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Far, far away

I was talking to some friends the other day and we were discussing locations of places we wanted to go eat. I suggested a place and was immediately shot down because it was too far away from though, even though it was near me. Apparently 20 minutes away is too far. They then suggested someplace that was a lot closer to them because it was more convenient for them. Never mind that it was going to take me 30 minutes to get there.

I’ve discovered this a lot in the DC metro area. Due to traffic, everyone wants to find a job that is either 1) extremely close to them or 2) telecommute. You basically don’t want to leave your bubble because then you end up having an hour plus commute thanks to traffic. If you are one of the lucky few that can find a place near you, you basically never want to go anywhere because you don’t have to and you’re not used to driving places. It’s really interesting how some people have lived in this area for DECADES and have never really traveled into DC or even explored the area around them. Heck I know people who’ve never crossed state lines ever and we’re RIGHT next to Maryland AND West Virginia (and vice versa)!

On the other hand, if you DO have a slightly long commute, while it can get really frustrating being STUCK in traffic, you find that distance isn’t really a big deal. You don’t mind driving places because as long as you’re moving, hey it’s shorter than your commute! It also helps if you like exploring. A lot of neighborhoods and cities in this area have it so that technically you could find everything you want within 5 miles around you.

Not for me. I like to explore. I think it’s because growing up, our family didn’t go to many places for vacation. If we ever traveled it was to visit family for reunions or because someone got married. Even then, not counting two trips to Malaysia, the furthest we ever went was to Michigan and it was strictly for the family get together and not for any sightseeing. Heck, my parents live about 25 miles from the beach and in the 27 years they’ve lived there, they’ve never once been.

I realize that some people don’t like getting out of their comfort zone. Also once you have a family, I know it’s harder to travel even if it’s somewhere just half an hour away. Since I’m just by myself, it’s usually easier for me to come to someone vs forcing them to come out to me. I don’t mind so much though it can get a bit frustrating when I do suggest something and all I hear are complaints.

I chalk this all up to comfort zone and priorities. Right now, I’m in explore mode. And I’ll enjoy making distance seem not so far away as long as I can.

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Random Thoughts about Traveling

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I was gone on a business trip last week. I don’t get to travel that much so even though it was just to Akron, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I do enjoy getting away and seeing new things. Ironically though the most difficult part about traveling for me is the planning beforehand.

I know that’s weird coming from me, the person that likes to make sure everything is planned out beforehand. But I actually get really stressed out when planning for trips. It’s one of the few things that I’d rather someone else handle and I just go along with the flow. Even packing is way too stressful for me. What if I forget something? What if I lose my luggage? What if I didn’t bring the right kind of clothes?

Plane rides and airports can be fun. I take advantage of those cookies that are offered on Delta flights and free sodas? Woo! And thank the Lord for charge stations in the airport because my phone likes to suck the battery dry when I travel plus free WiFi makes a four hour delay go a lot faster. I got stuck in the “expedited” security check point which was supposed to go faster because it meant I didn’t have to take off my shoes or take out my laptop. But really, it made everything slower because most people choose not to read the signs that say you don’t have to do this. To make up for this, I was given that awesome in flight safety video that Delta now has out.

Some folks don’t like sleeping on unfamiliar beds. With me, I say bring it on. Any bed is basically going to be better than what I sleep on now so I pass out as soon I get on the hotel bed. Plus there are always a billion pillows which is never a bad thing.

I also get excited about discovering new places to eat at when I travel. I can understand going to grab a quick meal at a nationwide chain if you’re in a hurry. But if you have time to spare, why on earth would you go eat at places you can visit at home when you can try something new? Unless, of course you’re one of those kinds of people who hate trying new things and are picky eaters. As for me, I love to try out new things, even though admittedly I always get a bit nervous because I don’t like it when it’s obvious I’m not one of the locals when ordering.

Seeing new sights is always fun. Even if it’s just a local museum of what the town you’re in is famous for. There’s no shame in doing the big touristy things especially if you’ve never been in that city before. Just because everyone does it doesn’t mean it’s not cool if you go see it too.

As dorky as this sounds, one of my favorite things about traveling to new places is being able to check in on them on Foursquare. This is the best time to rack up points and get badges especially if none of your friends has been to those locations. It’s also a really good way for me to keep track of everywhere I’ve been.

So that’s all that went through my head as I traveled this past week. Hopefully I’ll get to do it again soon. Anyone up for a road trip?