Father & Son Trip to San Francisco

Father & Son Trip to San Francisco

“When the lights go down in the city
And the sun shines on the bay
I want to be there in my city”

– “Lights” – Vocals by Journey and Music & Lyrics by Stephen Ray Perry & Neal Joseph Schon

In 2020, my planned trip to Pittsburgh with my dad was scrapped. We had airplane boarding passes, hotel reservations, and baseball tickets to see the New York Yankees vs. Pittsburgh Pirates. The loss of this trip is insignificant in light of the tragedy many have suffered during the ongoing pandemic. Yet, the cancellation of our journey led me to reflect on our father/son baseball connection, which I discussed in previous posts. Furthermore, it made me think of our trip to California in July of 2012, nearly ten years ago. It was a memorable trip, filled with historical sightseeing and live baseball. There is no better way to heal my empty “travel” heart than by recalling this father/son trip to San Francisco in today’s post.

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“Do Not Pass Go”: Board Games & Leisure Aplenty

“Do Not Pass Go”: Board Games & Leisure Aplenty

“Who cares about winning? Let’s get drunk!”

– Jason Bateman (Max) from Game Night

Whether my wife Corinne and I are having a game night at home with friends, visiting with my brother-in-law Kyle and wife Christine, or spending time with my brother Jeff and wife Lauren, we have played some wicked awesome board games as of late. In most of the games we play, we are both, my wife and I, extreme novices. We didn’t even have a board game in the house, until now. It has been nice starting a fun new pursuit. Yet, as I put a few board games in my shopping cart the other day, it dawned on me; what is my “games” story? I have explored several topics in the context of nostalgia, but I never considered board games or yard games.

I want to explore my love of random games and share some unique stories. In the end, I find that my newfound love of intense, cut-throat board games is nothing new. Board games come and go, incredible yard game memories are in abundance, the only thing that’s changed is that I am older and only need to win “sixty percent of the time… every time.” It is funny, the number of games I played as a kid, whether a random card game of Bullsh*t with friends at a bus station or Guess Who? with my sister Becky, I wanted to win. I assumed winning was important, maybe not every time, but why play if you don’t win? A kind of terrible way of thinking, but luckily, as an adult, I have no time for that line of reasoning. The fun is the time spent with others. So, join me and roll the dice. No get out of jail free card!

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20 Years Older & Slightly Wiser, but an Echo Remains

20 Years Older & Slightly Wiser, but an Echo Remains

“That’s me. I’d say I’m sorry to disappoint you… but I’m not. I excel at not giving a shit. Experience has taught me that interest begets expectation, and expectation begets disappointment, so the key to avoiding disappointment is to avoid interest. A equals B equals C equals A, or… whatever.”

– Ellen Muth (Georgia) from Dead Like Me

I am an emotional person. I admit that without pause. I love watching dramatic movies, live-action or animated, and television shows that render me speechless. My wife Corinne refrains from such emotional rollercoaster viewings, but I, conversely, have difficulty turning away. I am like Rafael, not the master painter and architect of the Italian High Renaissance, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. I am not referring to the ultra-violent comic book version. Still, instead, the 1987 television series version depicts him as hip, loyal, and sensitive, but rude, feels slighted, and gets cranky when annoyed. That’s not “exactly” me, but I meander through life protecting my anxious and, inherently, insecure self.

I have always felt this way, whether with making friends as a kid, how I felt about my body image, or how I responded to emotionally stimulating events. This sensitivity, and connection, to major events, especially those in the past, drew me to the world of professional history. History, memory, and emotion often link together to help break down my anxiousness and self-doubt. As an anxious person, which I discussed in a previous blog, emotional connections are vital in exploring the past. Today, I briefly explore change, life and death, and the quest to understand myself and the past, especially in the context of the 20th anniversary of the tragedy of September 11, 2001.

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Visiting Incredible Skyscrapers, Gardens & Parks in Shanghai, China

Visiting Incredible Skyscrapers, Gardens & Parks in Shanghai, China

“Shanghai is split by the Huanpu River, a tributary of Yangtze…The one thing I know for sure about China is; I will never know China. It’s too big, too old, too diverse, too deep. There’s simply not enough time. That’s for me the joy of China, facing a learning curve that impossibly steep.”

– Anthony Bourdain, “Shanghai” on Parts Unknown

I have discussed my one-month stay in China in June of 2018 twice on this blog. Once, I discussed the trip in the context of the brewery scene in Shanghai. More recently, I detailed my weekend excursion to Beijing and visit to the Great Wall of China. Even so, I failed to cover, purposely, some of the significant locations I visited and experiences I had during my time in Shanghai. Therefore, I thought it appropriate to venture back to Shanghai and explore some of those incredible moments that I think about fondly. With the ability to travel still at a standstill, the best I can do is travel into my memories. In those recollections, I discover that I am a pretty capable traveler.

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The Big Island of Hawaiʻi: Waterfalls, Volcanoes & Aloha Spirit

The Big Island of Hawaiʻi: Waterfalls, Volcanoes & Aloha Spirit

“Wait a minute. You look at your window here, you look at those hills, those mountains, all that green, that blue sky and gem-clear sea. It sure looks like paradise to me.”

– Anthony Bourdain in “Hawaiʻi” from Parts Unknown

There are moments in life often reflected upon with eagerness. As I wrote in A Brief Hawaii Moment, my time living in Hawaiʻi was one of the most significant experiences of my life. I got married, earned a Ph.D., lived according to Aloha, and met incredible people. In that post, I explored my life in Hawaiʻi, but I purposely left out some travel narratives that deserve closer attention. One such trip was a sojourn to the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. This trip included snorkeling, a luxury resort, volcanoes, and an encounter with sleeping sea turtles. I most remember the time spent with my wife Corinne and two of our closest friends, who accompanied us on this journey. Someone said, “A good friend knows all your stories. A best friend helped you create them.” Colleen and Don are two best friends who helped us forge memories through travel. Join me as I explore a friendship born with Aloha, board a plane from Oahu, the gathering place, to the Big Island, and observe its beauty, coast to coast.

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AutoCamp Cape Cod: Airstream Vacation & Rewinding 1988’s “The Great Outdoors”

AutoCamp Cape Cod: Airstream Vacation & Rewinding 1988’s “The Great Outdoors”

“Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong.”

– George Carlin

The time finally arrived; my wife and I took a trip away from home for the first time in over a year. We took a two-night venture to Falmouth, Massachusetts, and stayed in an Airstream at AutoCamp Cape Cod. I am not much of a camper. Even so, staying in an Airstream seemed a perfect way to spend a couple of nights but still enjoying all the luxuries of travel. We would be outside, away from others, and could bring our dog, Mr. Tuttles. It seemed a perfect way to reacclimate to the outside world. If I have learned anything recently, it is that in a pandemic experienced world, anything is possible.

But was it a trip I would do again? Did sleeping in an Airstream help me see the outdoors as a viable alternative to resort amenities? Keep reading to see, but here is a hint; this anti-camper not only recalled memories of childhood but could also not stop quoting a ‘88 John Candy film. Sure, while I do not consider myself “obnoxious,” I am slightly more the Roman character played by Dan Aykroyd in The Great Outdoors than Chet played by Candy. A classic comedy from 1988 written by John Hughes, the outdoors always makes me think of this film. So, buckle up, get the fire pit ready, and dust off the VHS player. We are talking camping, travel, and a classic cinematic comedy.

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