07 June 2011

Thirty by thirty: travel, #22-25

We’re in the home stretch! Just look at how much we’ve covered already: Family (in part 1 and part 2), Service, Personal Development (in part 1 and part 2), and Food.

Much of the list has already been about going and doing, but I still wanted to devote a section to going and doing outside of our excellent city. I’m incredibly fortunate that our honeymoon was in the country I’ve wanted to visit most, so my top choice location is already checked off my list:

Oh and also this:

Please ignore how my hair is making a halo-mullet. We were going on a hike and it was like 7 AM so we could avoid the heat of day but Italian Riviera humidity is full-blast even then.

Anyway, my travel choices for 30 by 30 are a little more tame and much more family/friends-oriented, which was one of the overall meta-goals of the list. That's right, my goals have goals! Here they are:

#22: Take a train to visit family in Chicago

I take the train to work every day, or at least every day that I don’t slowpoke around in the morning and miss it which, let’s face it, is probably once a week. The days I actually catch the train are awesome. They are peaceful (especially since the institution of a Quiet Car) and easy and happy. When I don’t take the train, I am so grumpy because I have to drive myself to work, oh my gah. I’m so over needing the car with me at all times, the anxiety of wondering but how will I get there? if public transportation has a snafu. I have a mindset I call public transportation zen. It comes from knowing that I am completely absolved of the responsibility to get myself someplace. If there is a traffic jam? Not my job to try to get around it! If there is a mechanical problem? I don’t have to call a repairman! I’m fortunate to have a job that doesn’t require me to clock in, so I figure that if I can’t do anything about it, I shouldn’t worry about it.

This combination of hating to drive and loving the train means I’d like to go on a train journey longer than my daily train ride of twelve minutes. That’s how we got around Italy and it was easy once we (meaning Mr. P) figured out how to buy tickets in an entirely different language. I think it would super fun to do this here in the States too.

But I’m gonna be honest with you, not sure Mr. P is into this one, especially because train tickets cost as much or more than a flight, and Mr. P is not as in love with the train as me for it to be worth it to him. So this one may not happen, but it is worth putting it on the list in case the opportunity arises.

#23: Go on a beach vacation with Mr. P

As you can see above, Mr. P and I didn’t spend our honeymoon relaxing on a beach. We went and did and saw Italy for almost two weeks before spending the last couple of days relaxing in the Cinque Terre, and even then it wasn’t necessarily laying on a beach (see: hike in 7AM humidity). We took our last beach vacation in 2009 and I am ready for another. That might be ridiculous considering that I am basically allergic to the sun and afraid of all the creatures in the ocean. But lounging in the sand under an umbrella with the salty sea breeze and a book all day long? I am happy as a clam. Yes, you see what I did there.

I’d be happy to vacation someplace we’ve already been, just to satisfy my craving and check it off the list (Hilton Head is delightful). But I’ve got a challenge goal in mind for this one: Hawaii. I’ve never been and neither has Mr. P. Plus it’s like visiting another country without having to bother getting my passport in my married name. And if you’ve learned anything from this list, it’s that I hate getting paperwork in order.

#24: Visit far-flung friends

Graduate school is, fortunately, temporary. It’s “only” five or six years before students graduate and move on to a new place. Unfortunately, the wonderful friends I made here are now moving away. Mr. P and I will as well. That’s not counting the friends I made before graduate school who have also moved on to bigger and better places… but I have never really gone to visit them either. I guess it comes from growing up in a place where all our family and friends were in the same small part of Tennessee. Plus I had an “extended” family that could probably fit easily in a minivan.

Now that most of my friends are in far-flung places, there is absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t plan the occasional vacation around a city where a dear friend now lives. They live in some amazing places too! My next vacation could be to New Haven/New York, Minneapolis, or Denver just to name a few. It might take a bit of effort to coordinate a visit with my fantastically successful and popular friends’ schedules, but it’s about time I try!

#25: Visit three new cities

Have I mentioned that we love Nashville and all it offers? Only about a million times? Ok, then I guess maybe you understand why I have not bothered to visit a lot of the neighboring cities for weekend getaways. Granted, I’ve made it to a few neighboring places, though not necessarily new. For instance, Mr. P and I visited the Smoky Mountains several years ago:

And a few months ago we went to Atlanta, which I had visited as a teenager but not as a grownup. As a grownup I only had one goal in Atlanta, which was to visit IKEA. And it was glorious! Surely other cities have some great things to offer even if they don’t have an IKEA. I hear Louisville and Charleston are great cities, and I’ve never been to New Orleans either.

I have no idea how doable this goal is, honestly. On one hand, it might be super easy between interviewing for my next job and the aforementioned items, #23 beach vacation and #24 visiting-friends. On the other: HOMEBODY. And CHEAP. Plus some of the jobs I’m looking at are in cities I’ve been, so interviews there wouldn’t count. And have I mentioned we love Nashville?

Just one more post and this 30 by 30 list is DUNZO! The last part of the list is made up of some odds and ends I’m calling “Hobbies” – check back!


Christal said...

You're damn skippy your next vacation can be in New Haven/New York. It's like, the mecca of food carts, just for your information. And a beach, if you count the sound. Plus, there's a station on the beach where you can get your will on order. OK, maybe not that one, but still. It'd help your list. ;-)