Anyone who knows me will tell you that it’s the simple, little things that make me smile. I choose experience over things, sunshine over snow, barefoot over heels and laughter over tears. Since I spent my summers at the beach as a child, it’s the only place I’ve ever wanted to live and I feel lucky to spend my days next to the Atlantic with my feet in the Long Beach sand.
As a traveler, I love to explore and rarely do I want to return from an adventure. Since those adventures take a bit of cash, there are stretches of time spent ‘at home’ saving for the next journey. While I wait, why not make home an adventure in itself. There’s travel in the every day if we put our minds to it. Routine is boring but travel is exciting, so why not find the exciting in the every day. This summer more than any other before, Mathew and I are doing just that and last weekend was a perfect example-it was Craft Fair weekend in Long Beach!
I can’t tell you how much I look forward to this weekend every summer. The boardwalk is abuzz with excitement and the white tops of easy up tents can be seen from a few blocks in. The smells of fried goodness mix with the salty sea air and summer itself is palpable. I wait all year to see my vendor friends. Hair band guy often tells us about his most recent trip to St. Maarten, pickle guy smiles as he hands me my annual pickle on stick, cheese fry lady waves from the inside of her potato filled truck and sunglass lady tells us when she becomes a grandmother again.
I leap out of bed on the Saturday morning of Craft Fair weekend ready to greet the day. Only a protein bar for breakfast energy since I never know what treats will meet my fancy and this weekend all food is fair game. We save up pocket cash and conserve calories for this weekend every July. Camel-back filled for water reserves and the backpack empty but filled with hopes and a little extra cash for the one time a year I actually shop in Long Beach. As a traveler, one of my favourite moments is coming upon an unexpected market and wandering through. Sights, sounds, aromas and people fill the aisles and everyone is a little bit nicer to each other. This weekend, the travel fun that I love flings itself on my doorstep and allows me to venture out to find my travel-self without a passport and with the only mode of transport being my own two feet. I’m ready!
Recently, in a post on Rolf Pott’s Vagablogging site, I wrote about my five hints to being a traveler in the every day and this weekend, we did just that. I can actually say that this year, Craft Fair weekend was even better than it’s ever before been. Being the second summer post hurricane in Long Beach and the first with our brand new boardwalk and post-hurricane attitudes, more people are back in their homes and although it’s still a bit of the ‘new normal’, some of that old magic has wriggled its way back into our lives. More volley-ballers fill the beaches, the regular cyclists have reappeared, visitors have returned enhancing the travel atmosphere and infusing cash into our economy and many of our local vendors are back in action. We’re bigger and better and ever and without question-stronger than the storm.
How was this a travel weekend you ask? Friday afternoon started with an anti-gravity yoga class. Flying through the air with the greatest of ease I left all worries and any stresses of the week in the hammock. Friday night we popped out the sofa bed and slept in the lounge room as the sound of the waves crashed on the shore. Saturday morning excited as ever we walked the boardwalk to the craft fair for a quick scope out of the fabulous and delicious vendors and then headed directly to the end to tap the rails on New York Avenue before turning around to head home.
The sun shone brightly on the first day of the Craft Fair and money changed hands as quickly as a wave crests. Pickles from The Pickle Guy, yummy dried fruit from the Nut Man, hair bands from hair band guy and even a visit to our friends at Long Beach’s own Waterfront Warriors filled the morning walk on the new boardwalk boards in the 2014 craft fair. People were zig-zagging in and out of the bike lane while vendor after vendor tried to sell their wares and chatted with locals and tourists alike.
I love the craft fair. We wandered the rest of the boardwalk home feeling like lottery winners with all of our treasures. We carried our dried fruit, t-shirts, sunglasses, pickles, headbands and let’s not forget the yummy snacks from the food vendors that were now in our happy tummies. On tap for the afternoon-a picnic lunch on the terrace in the outdoor air and then a very sunny afternoon spent reading and lounging on the beach relaxing in the ocean air after our morning of exercise and craft fair fun.
It has been amazing. We waited, as usual, for our six-o’clock whistle from our lifeguard friends before we had our picnic dinner and got ready for a fun outdoor Long Beach evening. We packed our chairs, sweatshirts and fleece blanket and headed back out in the now dusk-filled sky. First stop, the new Ice Shack right outside our building for a little sweet dessert to add even more pizazz to our already amazing day. We gobbled our delicious dark chocolate ices with two wooden spoons while sitting on the purple picnic benches with our sandy feet and happy hearts. After wiping the dribbling chocolate goodness from our arms, we walked two blocks to Neptune Boulevard where a large movie screen had magically popped up on the sand adjacent to the ocean. Here amidst the dark sky and the light of the Supermoon, we watched as Dorothy followed the yellow brick road and eventually made her way out of Oz and home to Auntie Em and Uncle Henry. There’s something special about an outdoor movie on the beach! Just as soon as Dorothy finished clicking her glittery heels, our sandy flip-flop laden feet happily carried us the two blocks home to rest by the shore.
Often times it’s hard to find the holiday lifestyle amidst the routine, but today felt like a traveler’s gift on a magical Saturday in the town in which we live. Somehow, in the middle of the every day, the attitudes and gifts of a travel lifestyle made it to our doorstep on a Saturday in Long Beach and we both feel pretty lucky to have experienced it.