December 31, 2012, Washington, DC: A cabin in the woods. A seat in the upper deck. A familiar chair in the window at Royal Ground Coffee. Neighborhood Nomads covered extensive ground in 2012 and from each vantage point, we saw the world from a new perspective. Read on for a list of my top ten travels of 2012, then go out and enjoy a happy and healthy 2013! May your New Year be full of the adventure of travel, the comforts of home, the power of place, and the joyful and curious spirit of nomads everywhere.
The first half of 2012 was dedicated to the completion of my original project, Neighborhood Nomad: One Year of Travel Through My Many Hometowns. Before the project’s one-year mark in June, I visited three cities I once called home:
10) In January, my mother and I pulled up to our old house in St. Louis to find the parking space in the driveway reserved for Marilyn Monroe. It was among many aspects of the weekend that made this region feel oddly unfamiliar — until we visited relatives nearby who reminded us that anywhere there is family can feel like home.
9) In February, my husband and I spent a long weekend in San Francisco, a city that’s always felt like a natural fit. The places I’d once fallen for again pulled me in — from the slopes of Mt. Tam and the rugged coastline of the Pacific to the streets of the city and their familiar rhythms and faces. There are some places you just know you belong.
8) A June trip to Toronto gave my mother and I the perfect excuse to see old friends. In their company, we were comfortably at home in a city we hadn’t returned to in 30-some years, soaking in a magnificent urban landscape and paying a visit to a new generation now living in the old neighborhood.
7) My husband and I returned to Irvington later that month to celebrate the anniversaries of both our wedding and this blog. This time, we experienced the town from a boat on Carter’s Creek, where we were reminded that Virginia’s Northern Neck will forever be part of our story.
The plan was to take a hiatus from travel once the project was complete, but in the meantime our families and friends had become more nomadic than ever. The places important to their own stories were multiplying, and so we carved out time see the sights…
6) A wedding in The Hamptons exposed us to a place important to our friends’ narrative and gave us a welcome afternoon to nap in the sand.
4) In early fall, we paid a visit to my in-laws’ new homebase in Colorado, where they moved this summer after decades spent on the East Coast.
3) Even my grandparents had moved since we saw them last, so we boarded a flight to Chicago for Thanksgiving among family.
2) A one mile bike ride hardly counts as travel, but Nationals Park most certainly deserves a spot among our most memorable places of 2012.
1) And finally there was Christmas in Connecticut, a peaceful place to which we routinely return to celebrate one year before moving on to the next.
Related Posts on Neighborhood Nomads: