I have done some traveling in my life time and I would like to share my experiences with you. Unlike some of you out there, I have not been outside the United States. I would like to visit all 50 states before I start my travels outside of its boundaries. So far I have seen 5 states and hope to see a few more in the near future.
As a kid, I remember my parents loading up the family in the van. My family consists of me and my brothers, so just in that it was a feat. When all the luggage and the kids were in the car we would head out. (Tip for parents: it's easier to start a trip in the late evening so that the first part the kids are asleep.) When we went on family vacations, we would always drive there. We made countless trips from Houston to Colorado to see my Grandparents. We would go every July and also make the occational trip up there for either Thanksgiving or Christmas. It was always so much fun being in the van on a one day trip (of which most of it was trying to get out of Texas)--if you can't tell...this is where my sarcasim comes in. When we would finally get up to my Grandparents' farm just north of Denver. That is where we would stay for a week or so...or at least till it was time for us to get back in the car and drive home. While we were up there, we would go and see all the sights and this included at least one trip up into the mountains. This is where I saw snow for the first time...well at least the first time that I remember. My favorite place to go, while we are there, is a small tourist town in the mountains called Estes Park. We go there and walk along the streets, do some window shopping, watch all the other people, buy souveniers, and also go by the Taffy Shop. I love going to the Taffy Shop because they have the taffy puller right there in the window and you can watch them pulling the saltwater taffy. We usually don't get away from there without getting at least 3 big boxes of the stuff. Another place that is interesting to go to is Fudgeworks (I think that is the name of the store...never really paid all that much attention). They have 2 marble slab tables that they work the fudge on. you can tell when they are doing this because there is always a crowd surrounding the tables. Dad usually will go in there and get some of the white fudge with nuts. After we finish walking around in Estes Park we go a few miles down the road where my Grandparents have a cabin on the Big Thompson river.
That is not the only place that I have traveled to. I have also traveled to Florida to go visit Mickey Mouse. The summers of 1985 and 1988, my family and I went on vacation in the family van. Destination: Walt Disney World. We had alot of fun in Florida. We got to go see Mickey Mouse and got to ride on most of the rides in Epcot and in the Magic Kingdom. Back then they didn't have all the other places to go. Personally my favorite parts were tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom and the different countries in Epcot. It was alot of fun and I would love to go back there in the near future and see how much it has changed.
I have also gone with my dad and brothers to see Missouri. We went to visit my aunt and cousins in Saint Louis and while we were there we got to go site-seeing. As a part of the site-seeing we got to go into The Arch and even went to the top of it to see the city. We also got to see the Mississippi River up close. All I have to say about that is that it is extremely muddy and dirty looking.
I have taken a couple trips without the family. One such trip was to Michigan around christmas time back in 1996. This was not only my first time flying, but I went up in the plane by myself (meaning without other family members or friends). It was scary at first, but once we got into the air, it was pretty exciting. When I got to Detroit, the person that was to pick me up from the airport wasn't there. I had to wait a good 30 minutes or so before he showed up. We finally left the airport and got back to his place. Had dinner with his parents and then he took me to check into the hotel that I was going to stay at while I was there. The original plan was for me to stay in Michigan for about 3 weeks, but the plans were cut short due to a "medical emergency". However, while I was there I got to go and see Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan. It is gorgeous up there at that time of year because of the snow on the ground and plants. Some would say that the snow is not all that wonderful because they live with it for almost half the year, but when you are from southeastern texas, you do not see snow that often. For me personally, I love to see snow and be around it, but there is a limit of a week or two and then I have to get back to where the snow is not around. My stay in Michigan, all be it short, was a good experience and one that I needed just for the simple fact that I needed to start getting out and taking vacations on my own because my family will not always be going with me on vacation just like I will not always be going on vacation with them.
In November 1998, I made a trip out to San Francisco, California. I got to see some of the city sites, including pier 39, Lombard Street, and even walking on the Golden Gate Bridge. Most of the time that I was out there it rained and was rather chilly. I was also able to meet some friends of mine that I talk to over the net. It was nice to finally be able to put names and nicks with faces and get to see who you talk to. The highlight of the trip for me was getting to see the golden gate bridge at night and looking from the bridge to see the lights of San Francisco and the bay bridge all lit up. It was a beautiful site.
In the past couple of years, I have only been able to make a few trips. I have gone to New Jersey twice to see the in-laws and did not really like it either time. I had best clarify it was not the in-laws that I did not like, but rather Newark (once I left the safe confines of the airport). The only time I will be going back there is if I have a connecting flight there to Europe and I will not venture outside the airport (if I decide to take any trips abroad).
In May 2001, I spent my first "mini-vacation" in San Francisco, California. As you might be able to tell, I really do love it out there and I try to get out there as frequently as possible. I saw the same sites as before and remember them as they were only a few years ago. I was able to take a boat tour of the bay this time and it was fun.
In June 2001, I was able to return to California, but this time I went to Sacramento. I had a fun time while I was there until I had to leave for home. I won't bore you with all the messy details. All I will say is this, when traveling to another city, state, or country, please be sure to watch the weather for the place you are leaving from as will as the place you are going to. Adverse weather in either place will make it a very difficult and stressful trip for all involved.
In September 2001, for Labor Day weekend, I flew up to Austin ,Texas, by way of Killeen, Texas. I spent a lovely weekend with a good friend. Little did I know at the time that this would be my last flight for a good long while. A week later, the attacks on the US occured and out of that, many people in the airline industry were laid off (myself included). I have since gotten back on with that same company and am looking forward to flying again soon.
In September 2002, again for Labor Day weekend, I find myself going to Austin, but by car this time. Although it was only for an overnight that was spent with the new love of my life at his job, it was still a wonderful time and I am looking forward to going back in 3 weeks. The next time I go, I hope to be flying up there. It will be my first flight since before the attacks and I am lookikng forward to the trip. The reason that I have not flown after the attacks is not because of fear, but because of a lack of opportunity and now that I will have the opportunity I am loving it.