Does it seem like everyone we know is headed out on a vacation or journey this fall? Yes, I am headed out on Tuesday. My cousins are headed to Japan. Some Washington friends are headed to the east coast. So, this begs the question, of why travel in the Fall??
I have several reasons, not necessarily in order of importance, but nonetheless, important to me, and obviously, some of you.
First, most the kids, young, teens, college students, are back in school. This makes for quieter (thank you Bose Quiet Comfort) flights, fewer lines, and in general less perturbation in around famous tourist sights and popular casual restaurants. Now, I often travelled with my kids, mostly to Hawaii (winter or spring break), as well as Spring Training in Arizona, where the crowds are pulsing. But given a choice, and now a seasoned (older, you can say it!) traveler, I cherish the Fall to the peak travel times of summer and school vacations.
Second, the weather is invariably gorgeous. But then again, it is gorgeous most everywhere. But it beats the cold of winter and the sweltering heat of summer. Fall is glorious no matter where I am, unless it is the Atacama Desert or ghettos of Addis Ababa. The only downside for me, is that I miss the October World Series, and a good chunk of college and professional football (becoming less important). But if you are a big prime time TV fan, the new fall shows make their debut. I also miss the beginning of persimmon drying season here at home.
Third, the pricing for trips is generally more competitive, with fall promotions, shoulder season pricing, and overall less demand. Fall excursions work well for most areas with extreme winters, like northern Japan, Aspen, the Swiss Alps, Alaska or Torres del Paine. Just avoid the Caribbean, Texas, and Florida!!
Fourth, it also means by the time I get home, Fall is in its final throes, winter is creeping up, and the Holidays are around the corner. And I love the colder weather food, like turkey, corned beef, and big pots of soup and beans. And I don’t mind wearing a sweater or jacket. It is the best time to walk our dog, Lexi.
Fifth, new this year will be the joy of getting away from American politics. Yes, everywhere I go, my host countries just shrug and laugh at us, for good reason. The U.S. has made a shambles of honest, representative, fairly elected people. Yes, we are now as corrupt as the South American and Southeast Asian dictatorships we so often criticized in the last century. And I am not limiting this to the White House, but rather the general American political landscape, state, local, and national.
Sixth, the renewed perspective of being overseas does two things for me. One, I am forever grateful for being an American, and living here in California, the greatest state. And two, I embrace taking a new perspective on world problems that foreign people and television news provide.
So, it is almost time to take off. The world is certainly a different place than September, 1971, when I took my very first trip from American soil. In fact, I had not even been to Hawaii at that point in my life; Mexico, maybe once or twice. I look forward to small crowds, glorious weather, crappy exchange rate, but mostly safe travels.