Monday, September 17, 2012

On souvenirs, poop jokes, and regrets

The kickoff of the Crazy 8s
Author tour in Baker City, OR.
Friday night's first stop on the Crazy 8s Author Tour went phenomenally well. Pretty much.

My gamble of calling audience members perverts and sexual deviants to kick off my talk about stereotypes in the romance genre produced the desired laughter. My jokes about hating another Crazy 8s author because his book wasn't released yet fell a bit flat.

No matter, there are more tour stops coming up, and I have a few more opportunities to pull my head out of my butt  improve my approach.

The best thing about signing on for a multi-stop book tour spanning far-reaching corners of Oregon is the chance to explore areas of the state I've never visited. This is a hard concept for people in smaller states to grasp. You can drive across many east coast states in a couple hours. To cross from the Oregon coast to the eastern border of the state would take you about nine hours and nearly 500 miles of driving.

Though I've lived in Oregon for most of my 38 years, I had never spent time exploring the northeast part of the state. The Crazy 8s stop in Baker City was the perfect opportunity to see areas like Wallowa Lake on the fringes of the state's largest wilderness area, and Hell's Canyon, the deepest gorge in North America (don't think I missed a single opportunity to make deep gorge jokes).

The new theater chair in our home office

My gentleman friend and I stopped in charming small towns along the way, pausing to explore antique shops and quirky little art boutiques. In one shop, we discovered a seat that had been rescued from an old theater and lovingly restored by an artist. My gentleman friend – who has a master's degree in theater – was smitten. He'd always wanted to own an antique theater chair, but this wasn't a splurge he'd budgeted into trip planning.

"You know the number one thing I've learned about traveling over the years?" I asked.

He smiled. "Check to be sure you aren't in someone's driveway when you pull off on a deserted gravel road to get frisky in the car?"

I splurged on a memento of my own.
Earrings made from real pennies
stamped with the word "lucky."
One penny is from 1997, the year
I moved to Bend, Oregon.
The other is from 2006 – the year my
gentleman friend moved here.
"Right," I said. "That too. But one thing I've learned is that you never walk out of a shop after purchasing a travel memento and think, 'I wish I hadn't bought that.' But if you leave to think about the purchase and end up forgetting, you'll always, always regret not buying that souvenir."

It's absolutely true, and the reason nearly every piece of artwork in my house has some special meaning from a trip I've taken. It's also true of life in general. I'm a whole lot more likely to regret the things I don't do than the things I do do.

And now I've gone and ruined this post with doo-doo humor.

Do you find your regrets tend to center more around things you haven't done than things you've done? When it comes to travel, do you ever regret souvenirs you don't purchase, or are you the sort to go crazy with the credit card in cute little shops? Please share!

Oh, and for the record, not every travel memento I bring home costs money or requires purchase in a shop. My gentleman friend's casually-snapped photo of me wading in Wallowa Lake will be taking my breath away for years to come.


Jessica Lemmon said...

Ohh, got chills over the pennies! I love things like that! Gorgeous photo!

Unknown said...

I heard that saying once and I've accepted the trueness of those words over and over. Even getting sick after a few days in Australia and forced to return - and even though the memory still gives me daymares - I don't regret going. I got to see another part of the world, I got to learn something about myself.

Albeit, I might have regretted it a lot if my insurance company hadn't paid up...

I still remember the claw and amber necklace I didn't buy at Visby, Gotland. *sigh*

And I love the earrings!!

Larissa said...

Great photo!

And, I totally agree about regretting the didn'ts more than the dids.

Skye said...

Oh, there are plenty of things I've done that I regret, many of which have been men. ;) I do regret not buying a couple of things and I have one or two regrets of not doing something. But past poor judgment leads me to regret several of the things I've done that came out better than they could have.

That photo is stunning. Truly stunning.

Mary said...

Wow--that photo is absolutely amazing. Love it!

And you're so right about the buying something that speaks to your heart when you're traveling. I've passed stuff up because of money or space or "I'll come back later" and completely regretted it because I obsessed about it and had no way to go back for it. *sigh*

Wendy said...

Wonderful photo!

mary i said...

Ok I am a new follower. I live in Alabama. I moved here '06 from Oregon. Grants Pass. Loved that state. Love it here too.(I am a gypsy of the heart) I agree,my regrets all lie with didn't do. So yay for DO-IT!That photo is so awesome.Any who I am sure that the rest of your tour will go well and be funny also.Have a Great Day,from a small state to a Big'un :)

Chris said...

Did he get the chair? You write romance what's with the suspense??? :)


LOL, mom asked the same thing. It says in the caption of the photo that the chair is in our home office (which I figured people would take to mean he got the chair) but I should've made it clearer. Yep, he got it. We just relocated it to the living room last night, and it looks awesome!


Genette Wood said...

So beautiful...

I spent 50+ hours stuck in the Seattle airport when I was 18. I now own a block calendar, handmade earrings, and a handful of nail polishes that bring me back to those three days of sitting against the giant glass windows at Sea-Tac. That ended up being a $500 stay once I calculated food and gifts.

I will always buy a souvenir, if not for me, for my sister or my fiance so I know I will be reminded of my trips again.