I have been traveling since 1994 when I made my first trip to Los Angeles from the Chicago area. It opened my eyes so wide- I never knew how much light there really was. I have spent most of my off time from work over the years contemplating my next destination. Somewhere around 1995 or 1996, I came up with a list of things I wanted to do. If I recall, there were about 100 things on it. Probably a little less. It has been brought to my attention that this is now called a "bucket list" because of the movie by the same name. On May 27, 2008, I finished my list by doing the 2 last things. For being 36 years old at that time, I am quite proud of that. Of course, there are new things I have added. But the original list is complete.
On that original list was the usual Niagara Falls, Old Faithful, Empire State Building, Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, etc. There were also some odd things, as well- Devils Tower, buying a Rolex in Times Square (I got 2- white and black for $20), Mammoth Cave, Death Valley during the summer (yes- hot, but dry), all of the baseball stadiums (they desperately need to stop making these things!!!), see Les Paul play, and visit all 48 lower states. That last one may sound odd, but I have always wanted to see my country before seeing any others. After all- it is MINE! There are no language barriers, money exchange issues, and I know most of the laws. For some reason I have never really wanted to see Alaska and Hawaii. Nothing against them, I just don't have the attraction. I will go, but it just wasn't on my initial list.
It started with the baseball stadiums taking me around the country. Some go to the game and leave town to complete their list. The game is just one destination for me. I have used that as an excuse to see everything else. I have done it, but I try not to. 37 stadiums and counting. New York has 2 new ones in 2009, so by the end of next summer it WILL be 39. And I will have seen Les Paul 2 times. I have seen 30 National Parks along the way, as well. Some were on the list. Others I didn't even know about when I made the list. The thing I have done that I am most proud of that was not on that original list is drive every mile of Route 1 in California- my favorite state. I am truly sorry Illinois- you will forever have my heart. But my head will be in California. I am quite sure I belong there. But the things that are more important to me are in Illinois. So I will gladly stay. I am a HUGE baseball fan and music fan, there is plenty of that around these parts.
It is just a matter of finding something you like and love and desire, and getting it. Most of us have a person that we went out and "got." THIS is so much easier because it wants us to have it in our hearts. I will never understand the reason to NOT see, touch, feel, taste, hear, and love what you want.
A lot of the traveling has been on my own. But my wife and the 14 baseball stadiums to her credit will quickly admit to going along for the ride, too. I have my share of musicals to MY credit as payback! For what it is worth- she has 46 states the same as I have without Washington and Idaho. I want to back to Seattle, the Olympic peninsula, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Ranier. So I know we can get Washington state for her. But Idaho? Wow. I don't know, hon. I am worried about that one.
Oh- May 27, 2008? My last state- Oregon and Crater Lake National Park. My jewel (see photo).