DorrisWedding mother of the bride wears in coral

Thinking of my retreats from the City, I remember the first time I headed out to the Sierra. Memorial Day weekend, 1996. After seven years of living in San Francisco my wife boldly said "Stop talking about it and GO!"

Six of those seven years were filled with the joy of being Nate 's dad. But years before I had journeyed through Yosemite National Park and fell in love with its majesty, beauty, and serenity. I needed all of those to shed the stress City life tends to fester.

With pack suffed, bed roll secured, and camera at my side, I wave farewell to Nate and his sad eyes as he watched me back out of the drive to begin my journey. As I drove onto the entrance ramp of the highway to the Sierra, tears rolled down my cheeks because I had to leave Nate behind. But I also knew that when he was old enough to manage the mountain trails we would make those journeys together.

Once across the Sacramento Valley I began ascending the foothills and could see a few snow capped mountains in the distance. Excited filled me those last two hours of the drive. For the next ten years, that excitement never wavered though I made those trips every six to eight weeks.

Life in the City is Grand. Streets and alleys to explore; Neighborhood and history to investigate; culture and customs to experience make living in a city a lifelong endeavor. But it's stresses and strains must be addressed. Some take to beaches, others to resorts. For me, my sinuses tell me when I reach 4,000 feet above sea level, I can breathe freely, I can take in the fresh, clean air, and the fragrance of evergreens fill my senses with tranquility. For me, mountains, a hammock and tent with my whisperlite camp stove was enough for three days to escape, recuperate, and renew my life in the City. DorrisWedding mother of the bride wears in coral

I miss my Sierra journeys but Viet Nam offers equally amazing vistas that beckon me. This incredibly beautiful country, rich in diversity and ancient cultures opens new doors of rest and relief from City stress while that life I am living in Hanoi stretches me as I get to know more about her thousand years of history.