Selected Excerpts from Chapter 3 - The Silver Lining of Going Nowhere

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I love traveling and, when our circumstances began to restrict that option, I deeply missed having that experience. I would not want anyone to misinterpret this chapter as being a diatribe against travelling. It is easy to interpret a discussion on the advantages of A over B as being a promotion of A. That is not my intent. If I could have B (seeing the world), I probably would jump at the chance. Since I canít, I want to look for every benefit in A (exploring the local) that I can. Doing that helps me stay content, builds excitement about what I have and not longing for what I have not, and makes it a lot easier to not care about B. Some of these advantages may be a bit of a stretch, but you take what you are given.

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We were in a very old Honda Civic that was barely running. Our oldest daughter was only an infant at the time, and was strapped into a car seat between mountains of luggage and Christmas presents that were being ferried up a month early to avoid the shipping costs. We had packages and luggage stuffed into every available cubic inch of the interior and knew that if we were in a wreck we would either be cushion by our stuff, or killed by our stuff. We were near Philadelphia on I-95 and the traffic had been at a virtual standstill for hours. Each lane would creep forward a few feet and various jerks would try to move over to grab an extra yard or two of forward progress. As we sat in the Honda, an RV slowly moved forward on our left. I wiped the condensation from the window and looked over to a scene that astonished me. Through the picture window of the RV was the brightly lit interior with a wall mounted TV flickering over the lavish kitchen. Standing around the comfortable table was a small group of travelers in animated conversation holding cocktails and laughing over some joke. Likely the joke was the little overstuffed clown car that looked up at them through their picture window with such envy.

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On a four day trip, our family could easily use up almost half of the useful time preparing for travel, traveling and then recuperating from travel. On the other hand, if we decided to do a day trip to someplace nearby, such as Frederick, Maryland, we can visit the antique shops, eat in some of the dinners, explore Hood College, take our pictures in front of various covered bridges, hike to the waterfall at Cunningham Falls state park, catch a Frederick Keys minor league baseball game, and only spend a couple of hours on the road Ė total. That kind of time savings is profound. A family traveling to the Washington D.C. area for a vacation may burn up a large part of their vacation time traveling. Their five day visit is reduced to two or three real days at most. My family, living in the D.C. area could take five days and actually spend five days seeing the sights. That is almost 100% more time on vacation.


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