Chance is a city in New Mexico. It’s not the subject of this article, but it does help me introduce what I find to be one of the most intriguing — if sometimes frustrating, but ultimately satisfying — aspects of travel.
Even for the most organized traveler, there is always the possibility that the best-laid plans can go astray. Volcanoes erupt. Lightning strikes near airports. And strikes paralyze cities. Chance always plays a role in travel. To travel is to take risks, to be adventurous. You are leaving all that is familiar and routine, and you will have new experiences outside your comfort zone.
This weekend is my birthday. My friends Eric and Steve offered me their cottage in Ptown as a gift. I planned on coming with my friend Jeff from Philadelphia. Really hoping to celebrate with me, he insisted that he could make it even though he only had 24 hours, there is no ferry from Boston (not till later in May) and he won’t travel in the 8-seater Cape Air flights. Not surprisingly (to me) at the last minute he had to acknowledge he wouldn’t be joining me.
So began my flurry of ‘cold calls’ to see if anyone else would help me celebrate. Since it is pre-season and very last minute, no one was able to. (Okay, that’s what I’m telling myself anyway.) I decided to just come alone. At that moment I let chance take over, and my adventure really began.
A local woman friend of mine insisted on taking me around to all her favorite spots in town, including intimate Jimmy’s Hideaway for drinks and dinner and Joonbar, the new sophisticated but friendly wine bar above Vixen and the new and improved Stay Hotel at the Pilgrim House.
That night two different people hearing that I was in town invited me to a bonfire, which is shown in the photo above. A little known fact is that visitors can obtain a campfire permit from the National Park Service in Provincetown (information here). The organizer (whose last name is actually Burns!) spread the word to bring wood, old furniture being the best, something to eat and drink, and friends.
About 50 people showed up between 5:30 and 11:30pm for a roaring bonfire that kept the crisp ocean air at bay. I met a few new friends who invited me for happy hour at the upscale White Porch Inn in the East End of town, which is where I’m heading tonight. As much as I would have loved to share all this with Jeff, being on my own and trusting myself to chance, I am having one of the most enjoyable birthday weekends in recent memory.