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SPOTLIGHT
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Taking in the beauty, the history

Published on -11/29/2012, 1:39 PM

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It's good to leave and good to come back, that's the allure of travel.

Taking on the adventure, planes, trains and automobiles, tickets and luggage, leaving behind routine and strolling into the unknown.

It's marvelous.

It's personal and universal at the same time, stepping into the streams of people all on their own journeys, every one a unique story, our common aspect as travelers creating an atmosphere of courteous hustle.

The newness of everything is exhilarating. We were in Virginia, near the ocean and many rivers, the heart and history of American seafaring.

I love the history tours and quaint shops and fresh seafood. I love good company even more. We had the perfect hosts and were given the sights of the Old Dominion in style, with much laughter and camaraderie.

If I had to pick a favorite stop, it might be the museum Nauticus and the tour of the USS Wisconsin. We spent nearly a day there, and the time flew. "The Wiskey" is a battleship that has been given yet another life as a tour in Norfolk. It's an amazing walk, and climbing around this giant is a tiny taste of real Navy. It's history since World War II is artfully depicted in the Nauticus museum, which also houses a state-of-the-art learning center for oceanographics and atmospherics, and has perfectly executed displays and information on the history of the Navy.

Perhaps better was the walk through old Williamsburg, getting cheek from the colonial actors, or the long drives through fall foliage. It's hard to say. It was nice to see plentiful water. It was nice to laugh and eat and share the experience. It was a wonderful week.

Travel energizes a person. The same old daily life drums into a routine and travel pulls me off my track, shaking up the monotony, a feast for the eyes, a spark for the creative flow. It's good to learn the territory of another place, to find yourself at a different spot on the map. The adventure lies in the disorientation, not knowing immediately where North might be found.

I worry when I travel that I will be the rube tourist, but sometimes that's the fun. Seeing steam coming out of the manholes, and the whitecaps on the Atlantic, the giant ships and shipyards, the masses of people and traffic all give a new slant to my perspective. The pace of the city and the anonymity of being one among many thousands reminds me that people everywhere are much more alike than different. Geography can create our challenges and we adapt. Everywhere.

There comes the time to leave, with its tangle of excitement and regret. I would need years to get my fill of the East Coast, or anywhere else, knowing that visiting and living anywhere are two vastly different worlds.

There is the inevitable jump in my mind: forward or back? Onward or return? More of the same life I've carved out so far, or new horizons? It only takes a moment to decide.

My history is written on these grassy Plains, I am a creature of these wilds. This will always be home.

It may be a while until my next adventure, and while I anticipate the prospects of new destinations, I continue to love all that is here.

Mary Hart-Detrixhe is a lifelong resident of the prairie and Ellis county. Her work can be found at www.janeQaverage.com.

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