This woman is a state legislator from North Dakota. She and her husband were enjoying some sit-at-the-bar time after a long week for her at a Council of State Governments conference.
We are happiest when we travel. We were in Dublin this spring, and this fall, we’re going to Iceland then London. One of our favorite places was Seattle. I [Mike] particularly loved the Boeing airplane exhibit. My dad flew a B-17, so being able to get on a real B-17 and crawl around on it, sit where he sat–it’s a magnificent plane–was pretty incredible.
We’ve traveled in groups many times, but as we got older, we got used to just traveling together. We learned how to adjust to each others’ schedules, think about someone else’s feelings, things like that. We do a good pace, we think.
When we travel, we really are sit-at-the-bar people. We meet the most interesting people, some of whom become good friends. We’re able to suggest things that strangers might like–and just have a good time.
We’re both retired teachers, so travel always had to happen in the summer. But now . . .
The photo is a little blurry, but this is the one she liked. It captures her youthful spirit, which emerged as she talked about her independence. When I saw her, she was sitting alone, reading the newspaper, her expression inscrutable. I couldn’t tell if she was going to welcome my company.
I am happiest when I travel to a new city and I get to figure out how to navigate it, use the mass transit, and such. When I travel, I’m almost always on my own, which makes me feel independent and strong.
My first trip was–I was only 20 or 21–when I went to New York City. I was working at the time. I didn’t finish college. I didn’t drop out, though–back then, they called it “stopping college.” Most people who “stopped” college planned on going back after they “found themselves.” But once I started working and the money started coming in (I was never rich, of course), it got comfortable. There was a documentary on in the 60s about elderly people who didn’t have enough to eat–and I remember telling myself that I didn’t want to be poor when I got older. So, anyways: all my friends had just graduated from college, and they didn’t have a lot of money. I figured that I could either wait to go to NYC until they had some money or–so I just went.
I never got married. I was born independent. In fact, I had my fortune told by a psychic once. My mother was deceased, but the psychic saw her and my mother told her, “She’s always been independent, even as a little child.”