This past weekend marks thirteen months since the last time I set foot on an airplane. One of my favorite parts about my profession is and always will be the opportunity to travel. I’ve been missing it a lot lately.
The preview image in this blog post was taken on an airplane about a decade ago. While I don’t have the exact date since the metadata is missing, I can tell you it is sometime in the early 2010s because I’m using a Windows laptop. (I’ve been using a Mac since around 2012.)
It feels like a lifetime ago.
So, in order to preoccupy my mind with the possibility of future travel opportunities, I took the time to explore the benchmarks in my life’s travel history so far. Here’s what I found.
4 out of 7 continents. I’ve been lucky to see a decent amount of the planet, but there will always be more. I’ve never set foot in Africa (likely), Antarctica (unlikely), nor Australia (most likely). I happen to know that two of the three remaining continents have pop culture events, so who knows?
14 countries. I’ve been to a decent number of countries without having ever done the “backpack through Europe” thing. The farthest I’ve been from home is Japan which is over 7,000 miles away. (NOTE: the furthest point from where I am puts me in the ocean west of Australia.) There’s still plenty more to see. The shortest time I’ve ever spend in a country? I had a two hour layover in Denmark.
29 out of 50 states. I grew up loving road trips and have driven from Florida to California more than once. However, I’ve apparently missed passing though/checking out about 40% of the United States.
43 Hard Rock Cafe locations. This is a touristy hobby that started in my twenties. My late father and I somehow wound up both eating at the same Hard Rock Cafe in Washington, DC over a the course of a couple of years, but never together and always at different times. During these random visits we both wound up getting to know the manager: a woman named Duran. Every time one of us would leave, we’d tell her to say hi to the other if they showed up and it happened enough times to be a thing. Thus, I started collecting Hard Rock Cafe pins and putting them on the inside of my 1988 Firebird. Visiting Hard Rock Cafes is now how my wife and I mark our travels by buying a teddy bear at the locations we see together. To date, she has 40 bears total. Of the locations we have been to, five have closed permanently and the original locations of some of the others have moved to different buildings.
48 Man v. Food locations. This particular adventure started because I love good and interesting food when I travel. Since the show started again with a new host a few years ago, there’s a fresh crop of places to check out in some cities I’ve already been to.
4 out of 63 National Parks. I have recently noticed more and more friends and relatives making this a thing over the past few years. The drive to do so seemed to become more popular last year due to the pandemic since a National Park is a great place to be socially distant outdoors. Interestingly enough, three of the parks are in Florida and I haven’t been to any one them.