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by riley harrison

A vacation is like love – anticipated with pleasure, experienced with discomfort, and remembered with nostalgia.

Author Unknown


Kathy and I just returned from a two week vacation (experience might be a better description than vacation). It was a grueling adventure but necessary and enlightening. For us, learning comes first and rest/ relaxation comes in dead last. We flew out to Hartford Connecticut and then drove 2,000 miles around New England’s  winding, hilly roads with one excursion into Canada (Compo Bello – the site of Franklin Roosevelt’s modest summer cottage which has only 32 rooms. I concluded that I needed to learn more about Eleanor and Franklin and found two good books in the library: Eleanor and Franklin: The Story of Their Relationship, based on Eleanor Roosevelt’s Private Papers by Joseph P. Lash and No Ordinary time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Much of the learning on this trip was unanticipated. I was pleasantly exposed to some new technology:

 We rented a Toyota Prius (hybrid gas-electric car) and averaged 48 mpg on the trip. The savings on the fuel bill made me a believer but when I got home and began driving my 10 year old Camry I felt like a was driving a souped-up dragster. It took some adjustment to get used to the Camry’s faster acceleration.

 I never leave home without my laptop but I begun experimenting with Kathy’s iPad. The fast boot-up speed and reliability really impressed me. The laptop seems to handle the data entry function better than the iPad and I prefer the laptop’s large size monitor screen  for reading documents, blogs etc. I’ll probably buy an iPad to supplement but not replace my laptop.

I had never used a GPS system (provides info about the car’s position and the best travel routes to a given destination by linking itself to a built-in digital map) but I suspect they will be part of all future travel plans. I was impressed.

 The most memorable experience for me was visiting the Amoskeag Mill in Manchester N.H. I love history and this provided me a fascinating peek into 19th century  industrial society. It whetted my appetite for more info; they were selling a wonderful history (Amoskeag: Life and Work in an American Factory-City) by Tamara K. Hareven for $29.99. I thought that was a little pricey and found a used copy (in good condition) on the internet for $.01 plus $3.99 shipping.

It feels so good to be home. Travel impresses upon me the lesson that life is short and must be lived to the max. That being said I made two purchases on Amazon today:

WL V911 4 CH Single Rotor Helicopter (Version 2). Drones fascinate me and this is kind of a hobbyist’s “starter model” for those who know they don’t a darn thing about how to fly one of these contraptions. It only costs $45.00 and apparently is very durable so you don’t completely wreck it when you fly it into the ground or a tree.

Creative Whack Pack By Roger Von Oech. An illustrated deck of 64 creative thinking strategies that will whack you out of habitual thought patterns and enable you to look at your life and actions in a fresh way. I think anything that will increase your creativity at a reasonable price has to be a wise investment.




{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori Gosselin June 17, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Hi Riley,
You know how to squeeze the value out of an experience even as you speak of discomfort!
I’m impressed that you were inspired to learn more about the Roosevelts and bought books about them. I’m checking otu the creative Whack Pack. Did you get it yet – is it worth the purchase price?

Trips do change us, though, don’t they? I find even a little overnight trip can change my perspective. It always amazes me when this happens!
Lori Gosselin recently posted..Do the Words “Life” and “Struggle” Always Go Together?My Profile


riley harrison June 19, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Hi Lori,
Haven’t been home since I ordered the Whack Pack, but I’ll let you know what I think when I return from my travels (currently at Penn St. taking a weeklong astonomy course – it’s fascinating and overwhelming). Roosevelts are fascinating people (Franklin and Eleanor). I’m reading Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book (No Ordinary Time) on the Roosevelts. I want to understand what made Franklin such an effective leader.
riley harrison recently posted..HE WHO RETURNS FROM A JOURNEY IS NOT THE SAME AS HE WHO LEFTMy Profile


Sean Crawford July 29, 2013 at 1:24 am

Hi Riley,
I’m so glad to see your server is back up. I was afraid you had “lost the faith” and quit posting. Let’s remember that at our age posting is its own reward, rather than a means to “being popular.”

On a related note, in his post-Nam essay “Civilian,” Tobias Wolfe wrote how even though he knew none of his stuff was worth sending out for publication yet (rejection guaranteed) he knew that writing was sharpening his brain, clearing his thoughts and increasing his self-discipline. (My words)

I believe that writing, like education, is never wasted, while half-kidding myself that one day my reader statistics will start increasing. My stats are blurry to me: my clear focus is on my writing.

Looking forward to your next post!
Sean Crawford recently posted..Man Loves GirlMy Profile


Leah from car rental companies September 20, 2013 at 8:14 am

Hi Riley,

Thank you for sharing your story. It is very moving coz I remember my trip with my family when I am still with them. It makes me realized that I changed a lot when I moved out with them.


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