Saturday, September 26, 2009

Weekend Assignment #286: Far Away

This Weekend Assignment is even later than usual, but I was so tired last night that I couldn't face it. What the heck, nobody does these until the weekend's over anyway. Here we go:

Weekend Assignment: #286: What is the #1 place you'd like to visit that you haven't been to yet? Do you think it's likely that you'll ever get there?

Extra Credit: What is the farthest place from home that you've ever been?

Despite the photo above, I've never been to Africa. If you look closely, you can jut about make out that the truck is labeled "Lion Country Safari." I took this picture in Florida in 1986, during our "big trip," three and a half months of roaming the U.S. and Canada. It was fantastic. We got as far west as Los Angeles, as far north as Montreal, as far south as the Florida Keys. Later that year, in November, we went to England: London, Liverpool on our Beatles pilgrimage, and a day trip to Stonehenge. I may have done that last one by myself.

But growing up, oh, how I longed to go much farther than that! I read Born Free and its sequels, and a rather more disturbing book to my fifth grade sensibilities called The Lion. I repeatedly borrowed a large illustrated compendium called Mammals from the school library, and learned all sorts of interesting things about lemurs and okapi and the platypus. The only really successful project I attempted in junior high art class was an Australia travel poster with a koala on it. Someday, somehow, I was going to visit Kenya and Australia. Other places too, but those were the main ones that I'd never seen outside of books and television.

I have no idea why Lion Country Safari had this Australian native.

All these years later, Australia is still interesting to me, largely because of all those marsupials. But when I was a travel agent, I won a book about New Zealand, and also arranged a big trip for a client to both countries. That's what I'd like to do: see the kangaroos and such, Ayers Rock and the Great Barrier Reef, and then go on to see beautiful New Zealand with its sheep ranches and Middle Earth shooting locations.

Apparently I rose an elephant in 1986. I think it was an Indian Elephant.

As for Africa, I'm still interested in going there, too, but no longer consider Kenya the sole country of interest. I gather that Tanzania is at least as important to the survival of all those magnificent mammals I used to ogle in books. Much of the continent suffers from poverty, disease and political instability, but tourism seems to bolster the economies of the countries lucky enough to still have cool animals in their parks and preserves. I think such tourism disqualifies you from giving blood, but that probably wouldn't stop me.

Other places I'd like to go include Maui and the Big Island in Hawaii, Greece, and maybe some Biblical places if the people of that part of the world ever learn to get along with each other. My current boss is in Ireland right now, and that's another place I'd love to see, along with pretty much every other place in the British Isles, whether I've already been there or not. But I think if I had to pick just one country I've never been to and go there, I'd must likely go to, um, well, maybe Tanzania. But it's a close call.

Will I ever make it to any of these fabulous places? I'm beginning to have my doubts. But if we ever manage to miraculously get out of debt with lots of money in the bank, I'll visit them all.

And where is the farthest I've been? I would have guessed Oahu, on our two-day drive-through visit, but Honolulu is only 2968 miles from Tucson. If I remember correctly, the three week package tour of Europe my mom took the family on in 1972 got as far east as Salzburg, Austria, which is 4087 miles from Manlius, NY where I lived at the time. If we only got as far as Innsbruck, that's still 4041 miles. So there's your answer.

How about you? What is your greatest travel ambition? Start thinking about that while I present the recap of last week's two responses. For Weekend Assignment #285: Lost and Found, I asked about things you've lost.

Florinda went with something most people are glad to lose, not so glad to find:

Just about six years ago, my sister and I joined Weight Watchers together. She'd recently had her second baby. I had no similar excuse for the gradual packing on of pounds that had sent my weight to the highest it had ever been (well in excess of my peak weight during my own pregnancy nearly twenty years earlier). I embraced the Weight Watchers Points Plan, and within six months - not long before my 40th birthday - I had successfully shed 25 pounds.

Mike made a terrible discovery one night after walking the dog:

Anyway, it was a cold and snowy January (maybe February) night. Jenn and I had just gotten home from a dinner at Chevy's and I just come in from taking our puppy, Cosmo, out. I noticed something was different as soon as I took my gloves off. May hand, more specifically my left hand, felt weird. The usual rubbing of the wedding ring on my pinky wasn't there.
So, have you thought about where you'd like to travel? Here are the guidelines if you'd like to participate in the Weekend Assignment:
  1. Please post your entry no later than Friday, October 2nd at 6 PM. (You can also post your response in the comments thread, but a blog entry is better. )
  2. Please mention the Weekend Assignment in your blog post, and include a link back to this entry.
  3. Please come back here after you've posted, and leave a link to your entry in the comments below.
  4. Visiting other participants' entries is strongly encouraged!
  5. I'm always looking for topic ideas. Please email me at mavarin2 on if there's a Weekend Assignment theme you'd like to see. If I use your idea, you will be credited as that week's "guest professor."
Coming up before the weekend is out: my EMPS entry, and I still haven't told you about of Bat Night!



barrettmanor said...

I wrote something! And it's still the weekend! Did someplace just freeze over? ;-)

Florinda said...

As usual, it's well past the weekend, but my response is up.

Mike said...

Hope I'm not too late!