Europe, France, Georgia, Travel, United Kingdom, United States, Wander

Too much of a good thing

Indulging in Georgia

    I tend to overdo things. It’s driven I think by some sort of seize-the-moment compulsion. It introduces complications and challenges of which I’m fully aware but with which, it seems, I’m ready and willing to contend. Take our holiday programs and itineraries. They don’t contain much down-time — it’s always go, go, go! Not very restful or relaxing, little opportunity to develop a sense of or appreciation for the people and places we visit, but we sure do get to absorb a lot more than if we took a less hectic approach to things

    [For example, not too many people would choose to start of the year by spending a week in Greece visiting 4 destinations in 6 days time. That was planned. Sometimes plans turn out to be not nearly aggressive enough. A few months ago, we embarked on a 5-5-5 holiday that was designed to take us to the US, England, and Georgia for 5 days each. Somehow, we worked in a day trip to France and another to Turkey.]

Day 2: Catching the Iron Pigs in action on a Sunday afternoon

Some things never change: the boys resisting the ravages of time

Day 5: Pilgrimage to the Meantime Brew House

Day 6: Dipping back into time

still trying to figure out how they got these d*** rocks here

Day 9: crossing the channel to Calais, France

returning to England with Norman cheeses and a bottle of Bordeaux

The White Cliffs of Dover at sunset

Day 10: Ancient wine making in Tbilisi, Georgia

Day 12: Sighnaghi, Kakheti, Sakartvelo (Georgia)

Day 15: Istanbul

    Absorption can, however, pose the occasional challenge. Take oysters, for example. I love ’em! They always leave an impression! The oyster stew we enjoyed as kids. Oysters on the half shell with cheese fries and Dixie beer at Cooter Brown’s. Smoked oysters out of a tin. Barbecued oysters in California, where just one of those cowboy oysters can be a meal in itself! But that’s where things began to go awry. The body no longer wished to absorb them, it seems. Either that, or the oysters rejected me. Still, I keep going back for more. I’ve visited Paris four times. Two of those four visits featured an oyster feast. Those same visits also featured an oyster rejection. More than the regurgitation, it’s the thought of money spent on a delightful repast going down the drain that causes the greater upset…

    Absorption is just one challenge. Overburdening is the other. I still haven’t figured out how to travel lightly. This inability is compounded by acquisitions while on the road. I am plagued by an affection for books. Books and honey. Books, honey, and libations, to be precise. Cheese too.

Day 9: Cheese shopping in Calais, France. Where is the Gaperon?

Gaperon is not a Norman cheese…

    While I’ve developed a skill at packing fragile items in checked bags so that they are delivered to our destination intact, the increased weight tends to come with an occasional price tag, but more often simply limits our mobility.

limited mobility can yield rewards at the end of a trip. English beers and Georgian wines!

    One time, the diminutive wife was left to manage six heavy bags at JFK as I rushed to return the rental car. She’s gotten better at this, but I don’t see her deriving much pleasure from this sort of challenge…

    Ah, but there is much pleasure to be obtained at the end of the journey. Looking at our photos and recalling what we’ve experienced, sampling honey from Austria or the Kyrgyz Republic, savoring a saperavi from Kakheti or an IPA from England, sharing a case of the Tsar’s Abrau-Dyurso champagne with Dad, and tearing through one book after another to increase our knowledge and understanding: I must object in the strongest possible terms to the notion that there can be too much of a good thing.

    On the contrary, let me suggest that too much is never enough. This is particularly the case when it comes to spending time with friends and family. As we age, we find that longevity is not something that can be taken for granted, so while there are other commitments and obligations that place demands on our time, and we find ourselves demanding moments of splendid isolation, we need to recognize that time is fleeting and that it is the most crucial ingredient for nourishing the relationships we cherish most. Indeed, too much is never enough…and applies to knowledge, understanding, khachapuri, baze, and saperavi just as much as it does to time. Live it up!