(… and why you won’t find it in this issue.)
I grew up, like many folks, poor. I’m talking “ice on the walls from a leaky roof during winter” poor. I’m talking “WIC vouchers and sleeping with roaches in a one-bedroom apartment that we had to move out of because it got condemned” poor. My Ma worked two full-time jobs and that’s not an exaggeration: In the mornings, she worked at a sewing factory, then use the hour-long break between the next job to pick me and my two little sisters up from school and take us to the sitter’s, where she’d leave us to work at a cafeteria until 11pm. The next day, it was lather, rinse, repeat — all as a single mother. I remember spending the night with a friend who drank a glass of milk with her cereal at breakfast and bitterly thinking, ‘How could you do that to your family? Milk is really, really hard to come by.’ It most certainly was between the walls I called home, anyway.
So when I hear someone remark, “Oh, I love traveling!” … I get a little tinge of that same milk-thrifty bitterness. Travel, I thought early on, was something exclusively for the uber-wealthy. For some reason, the words still stick in my craw and feel as though I just heard someone remark, “Oh, I love our yacht! Have the butler walk you to the shore out back and give you a tour.” I know they’re worlds apart, but the poor kid still lives in me. (Ask anyone who’s seen the no-name, $2,500 car that I’m rather fond of.) But I can’t blame people: Traveling, if you can afford it, is rather neat.
Ma always instilled in me the very reason I should work hard and go to school. Did I want to continue living alongside those little roaches in the plasticware drawer? Most certainly not. So when I landed a job in this industry, I realized quickly that I’d be traveling quite a bit. The Tiny Tim in me, the Oliver Twist was like, “Am I going to be the haughty one at the party going, “Oh, I love traveling!”
Nope! Those roaches of my past have me keeping it real. So for this issue, we’re sticking with destinations that, given a couple bucks put back a week — or a couple put back by day — should net you a nice, domestic trip by year’s end that’ll let you jumpstart the adventure that’s been stuck inside you as you labor at a desk. Or in a cafeteria. Or a sewing factory. Or a combination of.
We’re not going far for this one, so pack light and join us for a quick burst of winter travel.