This was by far the most driving I’ve ever done in a single period in my life. The final tally for what I saw and experienced was more than what I initially expected. It was a busy three months and in the end it was something I was very glad I did.
There were two major reasons why I decided to undertake this trip. The first, is that I would always meet people who were interested in visiting the United States and many of the places I suggested they visit were places I myself had never been. I figured before I set off to travel around the world again, I should take the time to explore my own country. The second reason was so I could meet in person many of the people I only knew from online. On both counts the trip was a success.
Some of the things I experienced in the last three months:
- I was able to visit most of the major national parks in the United States and 17 World Heritage sites in the US and Canada: Yellowstone National Park, Glacier/Waterton National Park, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, Olympic National Park, Redwood National Park, Yosemite National Park, The Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde National Park, Chaco Culture, Pueblo de Taos, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Everglades National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Mammoth Cave National Park, and Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.
- For the first time in my life I took a cruise and sailed on a large ship. Met some great people on the cruise like Johnny Jet and his awesome dad Frank, Simone DiSanti, Nancy Brown, Shannon Hurst Lane, Brett Roundsaville, the Galavanting Girls (Kim, Courtney, and Shanna), Cheri Lucas, Rich Whitaker,
- I visited (at least briefly) several states/provinces/countries where I’ve never been before: Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Alberta, Honduras and the Cayman Islands.
- Met many bloggers on the course of my travels and at Blog World Expo in Vegas: Trisha Miller, John Chow, Rob, Pam Mandel, Jim Benning, Jessica Spiegal, Debbie Dubrow, Elliott Ng, Renee Blodget, Stephanie Michaels, JoAnna Haugen, Jen Leo, Chris Christensen,Peter Carey, Jen Miner, Marc and Danielle, Lindsay Clark, and Katy Lynch,. (whew!)
- I haven’t counted, but I probably took over 6,000 photos. I have yet to process most of them. They are sitting on my computer.
So what’s next? Thanks to Gary’s Paradox, I spent so much time driving, shooting, and meeting people during the last month I haven’t had much time to write anything. I hope to share many of the stories and photos I’ve taken during the last three months while I’m still in the US in December. So now that I’m not traveling, my travel writing will increase.
I’ll mostly be in Wisconsin during December with brief side trips to Chicago and Minneapolis before Christmas. If you are in any of those cities and would like to meet up, let me know.
In January I’ll be taking off again to Thailand by way of Hawaii and Fiji. I’m going to be slowing down the pace of my travels and I hope to stay in Thailand for 2-3 months before I move on. I’m going to be experimenting with longer form content like slide shows and video.
It is going to be fun.