Among the several people whom I know who regularly travel about the world, the preoccupation is always the next trip. And for those of us who haven’t a lengthy manifest, the prospect of something new is especially unbeatable. Human nature is innately curious, whether idly looking out a window at the falling rain or whimsically contemplating an upcoming trip in one’s mind. The discovery constitutes for some an imperative, a prelude to one’s ultimate extinguishment, basically a race to the finish line. I wonder whether the worldly knight of the road imagines going to the moon? Unquestionably I am contented with whatever is upon this particular globe. But this does not diminish my personal delight in less paradisical travel. Even the prospect of returning home to Canada from Key Largo provokes an awakening of venture and mission. Already I am anticipating with keenness the beachside picture of St. Augustine, Florida.
St. Augustine is a city in and the county seat of St. Johns County on the Atlantic coast of northeastern Florida. Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, it is the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement in what is now the contiguous United States.
St. Augustine was founded on September 8, 1565, by Spanish admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, Florida’s first governor. He named the settlement “San Agustín“, as his ships bearing settlers, troops, and supplies from Spain had first sighted land in Florida eleven days earlier on August 28, the feast day of St. Augustine. The city served as the capital of Spanish Florida for over 200 years. It was designated as the capital of British East Florida when the colony was established in 1763; Great Britain returned Florida to Spain in 1783.
Yesterday when chatting on FaceTime with friends in the South Pacific Ocean we together alluded to memories of places they had lived before. We briefly recalled certain of the events which had there transpired, those misty recollections of now colourful images edited of abrasions and detail, resplendent in historic youth and frivolity. It seemed odd that we should have turned the tables so magnanimously to the past in light of the undoubted splendours of the present. Yet this posture but illustrates the paradox of travel; namely, we but fathom the place whither we go to discover the place whence we come.
Naturally the appetite for pioneering is seldom diminished by philosophic truth. Words and solemn introspection are no match for the real thing. Only this morning for example my friend Mrs C from Michigan, USA alerted me that after having endured a winter on Key Largo she awaits with gusto the arrival of her travel itinerary for an upcoming river cruise to the Netherlands. Such gleeful excitement! Such estrangement from the indifference of daily life!
Overcoming in the most modest way the conversancy of one’s existence is a bromide. Repetition of humble adventure is equally stimulating. In the summer for example we make an annual routine of visiting the Ivy Lea Club, 61 Shipman’s Point Lane, Lansdowne, Ontario. There, again by amusing contradiction, we glance upon the wide blue waters of the St. Lawrence River overlooking the American border from which we had so recently travelled.
If we haven’t the time or inclination to go that far abroad then we are satisfied to take a jaunt along the Appleton Side Road to the Mississippi Golf Club where we normally convene upon the patio overlooking the first and last greens. We never tire of Chef Wendy MacDonald’s substantial gastronomic creations. This fortification is as well a poignant reminder that one needn’t venture far beyond one’s home turf to cultivate and enjoy the unprecedented benefits of exploration. Indeed we have made it a deliberate focus of ours to limit our expeditions to what is at hand, including the nearby Muskoka Lakes region or further afield to the Eastern Shore of the North Atlantic Ocean in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Travel has long been heralded as an incomparable erudition in addition to being a welcome reprieve from whatever mundanity currently subdues one’s energy. We combine this elixir with the companionship of family and friends – another essential ingredient which we propose to add if possible to whatever trips we may make. Our current division between Canada and the United States of America makes this ambition all the more sound and fecund.