The Year of Travel

When I was a child, my greatest fear was falling. I would dream about falling from a building, or a tight-wire stretched between buildings. I don’t know why I should have these dreams. I would never consider actually walking a tight-wire, but there you are. Now that I’ve grown up, my greatest fear has evolved. It’s no longer a selfish fear – a fear for myself. It’s now a fear for the safety of my children. I guess that’s every good parent’s greatest fear though. It makes me shaky and sick to think of something happening to them. I am, therefore, necessarily opposed to taking my children to New York.

It’s not that I think it’s that much more dangerous than anywhere else. Right now I live in one of the top five safest cities in the United States. So yeah, I feel pretty comfortable where I am. But it’s just that I don’t feel like I have control of anything when I’m in New York. Number one, I don’t drive a car, and probably never would in Manhattan. It seems to me to be a place where you live close to work and either walk or take public transit to get there. There aren’t a lot of parks and playgrounds for the kids. At least not where I was. It just doesn’t seem like a very kid-friendly environment. I guess maybe Queens or The Bronx would be better than Manhattan.

Indeed, I don’t remember seeing a single child during my four-day stay on the island. And I know there are a lot of people there. One guy I ran into told me there were eight billion people in New York City. Eight Billion, with a B. Ahem. I didn’t bother trying to correct him. But I know there are a lot. Surely some of them are children, right? I mean, someone has grown up in New York. Well, maybe it was that where I was staying was strictly business. Or pleasure. But not familial. Maybe I just didn’t see them. Irregardlessly, I want something better for my children. I want them to have some trees and grass. I want them to have a backyard. I want them to be able to ride their bikes down to the woods and find a treasure chest buried there. Or find a cave and be able to explore it. Not gonna find much of that in the Big Apple.

I think it’s a necessary step in the evolution of a person’s life though, to see as much as he can of the world. Simply put, you need to see Las Vegas. You need to see New York. Now I also think you need to see Keflavik. I think you need to see Alpine, Texas. Now I don’t necessarily subscribe to the thought that you need to see Abilene. Have you seen some dirt with a few trees and one building? Yeah. If so, you’ve seen Abilene.

It’s been a few weeks since I wrapped up my diary on my travels to New York, and I’ve done some reflecting. I decided that most of what I needed to say has either been said, or now doesn’t need to be. But I tried to do all the things I’ve always wanted to do were I to go there. I saw the monstrosity Mr. Silverstein is building in place of the World Trade Center Towers. I stood in the exact spot Kimbre stood when she looked out across the bay and waved at Lady Liberty. I took the train from the very platform my dad took it when he used to run up there to have fun and get into trouble. I think it’s cool to cover some of the same ground your friends and family covered when they were there years before. I sat in the same bar stool Charlie sat in when he backed himself into a corner about hot-air ballooning. Well, probably not. But I like to think so.

This year has indeed been the year of travel. In that few weeks, I’ve actually traveled two more times, and been camping. Camping is big, you know. I’ve since been to Bloomington, Minnesota for work, and Bar Harbor, Maine, for our vacation. So let’s count it up: January, we went to Panama. Then New York City, Minnesota and Maine. This weekend, we’re heading to San Antonio. Next weekend, we’re heading for Treasure Island, Florida for our annual Kick It At The Beach week, and then when we get back, we’re going to Tyler, Texas to see the new Great Wolf Lodge thing. And then in September, it’s back to Alpine to look at the stars again. I think that will wrap it up for this year. I may have another trip or two to Minnesota in there somewhere, though. And next year, it’s Ireland.

It’s nice to see so much of the States though. I think every year we’re going to take a week and travel somewhere in the States we haven’t been. Like to catch a rodeo in Cheyenne. Catch a Cubs game in Chicago. A Sox game in Boston. Go see some corn fields in Oregon. Or whatever the hell they have up there. There’s a lot to be seen here though. That leaves us two weeks of vacation every year; half of that will go to overseas travel, hopefully, and then half for staycation.

What cool places have you been in the States? What else would you recommend we check out? Has there been anywhere you’ve gone that you’ve added to a regular will-visit-again schedule? Well, so far, everywhere we’ve been has been so cool that we’ve sort of added each place to that list. I guess that’s a good thing though. When we come back from a vacation saying, “That sucked”, then it’s probably time to look into other hobbies.

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