"The Travel Bug" bocmaxima's Profile
I can clearly recall the first time I got really interested in travel. When I was fairly young (6 or 7), my family was moving from one place to another (we moved a lot) and, as I sat in the front seat, my dad asked me to pull out the road atlas to find where we were. From that point on, I had a fascination with not only maps, but with all of the unknown places and landscaped carved out by the circles, squares, lines and letters. I wanted to see all of it.
So, since I've been back in the US, I've been trying to see as much as I can. Countless roadtrips, random plane rides and a few, long train rides have resulted in a mountain of pictures and a large list of checked-off cities. Not to say that I've been everywhere, but that just makes me want to travel more to get as close as I can.
Most people I know are jealous. People in their late 20's just don't travel, it seems, nor do they randomly quit jobs or not work for extended periods. At least in the US. Americans work more hours per year and get less vacation time than their European counterparts but studies have shown that our productivity is roughly the same. I've always wanted to trade off salary for more vacation time, but that's never worked. So I end up in temporary jobs or quitting my job altogether relatively often.
And I think that's what's disconcerting for my peers: the uncertainty. I always end up on my feet and always cease the travel with enough savings to feel comfortable with the lag time of unemployment, but this is just too much for most people. Even my wife gets anxious about it, but she's learning...
When I travel, I go to see places and learn about those places. I meet people along the way, but I don't actively travel to meet people. People are generally the same everywhere you go, it's just the little things that change, and those little things are what I seek to learn and understand. For example, there's a vast political and social divide between the Cascades in both Washington and Oregon, resulting in some animosity (and a few separatist movements). I spent time traveling to both Seattle and Western Washington and to Spokane and Inland Empire, and would inquire and examine the divide, analyzing not only what people said about their differences, but also looking at how similar they are. There's also the fact that most people in Indiana make fun of people in Fort Wayne and the "Michiana" region, while those in Northwest Indiana make fun of those in Southern Indiana. That sort of stuff is fascinating to me.
I get excited about regionalisms. The cultural differences between areas of the country have diminished considerably over the 20th century for various reasons, but there are still those slight differences. Sometimes it's preferences and activities, but more often it's gastronomical. The "king cakes" in New Orleans, goetta in Cincinnati, Sonoran-style hot dogs in Tucson, beef on weck in Buffalo; they're unique to the area and not widely known outside of it. But then there's also the beer.
While others do wine tours, I do beer tours. My outlook on it is that you can an infinite variety of beer styles when you combine the basic, standard styles with the interesting varieties, as well as the unique ingredient combinations that take those styles to new levels. Every beer is different, and beer is often reflective of the area. In places where there are a number of breweries - Denver, San Diego, Asheville, Cleveland - a beer culture develops and becomes somewhat competitive, which only improves things. But then there are also isolated points all across the map that offer up beer just as good. Finding it offers another, fun dynamic to traveling.
Southern Florida (flight + car)
Phoenix & Tucson (flight + car)
Relocating to Marina, CA (roadtrip with cats)
New York City (flight)
Roadtrip from Wilmington, DE to Marina, CA via Louisville, Bloomington, Omaha, Denver, Yosemite
Continuation of cross-country roadtrip
Paso Robles, Sequoia NP & Fresno (roadtrip)
Sacramento & Concord, CA (roadtrip)
San Francisco (roadtrip)
One month in Asia (Seoul, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Sumatra, Laos, Guangzhou) (flight)
Denver (flight + car)
I've spent much of my travel time in the US West exploring the out-of-the-way. I've tried to check out the oddball towns, the coffee shops and alternative areas of cities, and find the things that are interesting to read about, but don't really materialize as interesting when you first see them. Every place has a story, and many of the people you talk to in these places will tell it just a little bit differently.
The reality of it is that the West can never be comprehensively explored. It remains a frontier where people have moved in and "settled," but nature is still very much in control. But it's also a place that no one person will ever be able to really see and experience. You could spend a lifetime traveling from town to town, spending time walking the streets of the large cities, but you would never really be able to understand every, individual place because that's just what they are: individual places. No one town is the same and, if you think that they're the same, then you didn't spend enough time in one of them.
"The Great Freak Out" was an extended trip that I took in 2007. It resulted from being left without a job as summer approached Arizona, and modest savings and a growing sense of despondency just happened to be there for me. More than anything though, I wanted to see more of this continent, particularly the West. So that's what I did for 3 months: I bought a car (I had a truck but the gas mileage was killing me) and drove all over the West.
In 2009 and 2010, I repeated the experience but, this time, it was more planned and had more direction. I still refer to these extended (both involved about 6 months of unemployment) trips as "Great Freak Out," but the first one is really where I could be considered freaking out. Most people in Arizona that I know didn't think that I would be back, as I would email and call them and tell them how great the places I was seeing were: Vancouver, Boise, Cleveland (hey, I love Cleveland!), Tacoma... But I wound up back here every time.
You can read more about these in my personal albums. There, I talk more about the trips in detail and specifically where I went and what I did.
The username "bocmaxima" is something that I used on many accounts in the early and mid-2000's. "Boc Maxima" is an early, very rare album from the Scottish electronic group Boards of Canada. In the early 2000's, I had just gotten into "BoC" and was totally enthralled by them. I still love their music and consider them great and highly influential to me personally but, in all honesty, I realize now how little the username makes sense and how little it actually says about me. It could be worse though, I guess.
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