It’s not often on this blog that I reveal the less attractive side of my personality to the world. Mostly that’s because I’m in charge of the content, and hey, I like to look good as much as the next person. But I think it’s also due to the fact that travel truly brings out the best in me – the side that is fun, resourceful, creative, and occasionally spontaneous. The happy side as it were.
I’ll admit with some chagrin that for the past few weeks that it is the darker side of my personality that has been more in evidence. This is the part of me that gets weighed down by the pedestrian and feels trapped in her own house. When this Mara comes to stay, I turn into a humorless, impatient person who can’t come up with anything fun to do but who also puts the kibosh on too many video games or too much TV. Oh, and did I mention that she’s a complainer?
This side is, unfortunately for my children, the one that shows up when a series of snow days comes along and wipes the slate clean of all my plans. And when those snow days are followed by a week-long head cold and then still more snow days, during the last of which my husband is out of town, the anti-Mara takes over as relentlessly as the weather. This past Friday the world seemed so small and impossible that I actually put the children in the car and attempted to drive to my sister’s house as I had planned earlier in the week even though it had stormed on Thursday night and school was canceled. I drove through blowing snow, jaw clenched, until I reached a steep patch of road in rural Pennsylvania that had not been plowed. Here I at last realized my own folly, turning around rather than risking a run into the ditch.
Three hours in the car and I was back at my own door with two very unhappy children and my own guilty face in the rearview mirror.
I’m pleased to report that Good Mara returned at that moment, rented Ponyo, and let the children watch it while they ate yummy quesadillas that she whipped up using a variety of odds and ends from her fridge. They both had “special drinks” (chocolate milk for one and pomegranate syrup in tonic water for the other) lots of cuddles, and then a good long read aloud before bed.
And I was kind to myself as well after the children were tucked in bed pouring a generous glass of Vigonier and then remembering that I hadn’t yet found a hotel room for the 2010 Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) Conference, which I attended in Chicago last year. This year’s edition will take place at the end of June in New York City and it promises to be both fun and enlightening. Within the hour I proceeded to find a deal at the swanky Cooper Square Hotel (thank you Meg of Backpack to Buggy who posted the link on Twitter). I then banished anti-Mara completely with daydreams of a quiet train ride followed by a day of walking and museums and then a weekend of learning and merriment with many of the online pals whose blogs I so admire.
One new aspect of the conference that I’m excited about this year is the Community Keynote. Travel bloggers have been invited to submit posts in a variety of categories. The winning posts will be read at the conference and linked from the TBEX website. I am planning to submit an entry and may even offer you, my dear readers, a chance to help select which post I send in.
And so my Monday dream is a mixed on this week: no more snow days this winter, a grown-up trip to Manhattan, and having my writing validated by colleagues I respect. But most of all I dream that the Mara I like – the Traveling Mom Mara – sticks around, even when she’s stuck at home.
What are you dreaming of this Monday? Please feel free to share a link below, making sure you link directly to your post, not your site’s homepage and that you link back to this post. Questions? See About Monday Dreaming.