A toast to Bill the Bard and voyages yet to come.
By Hannah Wallace
“When I was at home I was in a better place, but travelers must be content.”—Touchstone, As You Like It
Approaching the bayfront last night, Mom, Stage Manager J and I were greeted by the flashes of fireworks. Must be a holiday, I thought, and put some effort into recalling the date (the magazine’s two-month lag time befuddles me so). April 23rd, April 23rd, what do we celebrate on April 23rd? Ah, of course: Shakespeare’s birthday.
(“Actually,” an O’Leary’s patron told me, nodding in the direction of a guy with a handful of sparklers, “he’s just showing girls fireworks so they’ll show him their boobs.” I myself am unfamiliar with that particular barter rate. I would give neither my nudity nor my fireworks for the other half of that exchange.)
We three toasted the Bard anyway, and then Stage Manager J recounted her recent business trip to the Cleveland Play House, leading us to share our own stories of disgruntled cab drivers and delayed flights and all the adventures you have when you venture out into the world.
I recently met with four representatives of Tennessee’s tourism board, who told me about the variety in a state so horizontal it spans the Mississippi River valley to the Appalachians (while I eyed the gift basket they’d brought—Moon Pies, Sun Chips, and all manner of other foodstuffs made in the Volunteer State). Hearing about the mountains reminded me of summers in Boone, NC, specifically, but also of various summer trips to Chicago or Washington, D.C., to parents’ hometowns in Alabama and Ohio, or even to Belgium to play soccer, or to Stratford-Upon-Avon to see Shakespeare’s birthplace (and stalk RSC actors). And I was reminded that now begins the traditional time of the year to get the hell outta Dodge and see someplace else.
Traveling to me is a bit like reading: I want to do it more, but it takes a concerted effort to break from my routine and commit to one destination out of infinite choices. And do I want to revisit some place I liked or try somewhere totally new? Fortunately, like everything else in my life, if I can’t make my own plans, at least a few opportunities will still fall into my lap.
This summer, Ma and I are headed up to a cousin’s wedding in Seattle (a brand-new destination for me). The brilliance of traveling with a mother—and a stage manager to boot—is that she makes detailed plans to maximize both efficiency and aesthetics during the trip. Which of course means that I’ll have no responsibilities beyond gathering fodder for future talks along the bayfront.