THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED

I miss traveling. I miss exploring new places and dining at different restaurants or cafes. Between my work schedule and Charlie’s school and work schedules, taking a week off has been near impossible these past few years. Lately, the furthest we have travelled is to my sisters’ places in Iowa and western Minnesota. So, I look forward to Charlie graduating in December and hopefully accepting a fantastic job somewhere amazing because this girl wants to travel the world. But for now, I’m perfectly OK with hitting all 50 states in the years to come.

Speaking of all 50 states, my parents achieved that feat a few years ago. I believe I’ve been in at least half the states thanks to many, many summer road trips with my family and friends. Having two parents teaching at the same school was beneficial when planning summer vacation with three girls. Maybe because I was the oldest, but I remember Dad always tagging me to help him hitch the pop-up camper to the van or Suburban. “A little bit more, Dad! Wait! Stop! Left! You’re good! Just a little bit more!” Sometimes I wish I truly appreciated the experiences when I was younger.

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Maybe I would like camping more if I had a tent like the one in the picture.

I was a pre-teen or teenaged nitwit who couldn’t wait to become an adult so I could stay in hotels whenever I traveled. I figured if I stayed in a hotel, I wouldn’t have to help break down a pop-up camper or walk half a mile to use the campground’s public restrooms. A hotel room would have TV, private bathroom, and air conditioning. A teenage girl usually wants to be pampered and spoiled instead of traipsing around the woods and fighting off blood-hungry mosquitoes that ignore everyone else at the campground and zone in on the naturally tan Asian tween.

Don’t mistake my wishful thinking for complaints or regrets (except for the stupid mosquitoes) because I keep funny and fond memories of camping and vacationing with my family. I just wish that my younger self hadn’t been so focused on being pampered and could’ve been more grateful for the experiences. However, I have learned that I’m not a big fan of camping, but I also wouldn’t turn down a camping invitation with friends and family. Camping with a large group of friends and family usually means hilarity and hijinks will be involved.

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana

Anyway, I look forward to the day when I can start planning vacations because I have ton of destinations on my to-go list. I would love to return to Glacier National Park in Montana with Charlie. Even though I’m not a big fan of camping, I don’t mind traipsing through the woods as long as I have amazing bug spray and a water bottle with me. I visited Glacier National Park years ago with a college friend, and I thought the area was just beautiful and gorgeous. I loved it except for the death-trap called Going-to-the-Sun Road (a popular highlight offering amazing sceneries).

When my college friend, Xenia, and I were planning our trip to Glacier National Park, we were looking at the map trying to figure out the quickest way to meet a third friend, Kathia, at the Amtrak station. We thought Going-to-the-Sun Road was a convenient shortcut from our lodge to the Amtrak station. Oh, we were so very wrong. So wrong. Despite the gorgeous views, I kept my nervous eyes on the tiny little path and my both hands tightly gripping the steering wheel of the car. “Jenn! Look! This is beautiful! Look! Look! Look!”

Las Vegas at night

Las Vegas at night

Where else would I like to go? I would love to head back to Washington D.C., especially for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Where do I even begin to choose which attraction I want to visit first? With my hard-hitting journalism instincts, I could probably spend an entire day at Newseum, a museum dedicated to news. Las Vegas has never ever disappointed me (remember: bring good walking shoes). Just walking up and down the Vegas Strip would make me happy. I just absolutely love the bright lights of the city at night.

The coffee should be fabulous in Seattle, right? I could care less about the gray clouds because I would much rather deal with cooler weather than hot and steamy weather. I would love to take a cruise tour of Alaska, but I’m not sure if I can convince Charlie – or myself – to step on a cruise ship given the recent events (inside joke: “It’s a real-life Titanic!”). OK, I’m officially starting a destination list for all the places I want to visit in the near future. Even if Charlie and I can’t visit these places anytime soon, I can at least dream.

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