A recent NPR story about the benefits of experiences over acquisitions trumpeted an obvious fact that addicted travelers have always understood: being and doing is better than getting and having. It’s the experiences, immersions, contacts, and memories that make us rich, not the tangible accumulations.
Interestingly, according to the study, a generous portion of our enjoyment of an activity is credited to the anticipation of it; looking forward to something is apparently half the fun. I know this, which is why in my Mid-West house there is a hard rule – we can’t talk about Mexico until October.

October is many things to us – the excitement of the new school year has become routine, but not yet drudgery; fall crisps our mornings and wilts my begonias; sweaters come out and shorts get stored; and the seasonal charter flights to Puerto Vallarta go on sale.

These things collide, making our annual March retreat seem just tantalizingly at the tips of our reach, as though if I listen hard I can hear the surf crash under our balcony. And if I put my hand out just so under the palapa I can taste the salt on my tequila.

The wishing is tough, and although the looking ahead is sweet, we can only stand it so long, which is why there exists the Rule of October. To harbor such desire all year long would do a disservice to my lush June flower planting fever, to the languid August afternoons floating on the hot lake, to cicada drowned evenings on the deck, when the fading September sun slants through the tall canna and crows pepper the sky. It seems to diminish the luxurious joy I have in my daily life if I immediately start wanting to be somewhere other than my lovely home as soon as I return to it.

But the need to wish ourselves there is strong, and helps to resign us to the mornings to come, when I will certainly have to shovel before dawn to make carpool.
This glorious autumn will give way to dark breakfasts and bare tree limbs, and then I will ache for the smell of bougainvillea and the trill of the muffin man on the sidewalk. By January, when the light gets so weak that noon barely makes a shadow on the snow angels frozen crunchy in the yard, we will talk ourselves giddy at the dinner table, planning dinners out on new courtyards and Madonna-bus excursions to foreign neighborhoods.

October is when we can begin again to relish the certainty that our friends will find us on the beach and the mariachi will wake us from siesta.
The fullness of daily life nudges over a bit to make room for the frizzle of anticipation from knowing that Puerto Vallarta is there waiting, welcoming, warm, and familiar. I can do November, February, all the mean months between now and March. Because now is October, and now I can dream.

I am a semi-retired history teacher, a part-time lawyer, an optimistic writer, a contented wife, a forever mom, and a joyous and open-eyed traveler.
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  1. Museums are the storage houses for acquisitions from experiences of traveling by others. The advantage of acquisitions of the world, are that they are timeless, as is the case of fossils, and historical items made and collected by persons in the past, while personal experiences from traveling are mostly the sole property of the living, to be shared with others via stories, pictures, and instruction.

    Where experience has advantage of acquisitions is in gaining skills and knowledge from using acquisitions acquired. Businesses hire employees from their experience and not their acquisitions . An acquisition may have a value that can be sold as an item to another. Experience is not a physical item, and as an acquired skill or information, may be sold as one’s labors as a teacher or a story teller.

    Souvenirs are collections acquired from traveling experiences, and are important for reminders of a place, person , or occasion. Some experiences are not something that would be benefit one, as when it resulted in a deadly disease , or physical harm. One can often see a place on the Internet today.

    As one interesting lady I often see at our local Goodwill Store in San Francisco, she does not purchase anything and says” Oh, I come here to look at things from around the world, that I would not otherwise get to see.

    It is , to each his own. I purchase many things that other people who have traveled around the world have brought back with them, and donated them the Goodwill store. I then research them on the Internet to gain the experience they may have acquired from their addicted travel.

  2. Anticipation , hope, or wishful thinking , for an addicted traveler, perhaps like yourself, can often result in a faded dream, or a nightmare …. and a disappointment , for the world has become a more dangerous place to roam.

    I have found that of all the places my family and I have traveled, only San Francisco is the Golden City, and as my wife Loretta says, she could not live anywhere else …. and she was born in the lone star state of Texas ,

    Well, it is true that we live blocks from the hub of public transportation to most anywhere in the city. Two blocks from our shopping avenue, the library, and a grammar school, and on a side of a hill some 600 feet above the ocean level, that puts us in a cloud much of the time. , however we have nearby forests and the Mount Davidson some 70 foot high concrete cross that is lit during Christmas and Easter weeks.

    Neither Canada, Mexico, Hawaii , or the U.S. States west of the Mississippi river, all those places we have traveled, all leave us longing to get back to San Francisco. It is the year around weather. It is the most beautiful city in the United States , and unfortunately , so many people want to come here.

    Where else can one find the most cooked hilly street in the world, two iconic bay bridges, a 58 story leaning and settling residential building, a tall pyramid shaped commercial building, many hills and some with cable cars, a view of the Marin headlands, a large island in the middle of the bay, a world famous Cliffhouse overlooking the Seals Rock, and schooners and Fairy boat rides in and across the bay. all in a small 47 square mile little big city , surrounded on three sides by water, and several lakes within in the city and county?

    I have walked the streets of downtown (central) Puerto Vallarta, a city of over 502 square miles for some 37 years, What have I found on the street and sidewalks? One silver centavo, and one copper peso.

    Walking on the streets of San Francisco, I find coinage from around the world. The other day, I came across $27 in rolled up paper dollars. In the recent pass I have found twenties , tens, fives, and one dollar bills. A gold three faceted stone ring, gold pendants, a new shirt with the print of the Mayan Calendar on the front and back, new with the price tag still on it, and all sorts of men’s and women’s clothing, plus new shoes in their boxes.

    I have found several antique pieces of furniture, glass and wood display cabinets, and a 4 foot high square decorative wood carved pedestal … left over from a craft fair; a working touch light lamp for use on a table top. Is it any wonder there are so many homeless in San Francisco, for all the things one who walks the streets can find daily. This includes food that shoppers leave on the top of the newspaper racks for them.

    You do not find this in Mexico or Canada. San Francisco is truly special.



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