Tomorrow morning (well, actually - this morning) I'm headed to Chicago. So, because I'm just up with not a chance of any shut-eye in sight for a while, I thought I would use this as my 99th post and force myself to move toward my 100th post. Often when I'm in my "who needs sleep?" stage, I think why? It's not that I haven't traveled enough. I'm not a nervous flier. In fact, I love flying and when I went on vacation last year, one of the highlights of my trip was that I was able to be in an airport I haven't been in before. And in most cases it's not that I'm so excited to go that I just can't contain myself. So, it must be missing that one stupid flight 4+ years ago and I think I really do think I'm ruined for life.
The good news is that I know that about myself at this point, so I don't fully expect to get a good night's sleep before I go and I just try to catch up when I get there. Tonight, in particular, I've been thinking about all of the places I've been and decided to map it out. I've been to the states highlighted in dark blue here:
To be honest, I thought it would look more impressive than this, but I guess I've been to the same states multiple times and I have quite a bit of work to do to hit the rest of the country, still.
California-I've been to Los Angeles for work 2-3 times and I have a friend that lived in Long Beach who I have stayed with 2-3 times. Those trips were always fun, particularly the Long Beach ones because hanging out with that friend means relaxing, fun stuff (museum, author/social change leader speaker - my vacations are exciting), great (GREAT) food, and good people. She doesn't live there anymore, which is sad because the Thai place around the corner from her house had the best yellow chicken curry and we always went to this great crepes place.
Colorado-When I was young (10 or so?) my brother and I went on a road trip with our grandparents to visit family here. Because it was a road trip, this is also when we were in Nebraska and Kansas. I've also been to Denver a couple of times for work. One of those times, a few of us rented a car and drove up a mountain - it was 90 degrees in Denver and there was snow at the top of the mountain. Definitely a weird feeling - and a cold one, says the girl who wore her flip flops up there. I also had a late flight one of the times I was there, so had time to see a bit of the city so I went to the Capitol and to a really cool street art show. I will say that Denver is one of the few places I've been that I wasn't quite ready to go home by the end of the trip, and I would have stayed longer.
North Dakota-I went to North Dakota for the first time in college for an APO conference. I remember a few things about this. a) it was a lot of fun; b) I drove; c) it was February; and d) my heater went out on my car - in February - in North Dakota. We had to use my ice scraper on the inside of my car, which was a (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime experience.
South Dakota-When I was younger (13-14 maybe?) I went with some other teens from church to a youth conference. I remember there were two cars (one with the girls and one with the boys)
and we went to Mount Rushmore, the bad lands, but we didn't stop at Wall Drug. In related news, I'm planning to be in South Dakota over memorial day weekend, likely some Laura Ingalls Wilder stuff and, if we're lucky, the Mitchell Corn Palace. I told you my vacations were exciting!
Texas-I feel like I've been to Dallas more times than I can count for work, with some being more interesting than others. I loved eating seafood at Landry's, we found a neat place called Hotel Za Za, and I spent a night in the ER with a co-worker watching the Golden Globes waiting for her to be seen by the doctor (kidney stones - ouch). Oh, and when you're in Texas, you have to eat steak. This is also where I fell in love with the lemon drop martini (that's a story for another time).
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa-These are obvious because they are where I've lived, worked, and went to school (MN/WI) and I grew up so close to Iowa that for a long time we had an Iowa address, but Minnesota drivers licenses-it's like we didn't know where one started and the other stopped, I guess.
Missouri-I went to the National Volunteer Conference one year for APO (after I graduated from college) and visited the APO national headquarters in Lafayette.
Louisiana-When I was in college (a junior, I think?), we went to New Orleans for the APO National Conference. This was kind of a vacation, I guess, but it was actually an exciting one because I was there with a bunch of awesome APO brothers from all over the place, in New Orleans, over new year's. It may not be Mardi Gras, but it was fun! The first thing my friends and I did was go to the Old Absinthe House (a bar) and ask for a hurricane, which was apparently the drink to have in New Orleans. They asked Do you want that for here? or to go? Ummm... to go!!!
Illinois-More work stuff - I've been to Oak Brook and Chicago. I had good pizza and it was neat to walk around, but these were strictly work. And I'm headed there again in a few hours, I guess. :) I would like to make a weekend trip to Chicago sometime for play, though - want to go with me?
Indiana-Seems like countless times here, too, for work - we were in Bloomington (Go Hoosiers!). I have to many stories to tell about this, so you'll have to ask me in person sometime. I will say that we had to fly into Indianapolis and take a shuttle all the way to Bloomington (over an hour) and I remember one time writing down the random signs, like a building called Banquet Hall and a Real Big Guns store. A girls' gotta do something to entertain herself in rural Indiana. But once we were there, it was awesome -- and Jen, if you read this, I miss you!!!
Georgia-I wrote a little bit about my trips to Atlanta recently talking about some memories I have with my cousin/godmother, Becky, and her family. I've been there for work 2-3 times, and was there for my goddaughter's baptism. I'd like to go here, again, to spend some more time with them (but unrelated to a work trip).
[[side note: woo hoo! the Golden Girls just came on tv. Hey... it's better than watching the infomercial about pajama jeans or proactiv, again]]
Florida-Believe it or not, the first time I was in Florida was two years ago. The first time was just a short in-and-out trip to Miami for a work site visit and I was there again this past January. But I actually went on a real vacation there in October of last year in Tallahassee. I already posted all about this, but will say it was awesome and my aunt and uncle rule for putting up with all 5 of us. :)
Virginia-I was here several times for work trips at the National Conference Center, which is by far one of the most interesting
Washington D.C.-I went once on a day trip with a friend when I was in Maryland for work and we spent some time in Georgetown, which was very cool, and we got to meet up with a high school friend for dinner, which was even better! The other time was just an overnight work trip for a 1-day conference we were hosting.
Maryland-Went here a bunch of times (5? 7? 10? - well, probably not 10, but probably 5-7). Mostly for work at our office there, but have spent a couple of weekends hanging out there, as well. I posted already about the last time I was there and spent some time hanging out over the weekend.
New York-I've been here twice and I loved New York City. You can get anywhere you want to go by subway and walking and there are so many things to do and see. Friends Abby, Shannon, and I went one time for a few days and had a blast with friend Greg. The other time was an overnight trip when I was going to be in Maryland for work that week and it was a lot of fun! It seems like you could live there for years and not run out of stuff to do/see. I'd like to go back - want to come?
And finally, New Hampshire-This was another work trip, but the interesting thing about this one was that on my way out, my flight was canceled out of Manchester, so I ended up having to find a hotel and stay until the next day - that was the first time that had happened when I was by myself. And, no, I did not become that angry girl this time. Instead, I looked at it as a challenge to show myself I could take care of myself in that type of situation. Turns out, it's not that hard. Get cab. Book hotel. Eat dinner. Sleep. Get cab. Get on flight. Somewhere in between, you call the travel agent and tell them to re-book you. Worked like a charm.
Outside of the U.S., I've only been to the Bahamas for my cousin/godmother's wedding when I was a freshman in college and that was one awesome trip. Singing "We are family" and dancing at the reception, going to the Zoo, the very interesting booze cruise, my first time being in a casino, and touring the Atlantis hotel that you see on the travel channel all the time. :) Good times.
And there you have it - this is what happens the night before I fly out in the morning. No sleep and now you're subjected to my long rambling post. If you made it all the way to the end, kudos and thank you for reading.
Now... on to post #100! Bear with me, please. As you know, I'm headed to Chicago for a few days and may not have a chance to finish it up until late next week or next weekend.