Laughing all the way — Grounded

July 2, 2015

By Pat Detmer

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Most of our friends are world travelers, people who fill up their passports and have to get fresh ones before their expiration date, folks with high-six-figure frequent flier miles who go to Singapore for a weekend of shopping and lead tours to Italy, Argentina and South Africa to enjoy food and wine. These friends have family abroad, think nothing of flying over the pole and visit Kenyan orphanages after starting nonprofits to benefit them.

DetmerColumn 20150700

On the other hand, The Sainted One and I are quite excited about our summer vacation. We’ll be celebrating our 30th anniversary and my 65th birthday with a road trip through Eastern Oregon and Washington, with stops at the Painted Hills, John Day Fossil Beds and a microbrewery festival in La Grande. We’ll spend two nights in Joseph and our last night in Wenatchee. As our virgin passports gather dust at home, we’ll be making dust of our own, following thin dotted lines on maps in search of something interesting, visiting small town bars and chatting with the regulars, searching for geocaches, and because we’re Vacation Book Bingers, plowing through two or three books apiece.

Our highly mobile friends appear to accept us even though we regularly decline invitations to join them on safaris and cruises. The Sainted One and I often discuss this anomaly of being surrounded by world citizens while we stay close to home, and we’ve come to understand why we’re so inclined.

Pat Detmer

Pat Detmer

We had similar Midwestern upbringings, childhoods of constant movement and transition. I came from a middle-class family whose father never said “no” to a promotion, this in the day when it was career suicide to take yourself off the corporate treadmill in pursuit of a different form of happiness. We moved an average of every two years and had barrels of goods that we hauled from place to place but never emptied to the bottom. Why bother? The Sainted One’s transitions were more frenetic: a mother with many boyfriends, quick moves out of state and back again when things didn’t work out, time spent with Grandma while Mother disappeared for a while, living with a buddy’s family in order to be able to finish high school.

Once the choice became our own, we dug the tent stakes deep and declared ourselves done. We enjoy our little road trips and tours throughout the U.S. and come back to the same home we’ve lived in for almost 25 years. And once we get back here, there’s no one to surprise us with the news that once again, we’ll be moving far away.

And that, in itself, is journey enough.

You can reach Pat Detmer — whose virgin passport will finally be stamped during a February trek to Puerto Vallarta next year — at

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