"From Alaska to Nebraska" PA2AKgirl's Profile
I've been in Nebraska for a couple months now and am planning on taking the drive back east to PA sometime soon. I'm excited to see my family, like usual. Certainly no other trips planned at this time, I'm still getting settled here.
I spent the majority of September on the road. From Anchorage to Whitehorse, to Grande Prairie, Alberta to Jasper, Banff and Kootenay National Parks to the wonderful state of Montana, Yellowstone, Grand Teton to Jackson, Cody and Sheridan WY, to the Black Hills and the Badlands of South Dakota to Nebraska. What a month. :)
Unlike a lot of VTers, I did not start traveling at an early age. I went with my sisters when they took their children somewhere and I counted down the days till I could spend a week every few months with my brother in Manhattan. A big trip for me would be to the shore and remained that way until I left for college. One time I went to Atlanta, another time to New Orleans and with my friends family to Florida. That's it. As a senior in high school, my family didn't have the money to send me to Germany, an option after 4 years of studying the language--although my 2 nephews went in the years before me. That's just the way it was. After a year of trying out college in western PA at my parents' request, I decided to transfer to a university 17 hours from them. Through a massive amount of federal loans, I got my degree in Geography and minor in English. Within a few years of graduation, I made it to all 50 states, Canada and Mexico, interning/volunteering/working for the National Park Service, camping, road trips and train travel.
In 2002, my idea of just picking up and leaving whenever I wanted, completely changed. In January, my mother died. In April, my grandmother. In May, my brother (the one mentioned above who lived in Manhattan). I was devastated and wanted to be closer to home. After 50 years of marriage, newly widowed, I thought my dad needed us more than ever and I needed to be around him. So, I took a Park Service job in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island but being back in the NYC area was very difficult. Afterwards, I worked up here in Alaska and then went right back home. I joined VT, again thinking about teaching overseas b/c staying in central PA was harder than running away. But I never went. Instead, I saved up enough money to travel whenever I could. VT inspired me and through all the great people I met on here, I realized that I could still be close to my family no matter how far away I was physically. Also, my brother had traveled, my grandmother lived a very long happy life and my mother always mentioned places she'd read about or seen and wanted me to visit to tell her what they were like.
And so, a new mindset in the sadness I carried with me. I met more people on VT--with them, I did things I'll never forget from apple picking, going to a museum of medical oddities, a brewery tour, a large lunch in Intercourse, PA--shared great food, drank good beer and laughed a lot. Eventually, I met Bobby. You all know those details;-) We took a long road trip that summer and got married in the winter. That was 2 years and 8 months ago. I moved to Turkey with him and a year later, we moved to Alaska. In between those homes, we traveled a lot. I got to Germany--a few times--, and through a good portion of central Europe. There's other places as well...as seen by my travel map.
Each time we take a trip, whether it be a couple hundred miles through Alaska or somewhere reached by a long plane ride, I wear a locket with my mom's picture. That way, she can see what the places are like that she had read about. Unless it's very sandy there...she hated sand;-) I'm very happy, remain close to my family and can't wait to go someplace new or find the new in someplace revisited.
Who knows where we'll end up next. For once, I'm not ready to move on as quickly as possible. Sure, I'll be excited to start out someplace new but it might be Turkey again. We both miss it...maybe we'll just keep making the Alaska to Turkey rotation;-) For now, I'm happy here.
I love Austria. Love it. I could live there so easily. It does look a lot like Alaska overall with more towns and more roads. Oh, and castles, we don't seem to have many of them here;-)
Turkey was a great place to live. Sometimes there were frustrations but I really do miss it and the people.
As far as cities go, Budapest sticks out. It's so large and confusing but I love that you can explore it forever and always end up someplace different.
San Juan, Puerto Rico is also a great city...vibrant, historical and makes you want to experience it fully.
In the US, I love Savannah, Georgia. I grew very attached to Mobile, Alabama where I went to college. New York is a great city as well. I'm not a huge fan of west coast cities, I prefer the smaller towns. Anchorage is great for its convenience and proximity to the wilderness. The people are nice, the scenery fantastic.
Pennsylvania will always be home to me. I didn't grow up in a city, I grew up in Amish country, an hour away from the capital. My life was along the Susquehanna River, in the state parks, in a village.
There are always the unfortunate unavoidable misadventures. At the time, they seem like they could ruin a trip, but we never let them and later, they make the best stories...the ones people want to hear. Like getting stuck in sand in Turkey and needing assistance. Getting totally lost in Poland. Trying to travel during Ramadan. Losing a required document and having to take a 12 hour detour to get a replacement. Horrible hotels. You can't get too upset about these things because it gets you nowhere. Unless something happens that lands you in jail...then it's okay to get upset;-)
My pages on VT talk a lot about...travel. Incredible. But I usually don't mention what I'm doing if I'm not traveling--which actually, in part, shapes the reason why we travel where we do. I'm finished with the going out every night and waking up hungover. That may happen one time a year or so now. (Already got this year covered...I'm still regretting it) But I do like trying new beers and wine. In my non VT life, I prefer a few close friends over a large amount of acquaintances. I miss the people I've lost contact with though, both on and off of here.
Additionally, things I like:
reading, writing, cooking, gardening, photography, eating out and trying new food, thunderstorms, power outages (I know that's weird but it means you have to entertain yourself and spend time with each other without distractions) laughing so hard I can't breathe, making people laugh, being with my family, creating something from hand from jewelry to household items, revisiting someplace I've missed, finding something I thought I'd lost, taking a cab ride in Anchorage b/c the drivers are always from different countries, getting that perfect picture, farmers markets, northern lights, hearing a song I haven't heard in a long time, summer, spring and autumn, the first snowfall and the subsequent melting of that snow, lakes and the beach, hiking, tent camping, fishing, campfires, looking at the stars on a warm night, midnight sun, sleeping while it's raining, tackling and completing a difficult project, watching old movies with Cary Grant or directed by Alfred Hitchcock, or funny movies/shows, playing the Wii, seeing something completely new, the sound of crickets and frogs, seeing wildlife and being around animals, COFFEE...you get the idea;-)
delayed flights, rude and inconsiderate tourists, short days, bass from the car beside us, ambulance sirens, repetitive motions or songs, people who talk on and on and on about things that don't interest me or anyone else, being interrupted, being heartbroken, gridlock, people who drive and talk on their cell phones or people who talk way too loudly on their phones when we're nearby, cover charges, construction equipment when we're trying to sleep, lingering snow, being cold, typos on professional documents or advertisements and people who use the excuse they just can't spell that well when it's their native language, alarm clocks, ignorance and hypocrisy, people who can't read maps or the otherwise geographically challenged, lax parental supervision, people who think that screaming will help someone to understand their language, hairy spiders, and I could really go on with this list;-)
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