The Next Adventure
When I was in high school I had a large map of the United States tacked to the wall over my bed. At that point in my life I’d only been to places on the East Coast (New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, and Florida). I loved the traveling I’d done with my family, and it surely fueled my desire to want to see more. I vowed to get to as many cities on that map as possible.
My first chance to Go West occurred in college (Wisconsin & Illinois), and then shortly after graduation I took the trip that truly changed my life. Colorado was the destination, and an Amtrak Train over the course of three days was my mode of transportation. I was hoping to live in Breckenridge for a year, but it ended up being (for various reasons) slightly less than two months. But that experience was the catalyst that drove me to move to Key West after turning 23, and certainly helped me when California became my new home at 28-years-old.
I’ve made traveling, either vacations or relocations, a top priority of my life. Hawaii is the 4th state where I’ve held a license to drive, and I’ve also had the opportunity to step foot in many of the cities and countries on my lifelong “to do” list. On a World Traveler’s Scorecard my adventures might not rate that high, but to me I feel so lucky for every passport stamp or check mark I’ve made on a map.
I love where I live now, and I am very fortunate to be here. Hawaii is such a special place, not only the sheer beauty of the islands but the people and feeling of the aloha spirit. The three and a half years I’ve spent here have been amazing.
But I still can’t help myself from looking forward to my next adventure.
I suppose I’ve always been that way. I cherished the time I spent living in Key West, but I was ready to leave after one year. I look back on LA as some of the best years of my life, but six of them in Southern California was more than enough. I was extremely happy in San Francisco, my last city of residence, and I still consider it one of the greatest places to live in the world. But after eight years I knew I needed a new destination to discover.
Hell, I couldn’t even stay at one college for four years. I loved Bridgewater State and made so many friends there, but I left after two-years for Boston University. The prospect of “what’s next” is always very thrilling.
When my company offered me a job in Honolulu in 2012, I knew I had to take it. I have no plans to leave Hawaii, and I’m beyond happy being here. Exhibit A: On my walk home tonight through Kapiolani Park just as dusk turned to night, the first twinkling of the stars appeared while I breathed in the soft tropical breeze. Just minutes earlier I had strolled past Waikiki Beach, and the sky had just a hint of pink visible in the dark purples and grays. When the traffic waned you could hear the surf lapping against the sand. If I stay here another three and a half years I would consider myself lucky.
But as my 40s keep on keeping on, I know there are more places not only to explore as a visitor, but to experience as a resident.
I would love to live in Europe for one year. With the visa requirements I’d have to keep moving and get out of Schengen Area every three months, but that is a work-around that would be fun to do. My money would go a lot further in Costa Rica or Belize (which I visited in 2012), and those countries are very tempting destinations. The idea of taking a year off from work to travel and write is one that Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Ellen Page would have no problem incepting in me.
But I’ll put those thoughts on hold for the time being, and enjoy the opportunities for shorter trips. J’Nell and I just had a wonderful neighbor island visit to Kauai, and in two weeks I’ll be in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for vacation. The next longer adventure awaits. It will begin as a dream, then become an obsession, and at some point in the future will become a reality.
You’ve got the wanderlust. Ahh… I have it, too. Go while you can. I am 56 years old and since my late 40s or right around 50, I started having these weird sensations in my feet and legs. When I was 54, I noticed it in my arms as well. It was sort of a weakness of sorts. In early 2020, just after the pandemic hit, I went to work as usual, was extremely tired. After my 12-hour shift (I was a nurse), I went home. Once in the garage, I got out of my car—and could hardly walk. Since then, I have not been able to work. I have some weird neuro-muscular disease that has not been identified as of yet. (They thought they had it pegged, but after 8 months of therapy, there was no improvement—and so, it’s back to the drawing board.) Why am I telling you all of this? Because I want to push you to GO. Go explore the world as much as you can while you can. My ability to travel has really been hindered–all so unexpectedly and at a fairly early age. (I was still 54 when this happened.) Go to new places and experience new things. Enjoy your (current) home state. Know that I am jealous and will probably never travel back there. Go-go-GO!! Start packing! ENJOY all that the world has to offer.
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I’m so sorry for what you are enduring and going through with your illness. I hope that the doctors will figure out how to cure it, and I will be sending out positive thoughts that it will happen. You are so right about traveling …. there is so much to see and none of us knows how much time we have on this planet. I’ve done an okay job of getting out there, but I know I could have done better and need to keep doing better! I just got a new job in Miami Beach (Something I haven’t blogged about) and I am working crazy hours. That being said, I’ve been enjoying exploring this new city and I’m on the hunt for tiki bars if you have any recommendations for this area!
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Yes! You HAVE to go to the Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale. It is supposed to be tiki nirvana—one of THE tiki meccas in the states. It is closed now for repairs. I have been in contact with them and they expect to re-open this winter. https://www.maikai.com/ I’ve missed it every time I’ve been to Florida. I was supposed to go again next spring, but the friend who was living there moved to Boston. At Disneyworld, you’ll have to try Trader Sam’s. I’m sure you’ve heard about it. I’ve only been to the one at Disneyland so far. But, if you order one of several drinks, something special happens in the bar! https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/polynesian-resort/trader-sams-grog-grotto/
Finally, it’s not a tiki bar, but another kitschy tourist trap I have been wanting to visit is Coral Castle. I kick myself for having missed that as well. I’ve wanted to see it since I was a kid and saw it on YOU ASKED FOR IT or THAT’S INCREDIBLE (or some show like that). It was also used for the gonzo Doris Wishman early 60s nudie NUDES ON THE MOON. https://coralcastle.com/ Be safe in Florida. More than 1,000 COVID deaths there last week alone.
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