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.