Sometimes in life we just have to get away...
It seems that I have that need a lot. Call it a Gypsy spirit or a restless heart, whatever it is I love it and never want it to stop. I feel I am at my happiest spending time with my girls or getting to see new things. I think it comes from an uncontrollable desire to experience the world around me and to immerse myself in nature, culture, and the moment.
As a result of that need, I have found some of my favorite places. From the little boat dock, where I went back to swim many times, to a long stretch in the middle of the forest where over a hundred little deer lined the road. I have spent many days just driving, with no destination in mind.
Those unplanned drives have been amazing. Windows down, radio on, never knowing what is ahead. And since I have such varied interests in things and places I never know what little view may spark my desire to stop. I have learned over the years to just go with it. Some call it getting lost, but I say there is no such thing. No wrong turns, just more to see!
So far, those little excursions have taken me to 28 states. Or at least that’s what I think it was at last count, so it seems I have a lot of updating to do. I plan to make it to All 50 states eventually and then to work on as many other countries as I can.
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Things that I find especially interesting:
I find many times, I gravitate to the same “Type” of places. In these links, you will find a combination of the stories and photos from these places, based on type.
National parks are by far some of my favorite destinations. I visit them as often as possible and I have watched the Ken Burn series, “National Parks” until I have it almost memorized. They truly were “America’s best idea”.
This link includes all lands in the NPS, currently, which is right around 400 locations. Including parks, monuments, battlefields, recreation areas, and wilderness areas.
Some of them allow overnight stays, while others only allow day visits or drive-through. My ultimate goal is always to capture the landscape and wildlife, however, I also try to photograph the visitors’ centers when open, as I find them to be an excellent source of information about the area. It all varies, based on circumstances, timing, and weather.
A much as I am taken with National Parks, so am I State Parks. They are an excellent place to learn about the native species as well as the history of an area. But most of all, I like the remoteness of them.
“Look for the clock” that is what I say, each time we drive into a little town. Because most of the time the city courthouse has a clock on a tower. Seems like they are peering over the city like a watchman. However, this does tend to make them easy to see and to find the center of town and usually the historic area. And after visiting the extremely ornate ones in Texas, I became hooked on the buildings themselves. So now it is a category all unto itself.
I rarely will pass up a zoo or hesitate to go out of my way to see some fish so I probably should have placed this category at the top of the list.
My love of forts goes back to my childhood and summer days in St. Augustine. While growing up the Castello di San Marco, in St. Augustine, was a staple stop on our family trips to the beach. All of us kids would run around it pretending that we were soldiers or seeing if we could fit in the very small beds or through the tiny opening into the powder room. And some of my favorite childhood memories are playing on the lawn waiting for the Easter parade to start.
Years later, I came to understand the history and need for them. I also came to detest the idea of forts and war in general. But as with everything in life, I also know they have their purpose. And after all these old forts hold centuries of history and were essential in shaping what our lives were to become. In these forts, we can get a sense of where we came from, and a better appreciation for what our ancestors went through. We should study them and cherish them. Men and women gave their lives protecting them.
What isn’t in a museum? During my years of traveling around, I have seen everything from shoes worn in the “Wizard of Oz” to a rock from the moon. Gotta love museums, there is so much knowledge, history, and just outright quirkiness. And the lure of art galleries for an artist is just a given.
When visiting small towns filled with their curiosities of dilapidated buildings and hidden gems that aren’t on the “normal” tourist maps it feels like I’m peering through a window into how others have lived. And I find in doing so it always surprises me to see that even with all of the differences around the country, we are all still very much alike.
This category is really due to my Mom and Grandmother. There wasn’t a plant that my Gramma couldn’t make thrive or bloom. She instilled a fascination with flowers in most everyone that knew her. And my mother seemed to inherit her green thumb. I, on the other hand, kill most things I touch but I still have a fascination for the intricacy of plant life and am always pulled in by bright colors. So, I can spend hours in a garden taking photographs from every angle.
This is an ever-growing list and one I am sure I will never finish. But, that’s okay, life is about seeing and experiencing everything you can in the time you have.