Column: Julie Seedorf, Something About Nothing
I have been given a hard task this week. Someone challenged me to write about the 10 favorite places I have visited. It was a hard assignment. I didn’t realize it but I tend to not have favorite places. Or at least I didn’t pay attention to places as being my favorite.
I put my thinking cap on, as much as this blonde can think, and my thoughts kept going to one of my favorite books, “Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral” by Kris Radish. After Annie dies she sends her ashes to her friends in a red shoe. They don’t know each other but they are to gather for a journey to distribute her ashes in her favorite places. I always liked that idea. If I left those instructions for my family, where would my favorite places be? I didn’t know what direction I would send them.
I am not a world traveler. I haven’t been to Europe or South America. I have made it to Canada. Some might say that I have missed out if I haven’t traveled abroad. I don’t feel that way. Actually I am not a big traveler. I am perfectly content to vacation at home with a good book and no phones. My family did travel when I was a child and a teenager. I continued to travel as a young adult, and once I was married we took vacations as a family. I have been in 32 states.
I grew up in a time where second and third cousins were valued family. Families visited families including distant cousins. We had family in many states. By the time I was 19, I had visited southern California six times, New York five times and hit the other states in between. As a kid I loved southern California. What more can be said about movie stars, beaches, amusement parks and warm weather. I was very into city life. My younger years are also the time that I experienced most of the other states.
As I made my list I realized that although once I was into city life most of my favorite places centered around serene settings. Here is my list starting at 10 ending with my favorite place.
10. Beatles Concert at Met Stadium – It was a long time ago but memories of a teenager are awesome.
9. Pikes Peak — It took my breath away literally. Have you tried to breathe at this height?
8. Universal parking lot at midnight — Dodging coyotes to get to our vehicle was fun.
7. Grandma Young’s grove at the farm — Playing cowboys and Indians with my cousins and spear fishing carp in the creek which we pronounced as crick. There was something about standing in mud in the creek and the cow pies in the grove that made favorite memories.
6. Uncle’s home in the mountains of northern California — At the time I was bored but now I remember looking across the peaceful valley and thinking it was a piece of heaven.
5. Door County Wisconsin — Peaceful setting, lazy days and of course Door County Coffee.
4. Superior Shores at Two Harbors — Waves lapping against the shore, bonfires on the beach and reading by the fireplace. A perfect setting for pretending you are in a Richard Gere lost love movie.
3. Camping by the Animas River in Colorado — Pouring rain for three days, campfires and beautiful scenery always made me feel like I was at home in Colorado.
2. Los Angeles — I love the smell of the hot pavement, the squishy sand of the beach and lapping waves of the ocean. I loved the excitement of Hollywood and the theme parks. The smell of the ocean was so cleansing after smelling the smog.
1. Anywhere my children and grandchildren are — The words children and grandchildren say it all.
That is my list. I think I have yet to find the journey I want to send my family and friends on with my ashes that are placed in my favorite coffee cup.
My list isn’t too exciting. There are places I love to visit. I don’t get too excited about places. I get more excited about people. I suspect all of these places are among my favorites not because of where they are or what they are but because of whom I experienced these places with.
“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” — Tim Cahill