Notebooks for Our California Trip

Planning Our 2023 Vacation

posted in: Personal Essay, Reading, Travel | 0

Holly and I made plans to head back to Carmel-by-the-Sea which has become a place of great comfort for us.

This will be our 4th trip there having visited first in 2018. We had gone out to California for a friend’s wedding near Cupertino in 2018. We didn’t want to fly across the country for just a short trip and decided to turn that visit into a vacation to both Carmel and Paso Robles. I had been to Carmel once before in 2007 and thought it would be a place Holly would like. For the 2018 trip, we had 2 full days in Carmel, arriving on a Sunday and leaving on a Wednesday.

We enjoyed Carmel so much we decided to head back the next year and spend more time there. In 2019, we gave ourselves 4 full days, arriving on a Tuesday and leaving on Sunday. We again had such a great time that we knew we wanted to go back.

Of course, any hopes of getting back were put on hold because of the pandemic. Luckily, we were able to return last summer and wanted to spend even more time there. Since we hadn’t taken a proper vacation in a few years, we decided to indulge in a nice long break. We combined our return to Carmel with a visit with some family in Phoenix. After a couple of days in Arizona, we had 7 full days in Carmel arriving on a Sunday and leaving the following Monday. Our flight to Monterey arrived around noon and we didn’t have to get to the airport on our last day until 3:00 pm so it felt like even more than 7 days. It was a truly lovely and relaxing vacation.

Although part of our rationale for taking a long vacation last year was not having traveled during the pandemic, we’re taking another long trip this year. We didn’t take many vacation days during the year so have the time. We also haven’t been traveling much in general. Neither of us have been traveling as much for work as we used to. Our recent trip to Pittsburgh was the only trip for either of us the past few years. In the before times, depending on where we were going, we would often extend a work trip with some vacation.

Since we haven’t taken a lot of vacation throughout the year, we’ll be taking a long break from work. We’ll be off beginning May 11 and, thanks to Memorial Day, we won’t be back to work until May 30 giving us 19 consecutive days off. We won’t be traveling the whole time and will have a few days post-travel to ease back into the real world.

Our trip will be 1 day longer than last year’s. We learned some lessons on that trip which we are incorporating this year.

One reason we went first to Phoenix last year (other than obviously visiting family) was to avoid needing a connecting flight. For our Solvang trip in 2021, we nearly missed our connecting flight which was a stressful way to start our travel.

Flying to California from Philadelphia often involves a layover in Phoenix so we decided to fly directly there, spend a couple of days, and then take a direct flight to Monterey which is a short drive to Carmel. For our first 2 trips to Carmel, we flew into San Jose and then drove about 1 1/2 hours. Being able to fly to Monterey means a much less stressful 10 minute drive to where we’ll be staying.

This year, instead of flying to Phoenix, we’re flying directly to Los Angeles and spending a couple of days there sightseeing and visiting some friends. We had an LA trip get canceled because of the pandemic and have been wanting to get back since. After LA, we’re flying up to Monterey for a nice long stay, arriving on Sunday and not leaving until 2 Tuesdays later for 8 full days.

On the way back, we’ll fly down to LA for one night before flying back to Philadelphia.

In a similar post last year, I wrote about what I wanted to bring. I have a lot to say about what cameras I’m thinking about bringing. Enough so that that will be its own post.

I haven’t committed to what books I’m going to bring, although I have an idea. Last year, I read 2 books (Sea of Tranquility and Joan Is Okay) and started a 3rd (East of Eden). I don’t usually pay full price for Kindle books since I still prefer print books and one does not really own a Kindle book, but I bought a couple last year for our travels. I’m leaning toward doing so again this year. I have a lot of unread books on my Kindle, but I like the idea of having new books with me. Eleanor Catton’s Birnam Wood is high on my list of new books. I placed a hold on it through Overdrive through the Free Library of Philadelphia, and it became available less than a week before we leave.

I did buy a Kindle edition of Walter Mosley’s Every Man a King. I have never read any of his works and have long wanted to. Every Man a King is a sequel to Down the River Unto the Sea. Every Man a King sound more interesting to me so I may read it without reading the first book and hope it still makes sense. If I really like it, I may go back and read the first book. I always read books in order so it may be an interesting experiment to read these out of order.

Of course, I’ll also want to have a print book with me. I’m leaning toward bringing The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies. I was a big Davies fan many years ago and recall particularly enjoying the books in this trilogy. I picked up a used copy from Neighborhood Books months ago. Since it’s 3 books in 1, it’s a bit fat for traveling but if I end up reading a lot, it will be nice to have with me.

Reading Options for Vacation
Reading Options for Vacation

I do know what notebooks I want to have with me. During last year’s trip, we each bought a California notebook at The Pleasure of Writing. I have been using my Traveler’s Notebook for our recent trips and plan to bring that with me as well. For a short time, Traveler’s Notebook offered a California insert which we both bought. I plan on using the notebook I bought at The Pleasure of Writing as a journal and the California Traveler’s Notebook insert for tracking various things. I’ve already started using it for lists of restaurants we want to go to and thing we want to do in Los Angeles and Carmel. I also have a calendar insert which I’ll use for tracking day-to-day activities.

I’ve very recently gotten into using Field Notes for jotting down various random things so I may also bring a couple of those along as well.

Notebooks for Our California Trip
Notebooks for Our California Trip

We started planning this trip mid-February and it’s hard to believe it’s actually now so close. For a variety of reasons, it’s been a bit of a rough work year for both of us. Being able to get out of town and disconnecting from work is something we both need right now.

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