05 December 2007

The Road Less Traveled

I remember the first time I heard of a “family vacation.”

It was seventh grade and I was in Mr. Demolin’s science class. It was three days after we returned from our super-awesome extended winter vacation, except today was Kristie’s first day back to school. And she was really tan.

What the hell?

Kristie’s family extended the already extended vacation - get this - so they could enjoy a nice and long winter escape to Florida. Whoooaaaa, dude! I had no idea people did such things.

A couple years later I had a cool vacation of my own. Over Fourth-of-July weekend, my brother and I took a road trip with my Gramma to visit my aunt and uncle in Kentucky. The next morning we all woke up bright and early, went to some parking lot and got on a bus that took us to Ocoee, TN. There we spent the day white water rafting.

At that point in my life, age 15, I’d have to say white water rafting was the coolest thing I’d ever experienced. While looking for a link I saw the words “Class III and IV rapids.” No wonder I remember it being so damn cool. Also, no wonder I almost fell out of the raft twice.

After that journey, I never ventured too far from St. Louis again until I was 25.

In the last four years I’ve been fortunate to visit a number of places. I’ve been to Wyoming at least five times and, depending on whether or not I drove across I-70 or I-80, I’ve driven across every state between here and there (Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado) three or four times. I’ve also been to southern and central California, Atlanta, DC, Virginia, Indiana, Jackson Hole, Hawaii (Kauai, Maui and the Big Island), San Luis Obispo, CA, Seattle, Tucson, Mexico, and lots of other cities and states in between.

I’ve learned that seeing a place on TV or reading about it in a book is never, ever the equivalent of going there yourself.

That thought really sunk in when I visited San Diego in September 2005. I had seen countless pictures of the ocean and even knew what it sounded like, thanks to TV. But nothing can replace the way I felt upon seeing and touching the ocean for my first time. It was vast and beautiful. I’ll never forget the smell, the sound and the feeling of the cold waves washing over my feet and then pulling the sand from beneath me. It was amazing.

I instantly knew I had been missing out on the world. And every time I travel to a new place, I am reminded that I’ve never really been anywhere.

My point is this: I need to get my ass in gear and start uploading my pictures and writing about my journeys before I forget everything.

Note to self: Dude, get your ass in gear and start uploading your pictures and writing about your journeys before you forget everything. Besides that, you can come up with a gazillion stories by writing about your travel adventures alone, so stop thinking you have nothing to write about.


  1. I've only been to Calif once and it was for work, for less than 24 hours...so it doesn't really count. I want to go back!

  2. When I went to San Diego I had mixed emotions... yes, it's by the ocean and that's awesome (blah, blah, blah), but there's also a zillion people.

    Flash forward 15 months: I visted San Luis Obispo. It was AWESOME! (I will have to post pictures from that trip.) It was the country, the mountains, the ocean... all together.

    Serenity now.

  3. YES! Start on those adventure memoirs.

    Then join the St. Louis Writers Guild so that we can help you get them edited and ready to send out to magazines and publishers.

  4. Nice call on the vacation thing. My wife and I (who live in NH) traveled to San Diego for a Red Sox game this past summer (hence the term, "Red Sox Nation"). It was my first time in SD, and my wife's first time on the west coast.

    Very awesome. You're absolutely right.

    Except, never fly American Airlines. They suck more than a $5 hooker.

    ..and...just curious...but when you went to Kentucky with your brother, did they look at you funny because you weren't married to each other?

  5. Wow, Dwight! Thanks for the words of encouragement!

    Hey moooog, nobody looked at us weird because everybody assumed we were married. I was 15, he was 10 and we look related. Sounds like a marriage to me!

  6. Oh, geez. Mr. Demoulin's science class. Those were good times. I miss Carl Sagan...um...never.



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