a few minutes to remember what silence sounded like. We were literally in the middle of nowhere — and it was just what we needed.
The main event of the weekend was tubing along the Delaware River. The only real memory I have of tubing is at Disney World’s Typhoon Lagoon when I was about ten, which is hardly comparable. As we tied our tubes together (no pun intended) and lazily glided down the water I felt like I had transported myself to some alternate reality. The trippiest sensation was when I leaned all the way back until my forehead hit the top of the water at which point everything appeared upside down. There may have also been tequila involved.
Perhaps the most entertaining part of our little tubing adventure was reaching the end point. All of a sudden I felt like I had returned to South America, which made me very happy since that was probably the best trip I’ve ever been on:
There was this huge rock, sort of resembling Pride Rock from the Lion King where about thirty Columbians were dancing around. I decided to join in on the fun and after one of the men helped me up, I got an amazing view of the lake. What I wasn’t expecting was the amount of alcohol the Columbians had brought with them. They offered us a shot of Aguardiente(otherwise known as “Hard Water” and actually pretty delicious) while on the rock, and justifying it as part of research for my travel website, I tasted it.
While one shot was enough for me, the group proudly boasted that they generally take 17 shots each! The teenage lifeguard in me wanted to scold them for being so reckless but the wanderer in me just smiled. Their deep sense of family, community and lust for life comforted me in a way I wasn’t expecting.
I was only three hours from home and yet I felt thousands of miles away. That’s the perk of a staycation. Sometimes you don’t need to travel far at all to be reminded of what life is all about.
Photos Courtesy of Daniel Perry