Encouragment for the Journey
Greetings fellow traveller
Like many of the Saint Aidan’s family, I like to travel, and recently I have been fortunate to accompany Kerr, my husband, when he went to a conference in Boston. Our time in Boston was sandwiched between a short stay in San Francisco, where I had never been, and a few days with friends who live near Andover, north of Boston. My trip was enjoyable, energising and refreshing, and Alf has asked me to share some of it with you.
San Francisco is a vibrant, exciting city which seemed familiar because it has featured in so many books and movies. I enjoyed the diverse groups of people and the amazing variety of architecture. We walked up and down the hills with their ‘little cable cars’, and enjoyed Fisherman’s Wharf with its old style fishing boats and bustling tourist shops and seafood restaurants, and, a surprise to me, a large group of wild sea lions who come in to bask at the end of one of the piers. The Golden Gate Bridge was mostly hidden in fog, but we saw a little of it.
At the conference I renewed friendships with people Kerr has worked with over the years, and I got to know new people. The venue was a historic hotel with amazing public rooms in the style of an old French chateau, and I attended some of the sessions just to enjoy the ambience. I explored the neighbourhood and learned something of the history of Boston – its early Puritan settlement, and later challenges to British rule, ‘No taxation without representation’ and the Boston Tea party, leading to the American Revolution and independence from Britain. Walking the ‘Freedom Trail’ and being in the buildings where these historic events took place is an amazing experience. Boston also has beautiful parks and gardens, and I even had a drink and a hamburger at ‘Cheers’.
Our friends took us for walks and drives in the New England countryside, including a walk round Walden Pond near where the philosopher Thoreau had his cabin in the woods, and we spent lazy mornings in their garden, enjoying breakfast while watching humming birds at the bird feeder.
The company of good friends, good food and conversation and interesting reminders of historic events – these are all experiences we can have at any time, but somehow, away from home and concentrated into a short period of time, their impact is heightened, and I appreciate them even more.