Posts tagged travel
That bag. One of about three that I have gone through in my decade plus of heavy travel for work, leisure and other. I am a North Face fanatic, but this was my first bag from North Face. It works well, but really it isn’t about the bag, it is about how many places that it has been with me.
When I decided to quit working in politics and head back to school for my graduate degree, I remember going to Marshalls back in Chicago and picking out a rolling bag and thinking - I hope I get to travel a lot in this new venture I am entering into.
Boy have I.
550,000 air miles later I am still amazed at where my jobs have taken me. From teaching in the open air in London to various other places, it has been quite a ride. That first bag I bought long since died and was replaced, and replaced again. The straps on my current bag are breaking and soon I will be in the market for something new.
As I sit here in San Diego waiting to board my flight back home to Minneapolis I am grateful. I am grateful for so many places that I have gotten to experience because of things that I am involved with. I am grateful that more and more we can work from anywhere.
I think I will get to see a lot more. I think I will go so many more places, but if for some reason not, its been a great ride.
Excuse me if I have waxed about this topic before, but it is one that sits with me and keeps coming back. In this year of trying to see how consistent I can be in the blogging world, why not flex the brain muscle a bit and see what happens on this topic.
The West has a magnetic pull for me. I love living in a fantastic city (Minneapolis) and sharing space with lots of people in my neighborhood. It is great to be able to walk to so many things we get to do around here. But, I equally like getting out on the open road and heading West.
There is just a time in my brain when I must do it. When I was a younger person it was more about ‘getting somewhere’ then it was about the road that took you there. Now it is just as much about ‘the journey’ as it is about the destination. Why? I don’t want to miss any of it. Life it too short and not guaranteed, so why not soak it all up?
How about the time we were stranded 70 miles east of Bismarck and had to stay with friends for a few days while our car was fixed? We embraced it and had a wonderful time exploring all that Mandan had to offer. (great people, great golf, laid back life) I could have been angst during that unintentional layover, but no, we embraced it.
The time is coming again when we will head West to our Bozeman residence and again get after a round of hiking, golfing, seeing a national park, and more. But really I would be happy just getting out and pointing the car West.
This summer we will head out to Montana and I wanted to share a few of my favorite things to do in the treasure state.
1) Yellowstone National Park
Really this could be a post in itself, but needless to say, if you have not been here, you have to go. Geysers, Mountains, Bison, Bears, Moose, Lakes and more - it is spectacular. Stay away from the super touristy areas like Old Faithful and you will find open space and plenty of great hiking.
2) Skiing at Moonlight Basin ski resort in Big Sky.
It is a fantastic mountain and it is rarely crowded. I hesitate to even talk about it for fear of driving more people there. Get there while it is still 10% as crowded as Colorado and Utah. It is amazing. Period.
3) Hike in and around Bozeman
There is so much great hiking around Bozeman you could probably spend your whole life doing it and not see all the trails. We love Sypes Canyon, Cottonwood, Bear Canyon, and more.
There is so much to see and it is minutes from downtown Bozeman. I love that you can get from mainstreet to the mountains in minutes. That maybe should be their branding statement?
4) Driving across Montana
I love driving across Montana because there is so little that is actually there. You can also comfortably cruise with the 75 MPH speed limit and never see traffic. It truly is Big Sky country. Start on the east and make your way to the mountains to the west. It is a great road trip that I have been doing since college.
Road after road you will find unreal views. Next up, Ted Turner’s private national park
5) Ted Turner’s land, bison and hiking
Just a little south of Bozeman you will find the Flying D ranch which you can drive through from the website description:
The Flying D is an 113,613-acre ranch located in southwest Montana just north of Yellowstone National Park. The Gallatin and Madison rivers run through the ranch and the Spanish Peaks Mountains and Lee Metcalf Wilderness are next to its southern boundary. In the middle of increasing development pressures in the Gallatin Valley and Big Sky, the Flying D remains protected open space by virtue of a conservation easement donated to the Nature Conservancy in 1989. Like all Turner ranches, the Flying D is operated as a working business, relying on bison and hunting as its principal enterprises. In addition, the Flying D is in the forefront of in-stream flow water resource management, promoting habitat for abundant fish populations and advancing the establishment of westslope cutthroat trout
It is truly amazing. You may also see his huge herd of bison. I hope that Ted donates this land and it becomes a national park at some point. The Ted Turner national park - it is just breathtaking.
There is a lot to do in Montana, these are just a few of my favorite spots.
As someone who used to live in Washington, DC, and now who gets to travel there for work often, I thought I would share my top 5 things to do in Washington, DC. Here goes -
1) Monuments at Night
Walk around the monuments at night - they are fantastic and less crowded at night. My typical pattern is to take a cab to the Jefferson memorial and then work backwards through the FDR memorial, new MLK memorial (Fantastic by the way), Koren War memorial, Lincoln Memorial and finally the Vietnam War memorial. You can easily add in the World War II memorial and the Washington Monument, but that will add probably 60 minutes of walking time. After doing this pattern, simply walk out to Constitution avenue and hail a cab.
2) Arlington Cemetery
Ok, technically not in DC, but just across the bridge in Virginia. Take the metro or walk across the memorial bridge behind the Lincoln Memorial. This place just makes me quiet and still as I think the immense sacrifice so many have made for the price of freedom. While there, visit the JFK gravesite, very moving.
An upscale part of the district, Georgetown has everything. Fine dining, shopping, cupcakes, great people watching, and a new park along the Potomac river that just begs you stroll along it and think of all that has gone down in the capitol city. Check it out - but remember, make reservations.
4) The US Capitol Building
I am biased here because I used to work for a Senator and every day walked to work and looked at the Capitol. It never gets old for me. Sad that security measures have made more of the building inaccessible, but you can still get so much out of just strolling around it and taking it all in. It is a fantastic building. While you are in the area visit the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress - and then finish your time off with a bite to eat at Union Station - just a stones throw from the Capitol.
5) The White House
I love walking around the White House. The grounds are fantastic and you never know who you might see when you walk around. One time when I lived there I got asked to be an extra on the first episode of the TV series, the West Wing - my 4 seconds of fame - It is a treat and you won’t be disappointed.
There is so much to do in DC, but those are a few of my favorites. Enjoy!
Good for me and my family there was no brain aneurysm on the way home from work yesterday. Although in the world of finances and life insurance if I did pass away my family would have more cash than I can give them day today. Forgive me for my Jimmy Stewart on the bridge moment, I have no plans of beating the insurance company because beating them is losing out on life.
So, that life thing… What will this new blog be about? Life, culture, politics, religion, coaching, teaming, identity, travel and miscellaneous. The first two blogs I had on Xanga and Voxtropolis really were probably a lot of built up observations over time - this blog will be more of a running journal.
It will force me to not only pay attention but not just mutter under my breath rather think coherently and spell out my thoughts in proper sentences. Lately I have been thinking a lot about persevering and realising life is (forget my first paragraph) a long trajectory but without guarantees of how long. So, add a little bit every day and be a giver not a taker. Sounds easy enough, lets see if I can do it today.