Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler

April 9, 2023

A huge part of my psyche craves new sights, sounds, and cultures. I have spent an enormous amount of my life reading about and dreaming about traveling the world. Part of my bucket list includes seeing all 50 states as well. But I chose a less than lucrative career when I decided to become a teacher and later a school librarian. Trips have been mostly focused on family vacations to the beach or camping trips in National Parks. Those have been fantastic, and I am lucky to have taken at least one trip each Spring break and another in the summer each year, mostly within a 3 to 5 hour drive of our house.  However, I have not fully satisfied my wanderlust.

Now that my youngest son is graduating from college and the last tuition bill is paid, we have started to save for more exotic trips. Last year Nick and I traveled to France. We have an Alaskan cruise booked for 2024. I am leading a school trip to Scotland and England, also in 2024. I had a crazy desire to travel internationally again this Spring break but having just faced some major expenses and my husband’s impending job change, we opted for a more fun U.S. experience. Nick has had the fantasy of a rail vacation across the US, so we dipped our toes in it by taking a train trip to New Orleans.

The trip was a huge success! We traveled to DC on a commuter line and spent the first day of our trip being tourists in our nation’s capitol. We decided to see and do things we had not before, so we took a tour of the Botanical Gardens, visited Grant’s tomb, and spent a good hour lying on a blanket watching tourists on the mall in view of the Capitol and the Washington Monument.  We leisurely enjoyed the capitol grounds and strolled through parks near Union station. By the time we boarded the Amtrak Crescent bound for New Orleans, we were tired and ready to watch the world go by through the large windows.

The train was an exciting experience, but sleeping in the coach seats was a challenge. We brought snacks, a cozy blanket and snuggled in. Periodically, we walked up to the dining car to stretch our legs and played games at the larger tables there. I read an entire book and listened to most of a podcast series. Whenever possible, we got out and walked at the stations so we could claim to have been to some new states. It was a much less stressful way to travel than if we had driven or flown and we saw lots of gorgeous farmland, wooded areas and the underbelly of many cities and towns. Especially on the way back, when we chose to upgrade to a roomette in a sleeper car, I felt like I was in an Agatha Christy novel. The gentle clacking of the wheels against the rails and the sound of the whistle became a meditative, background noise.

New Orleans was as fun and exciting as I had hoped! We enjoyed beignets at Café du Monde, poked our heads into the stalls and shops of the French Market, lit a candle at St Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square, and dined at the Court of Two Sisters for a scrumptious jazz brunch. Neither of us is a big drinker, but we enjoyed a hurricane on Bourbon Street and danced to the buskers who played amazing music in the evenings. We met up with friends on our second day to do a bayou and swamp tour where we saw lots of alligators and ate authentic creole dishes at Pierre Maspero’s where folks have been dining since 1788! On our last full day, we took a fantastic City and Cemetery tour where we saw historic landmarks and learned about 300 years of New Orleans history from a retired history teacher and New Orleans native.

I am not sure where my husband and I will travel next, but my wanderlust is temporarily sated. Part of the excitement will stay with me as cherished memories and photographs. I will return to my regular job, my writing, walks and yoga here, while I dream of trips to new places and possible adventures to come.

Published by bmdavis1

I am a wife, mother of 2 grown sons, a school librarian and a certified yoga instructor. My hobbies include gardening, walking in nature and chasing around my two ornery cats.

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