July 7, 2010

Traveling 101

Posted in Traveling 101 at 12:15 AM by TKWatson

My parents aren’t really the traveling type.  Never have been.  Seeing the world wasn’t high on their list of things to do.  If I had to guesstimate, I’d say it fell right below “attend a treehugger sit-in” (which… would be VERY low).  Okay, fine.  Maybe one above it.  Let’s not pick hairs here, people.  The bottom line is that my parents have always seen spending oodles of money on vacations as frivolous and unnecessary. They would rather go “camping” (and by “camping” I mean hauling a 25 ft. trailer complete with a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and pop-out dinning room, into the “wilderness”… and by “wilderness” I of course mean a campground with trailer hook-ups and full bathrooms that are cleaned on a daily basis) than spend a ton of money on an exotic vacation.  (And by “exotic” I mean a place that requires a plane ride or more than a six hour car drive.)  I can’t say that they are wrong, or right.  That’s just how their priority list flows.  Something about paying mortgages before buying airplane tickets.  Whatev.

My parents have their reasons for not traveling much… aside from the whole “paying bills” thing… my mom hates to fly and requires about 3 suitcases per day of travel, containing everything in her bathroom cabinet, 7 pairs of shoes, 3 pillows (including a very large body pillow), a make-up mirror, a folding life raft, a partridge and a pear tree, and about half of all the clothing articles she owns.  This is just the way she rolls, yo.  My dad, I think, would enjoy traveling slightly more than my mom, but he too is quite the homebody and, I think, prefers buying shiny new toys to seeing new places.

My parents lack of desire for travel meant that my world was a very small place growing up.  By the time I graduated from college, I had traveled to just three states outside of my Arizona home, and not a single one of them required a plane ride.  (Although… we did take a plane to California… once.)  I had not, and still have not been outside of the United States.  Hell… I don’t even have a passport.  (Which reminds me… mental note… “apply for passport”… I’ve been told it’s something I should have.  Or something.)

Still, since graduating from college, I have expanded the horizons of my world, just a bit.  In the two years since graduation, I have more than doubled my “states visited” count; it now totals a whopping 8.  The states I have ventured to include California, Nevada, New Mexico, (the three I had visited pre college graduation) Colorado, Illinois, Florida, Alaska, and Texas.  In October, I will be adding one more when G and I spend our honeymoon in Hawaii.

I love traveling.  I hate flying, though not the actual flying part; I hate the plane seats.  (They don’t make those things for little people.)  But I’m willing to suffer through the plane rides (that’s why they invented pain killers) simply for the love seeing and experiencing new places.  I’m not much of an “outdoorsy” kinda girl, but the country girl in me loves a beautiful landscape; a good landscape can soothe my soul like nothing else.  The city girl in me loves exploring new downtown areas, visiting the boutiques and window shopping for all the pretty things.  I have thoroughly enjoyed each new place I have seen (except maybe New Mexico… but that’s probably because I didn’t actually see much of it, just the inside of a bus filled with a thousand sweaty, awkward high schoolers, and the inside of a building, filled with four thousand sweaty, awkward high schoolers).

But there is one thing missing.  The one thing that my travels thus far have lacked is something so totally with-in my control it is absurd.  Pictures.  As in… photos.  As in… little square pieces of paper that capture memories.   As in… things to remember the places that I’ve been when I’m old and gray and my hair is falling out and I can’t remember G’s name anymore.  I have a camera.  I know how to use said camera.  (Sorta.)  And yet I generally lack the motivation to do so.  Perhaps this stems from my utter fear and hatred of being in front the camera.  Perhaps it stems from being too lazy and/or forgetfull to charge the damn batteries.  Either way, my travels are hardly documented via photos.  I have photos from a couple of my trips, mainly Colorado and Florida.  But from most of my trips I have very little if any at all.  (Although… in my defense… I was very young during most of my pre-college trips, and probably didn’t even own a camera at those times.  Besides… capturing my chubby cheeked childhood and acne filled adolescence on film?  OhNoThankYou.)  My most recent trip to AK over this weekend (more on that later) is capture through exactly ZERO photographs.

My new goal for traveling is not to see 1,000 places before I kick the bucket. My new goal is just to capture the places that I do see on film (or ya know… in digital format… since… (hello! 1994)… film is practically an antique) so that I can share my trips with friends and family, and someday look back on the places I have been, the good times I have had, and be reminded of the zillions of dollars I have spent on airfare.  Plus, that way, if I never convince my parents to see the world for real, at least they can still see the world.  Just… ya know… in 2D format.

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