Feeling inspired by Scribbit, I thought I would share with you a list of the favorite 13 places I've been. Some of which I've traveled to alone... but the most memorable and dear are those that I've shared with my loved ones.
1. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming ~ Growing up, my family spent a lot of time camping in the summer months. We generally didn't venture far from home - we've been to most of the campgrounds in Central Oregon. In 1984, however, we took a road trip to Yellowstone. I was 12 at the time and was frustrated and easily annoyed by my parents (what teen or preteen isn't?). I certainly didn't want to be camping in Yellowstone... I would have preferred a hotel near Disneyland with a pool! In retrospect, however, I am very appreciative that I have had the opportunity to see one of our nation's greatest natural wonders. I look forward now to seeing how the ecosystem has rebounded after the forest fires that devastated the area years ago.
2. San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico ~ June 1992 - My first trip without my parents. My first experience on an airplane. My first trip abroad to a country whose language is not English (or American). I lived with several host families as part of a work/study abroad program coordinated through the Rotary and Lane Community College. In exchange, I taught English (or attempted to) to girls at an orphanage and worked with the city to coach soccer and basketball for a youth sports program in the summer.
3. Cancun, Mexico ~ Our 'unofficial' honeymoon. We were married in June of 1995 and due to obligations associated with work/school, we opted to postpone our honeymoon a few months. We thereby traveled to Cancun in December of 1995. I loved being in Mexico again and sharing the culture with my husband. He, on the other hand, was uncomfortable because he doesn't speak Spanish and wasn't in control of the situation. Despite our different comfort levels, we both enjoyed exploring the ruins of Chitzen Itza and snorkeling in the Caribbean. We even made an attempt to windsurf, but quickly gave it up. We would need 'professional' help to have any success in that arena. :)
4. Washington, D.C. and Virginia ~ Early in his pharmacy career, DH discovered that he wanted more of a challenge. He started to consider medical school and applied to a few. This is what brought us to D.C. in February of 1998. After his interview, we spent a few days touring some of the historic sites including Williamsburg, Jamestown, the Capitol building, and the Smithsonian.
5. Colorado ~ In early 1999, DH's best friend, Bef, was transferred to Fort Collins. We thereby arrainged for a layover in Fort Collins on our return from DisneyWorld in August of 1999. We drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park for a casual hike (getting caught in a rain storm that passed through) and then dined on Buffalo burgers in Estes Park. We returned to Colorado again in July of 2000 and 2001 as DH was working on his MBA in Healthcare Administration at the University of Colorado at Denver. We were fortunate that Bef was able to join us in Denver for a few days of chaos. When DH finished the program, his parents came out for the graduation and we drove down to Garden of the Gods and the Air Force Base near Colorado Springs.
6. Oahu & Kauai, Hawaii ~ January 1999 - Our first trip to the islands and as you'll soon discover, certainly not the last. We spent a few days in Oahu, touring the island and seeing the Arizona memorial. Then it was off to Kauai for a more relaxing vacation on the southern shore in Poipu.
7. St.Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands ~ June 2000 - Another great tropical vacation... although we learned that we much prefer Hawaii. St. Thomas was so dirty. Rubbish and trash all over the sides of the road. Trash bins and garbage overflowed their recepticals. It took away from the ambiance but we enjoyed the resort ammenities nonetheless. Also memorable because we were able to see a culture with which we were less familiar.
8. Cosanga, Ecuador ~ June 2001 - Located high in the mountains east of Quito, Cosanga is a tiny little community (only one telephone!). As part of an Earthwatch expedition hunting for caterpillars, I spent many hours walking along the roads and trails of the cloud forest looking for frass and other signs of Lepidoptera. What a surreal experience!
9. Maui, Hawaii ~ August 2001 - Our 2nd venture to Hawaii, this time with friends... Bef and Jenni (not a couple, but long-standing friends of ours from high school). This trip will stand in my memory as a time of rebuilding and new beginnings.
10. New Orleans, Louisiana ~ In October of 2001, the ASHP mid-year convention was held in New Orleans and I was fortunate to be able to join DH for the trip. While he attended seminars, I visited several of the area attractions including a Plantation Tour, Mardi Gras World, and a Swamp Tour. I knew DH wouldn't want to miss the swamp tour - so on our last day, we did that together as well. We also enjoyed a four-course meal at Brennan's! It was on this trip that I believe our daughter was conceived. :)
11. Big Island, Hawaii ~ February 2003 - One of our most memorable trips to Hawaii. Bef and Bar joined us for a little tropical getaway. Our princess was just 5 months old. We saw the lava flow, pteroglyphs, and sea turtles everywhere! We even hiked out to green sands beach!
12. North Eastern States ~ A 14 day worldwind tour of NY, PA, NJ, CT, MA, NH, and ME with DH's parents and our 1 year old daughter in October of 2003 (just one week before we moved to Central Oregon). This was an incredible trip! We saw as much as we could in the short time we were there. Unfortuately - there were things we missed and of course, other things we wish we hadn't bothered. I loved the history of the area and look forward to returning when my children begin to learn of our nation's history. As a former 5th grade teacher - I love learning about the Revolution.
13. Kauai, Hawaii ~ Have you discovered a pattern? We love Hawaii! This time (May 2006), we returned to our favorite island with Bef and both our children (ages: 15 months and nearly 4 years). It was a great vacation and we all built many memories to cherish forever (snorkeling, kayaking around the NaPali coast, helicopter tour, the waterfalls, sand castles, surf football, running around the golf course, the morning breakfast buffet, chit chat on the lanai, swimming in the pool, the princess trying octopus for the first time, finding Foamie.... ). Good times.
Other noteworthy travels include multiple trips to British Columbia (Whistler, Victoria and Vancouver); Pasadena, California (NASA Teacher Workshop at JPL); St.Louis, Missouri and San Diego, California (NSTA Conventions); Las Vegas, Nevada (twice); Reno (as a child - I vividly remember touring the Bonanza TV set); San Francisco, California; Disneyland (Anaheim, California); DisneyWorld (Florida); and extensive travel throughout the Pacific Northwest (particularly Oregon).
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