(Note: no dieting advice today- I’m filled with thoughts of adventure! And delayed for hours by a passing storm.)
I think it must be Epke Banta who is responsible for my streak of wanderlust. In February of 1659 he packed up his wife and five young sons (9 mos., 2, 3, 4, and 6 years) and set sail for America on a ship called the De Trouw. I have often wondered if the long voyage from Harlengen, Friesland (Holland) to Flushing, Long Island, was an exciting adventure or a long ordeal filled with pleas of “are we there yet?” I wonder how his wife felt about leaving her family and going to a new land. I wonder, too, how she managed all those young boys on a ship!! And I wonder if his two oldest sons were eager to see what adventures would unfold across the sea.
Epke must have been a farmer with dreams and plans because after he settled in American he became a successful innkeeper, associated with the Mayor of New York, and owned a corn mill and five acres surrounding it. He later moved to New Jersey where he and his sons owned several properties and became prominent members of the Bergen, and then Hackensack communities.
I won’t drag you through all of the subsequent migrations of the Bantas, but it is interesting to note a few in order to understand how we ended up in Oklahoma. In 1768, Epke’s son, Hendrick Banta and his wife Anna, and his thirteen children, three married with their own families, moved by wagon train with one thousand other travelers to Conewago, Pennsylvania, where Hendrick had purchased three-hundred and seventeen acres of land which he named “Loss and Gain”. In 1780, inspired by the travels of Daniel Boone and Sam Duryea, Hendrick’s family- now numbering 38 children and grandchildren, sixteen of them under twelve years old- moved to Kentucky. From Kentucky it was only a few generations and moves before someone set foot in Texas and then Oklahoma. I have previously posted my great aunt’s account of their wagon trip from Texas to Oklahoma.
There are several books and chapters of history books devoted to the adventures of the Bantas. Their travels and tragedies in Kentucky are especially interesting to me. Later the Banta family was quite prominent in Hunt County, TX.
That rambling introduction to my mother’s family is just my way of explaining why I love a road trip. And yes, my father also loves to travel. Part of his family is from Kentucky and although I don’t have the privilege of reading detailed accounts of them, I gather from bits and pieces that they were also wanderers.
I suppose most of the appeal of travel is just the “wow” factor. When I was a kid I think my favorite travel phrase was “look at that!” I just couldn’t get over how different the desert was from our carefully tilled valley, or how tall the mountains were as we struggled over the Rockies. And the endless size of Texas actually frightened me. I thought we were lost! There was always something around the next corner that I hadn’t seen before- the Petrified Forest, copper mines, Navajo houses, long horns, buffalo, canyons, and huge lakes. No matter how many times we traveled from CA to OK or back, I always saw something I’d never seen before.
Since those days of childhood I have traveled by car, train, truck, and motorhome through much of the United States, but I know there are many more adventures awaiting me. I still have not visited Oregon or Maine or the Dakotas or Alaska or Hawaii… I have to complete my list of all 50! This week’s trip to Vermont will not change my list of states, but I’m sure I’ll be able to say “look at that!” at least a few times.
The other reason I love car travel is because it gives me some quality time with my husband. We talk, really talk, when we are in the car traveling down the road. We talk about our childhood, our children, our life together, our hopes and dreams and plans. And sometimes we sit silently for miles, just enjoying the road and each other’s company. Gary is the best traveling companion I’ve ever had because we share so many interests and experiences.
Travel also makes me appreciate our home and community. Be it ever so humble…I know when I return from vacation I will be happy to see my own house and garden, and even little Caddo. The farms of Indiana are bountiful, but I wouldn’t want to work on them. Ohio and Pennsylvania are beautiful, but I couldn’t take the weather. The cities of the East are fascinating, but I wouldn’t want to live there. Absence, and comparison, makes the heart grow fonder for home!
This year I have also discovered a new peace about leaving home. In the past I have been somewhat torn between my eagerness for travel and a reluctance to abandon my pets and garden. We always have someone caring for things in our absence, but my husband and children will tell you that many times I have spent the first few return hours crying over some plant the died or pet that was sick in our absence. And the house is always dirty and dusty. Something usually breaks. This year I have a better attitude. I guess I finally have enough experience or age behind me to just think “so what”. I’m still here and my dryer is broken, Buddy got into a fight with another cat and has a scratch on his face, one of my plants is dying and I can’t figure out why, and my house is dusty and dirty! I’m not in control when I’m here, so I might as well go off to Vermont without worrying about this place surviving without me! J
I’m not sure how often I will post during the next two weeks, but I will try to say “hi” as often as I can. I still don’t have a laptop! On my list, but it is about #6.
Be good. Be careful. Be grateful. Be blessed.