I have landed after 5 full days away. I was in Burlington, Vermont for a conference and was very impressed with the people I worked with while there. Farmers, market managers, farming support organizations-all were thoughtful, kind advocates.
I was able to spend a few days in the city roaming around between meetings and workshops. It stayed around 20 degrees which felt bitter, but I did remember to walk quite briskly and to keep my hands, feet and head covered almost 24 hours a day! Food was pretty good, beer was excellent. Views were quite lovely. Vermont seems both real and fake, just like New Orleans sometimes...
Then I got caught in DC for an extra day because of weather woes. Stayed at a hotel near the Pentagon, found a good pizza delivery place while there. So a pleasant experience, even when delayed. Everyone was polite. Helpful too.
But as soon as I walked out of the New Orleans airport into the air of the swamp, I felt better. Actually I felt better when I looked out of the window of my plane as we banked over the Mississippi River and I saw the ships, the bridges and the refineries. The refineries because it makes me remember the crazy farmer who brings huge veggies to the market and swears good-naturedly that it is because of the proximity to those.
When I got to my little neighborhood and had 2 conversations even before I reached my front door, I knew I was home. After immediately putting the heaters on (read oven and 2 ceramic plug-ins) and walking on ice cold floors, I knew I was home. A little later, after ordering sushi and then going my scooter to pick it up, I knew I was home because everyone waved at or acknowledged me.
The hardest thing about traveling as much as I do is the absence of everyday life and the insertion of an almost 24 hour a day consumer life. To have to pay for almost all trips in a taxi or a bus, live on a plane for hours, acquaint yourself with hotel cultures, search out every meal, find and go to the store for things you forgot makes you swim in the big stream in more ways than one.
As hard as that is, the best thing is to represent New Orleans out there and to see my fellow citizens in their own lovely towns. The addition to my bank of good meals or great walks is my own personal treat.
But the best moment of travel is that first walk again down Mystery to venture out to see my world again.