Back to Backpacks
Some might think that the greatest innovation in travel these days is the cell phone. In some cases, those ubiquitous little noisemakers might help facilitate some scheduling adjustments, but the true grail of travel is the backpack. And if you want to get overly reverential, the rolling backpack. Ahhh, now there is an invention worthy of all praise and honor. You can go anywhere and stay a while because just about anything you’ll need (including several ounces of liquids) can be jammed into one of those many-pocketed gems and hoisted up on your back (or shoved in the overhead compartment).
And so jammed and hoisted I went over Labor Day weekend to Mountain View, CA, to see a world premier musical based on Jane Austen’s Emma. Having recently completed several reviews and an online roundup of Austen-themed books, this seemed providential. With music, lyrics, and a book by composer Paul Gordon (who also penned the musical of Jane Eyre), the show filled me with high expectations. One might think that being a New Yorker who attends a good many Broadway and Off-Broadway performances I might be a regional theater snob. But you would be wrong. I am, at heart, a sucker for good singing and an admirer of talented actors. And this group of stellar thespians was well worth the trip. Additionally, I got to see a city I would not necessarily have occasion to travel to otherwise (Mountain View is near Palo Alto, CA, the home of Stanford University, and not all that far from San Francisco). The likelihood of my having a conference or family need to go there is pretty slim. But the theater calls me to various parts of this country, where bright and gifted companies offer an evening’s respite and a magical experience.
I also had a chance to dine with LJ‘s wonderful romance columnist, Kristin Ramsdell, who drove out to meet me, being a California girl herself. It added that much more to my brief stay. So how did I spend my summer vacation? With Jane Austen, with splendid colleagues, and with my trusty wheeled backpack. I was able to get three books into it. Remember, it’s a five-hour flight from New York to the West Coast. As Emma herself would say, "I’m a genius."