I love travelling, but I rarely get the chance to do it as often as I would like. While I may or may not get a chance to travel internationally this year - I've got my fingers crossed for Hong Kong in September, but that's dependent on the thing that I'm basically the worst at, i.e., saving money - I did head out for my second trip in as many months a couple of weeks ago. Brian's cousin was getting married, and the wedding was in Cape Cod, and his parents were kind and generous enough to pay for the hotel... so off we went!
I didn't realize that I had a specific picture in my head of "New England living" until I got there. Somehow, despite not really have any particular expectation of what it would be like, it was exactly what I expected it to be. Gorgeously picturesque, each sea-side bungalow looked like it had been lifted directly from a post card and deposited on a quiet lane expressly for the enjoyment of passers by. The distant (or not so distant) sound of the ocean, surging and fading in the background. Cemeteries filled with thin slate headstones, looking just like an Edward Gorey illustration. I'm not much on beach vacations, but I really kind of fell in love with the place while I was out there.
Part of what fascinated me is the deep sense of history you experience there. I'm obsessed with old things - old clothes, old mannerisms, old styles of music, history stretching back all the way to the first ancient civilizations - so it kind of sucks living in a place that's so... new. I think I've said this before, but in Chicago, an "old" building might have been built in the 20s. If something goes as far back as the 1870s or 80s, that's really impressive! But Massachusetts in general, and Cape Cod specifically, was home to some of the earliest American settlements, and it was really nifty to walk around and see all of these little plaques - "built in 1757," "built in 1802," "built in 1821" - that marked the outsides of many of the homes.
Brian and his family visited a cemetery where some of his ancestors were buried one of the days we were there. I opted out of the trip, but looking at some of the photos that he took really blew my mind. His great-great-grandfather was born in 1860 and buried in 1958. There were much older tombstones there (and I've seen ones that predated it by several hundreds of years when traveling to other countries), but just the thought of all of the changes that he saw in his lifetime was truly astonishing. The car, the airplane, fucking Sputnik! Hell, the zipper. Sliced bread. Radio, movies, television. The telephone. The number of innovations he saw must have been utterly mind boggling, although it's kind of a sad critique of our culture that he was born just as slavery was coming to an end, and nearly a century later, when he died, the Civil Rights movement was only just getting started.
In between thinking deep philosophical thoughts about the nature of man and the effects of time, we mostly played shuffleboard, drank beer, and hung out with his family. I can't remember the last time I did a "family vacation" - maybe when I was 8 or 9? - and it felt like a total reversion to childhood to just sit in the back seat of his parents' car, being driven from place to place with relatively little input on what we wanted to see or do. I mean that in a really nice way, because usually when I'm on trips I'm the one solely responsible for any and all planning, and it was kind of great to cede that control to my elders again, at least for a little while.
Brian and I semi-accidentally booked our flight a day after everyone else was leaving, so once the wedding shenanigans had wrapped up, we borrowed a car and drove up the coast to Provincetown. In addition to being the first landing site of the pilgrims, it's also a super gay party town, which is a rather fun and ironic mix of elements. We managed to catch the season finale of RuPaul's Drag Race (a favorite show) (#TeamKimChi), and played an epic game of chess (a game neither of us can play well) while getting kind of epically drunk. It was probably the best possible way to wrap up the trip.