Once a year go some place you’ve never been before. ~~ Dalai Lama XIV
My life has seen some major changes in the last 2 1/2 years. Not only did I retire early but I moved here to Las Vegas in September of 2015. Strange in a way, as I had no family here and only a few acquaintances. But I wasn’t deterred, as I was assured of sunny, warm weather and I knew there’d be new friends and experiences just ahead.
Seven months after my move I left for an extended road trip in the spring of 2016. I expected to travel around 7,000 miles and to be away for 40-45 days. A long time certainly to be on the road, but I had plans, lots of them.
In the previous year I’d lost three first cousins. The first came in February of 2015 when Bertha Lee died. Just four days later we unexpectedly lost another cousin, Jackie. Then, 12 months later — again in February — Bertha Lee’s brother Jim passed away. With the passing of my aunt Mary the previous fall, all six of my uncles and two aunts, with all their spouses were gone. Only my generation remains.
I pondered the utter realization of getting old. I was getting old and it’d been many years since I’d last seen my now departed cousins. I wanted, but even more so needed to see those that were still around.
There were extended family members too, second cousins and those more distant. There were friends from high school, and my days in the Air Force as well as a roommate from college. I even had hopes of meeting for only the second time my mother who I never knew, as well as maternal cousins and siblings. “What?”, you say! I’ll have to save that story for another day. Adoption the key word.
My travels included stops in Huntsville, Alabama, then on to the Space Coast of Florida. A days travel north and I was in Chesapeake, Virginia, then Cobb Island and the D.C. suburbs of Maryland. Within a few weeks I was in western Pennsylvania, Clearfield County, my birthplace where nine generations of our family have lived. There I would spend most of my time. Check one off my bucket list as I visited nearby Indiana, Pennsylvania. There I saw the boyhood home of actor Jimmy Stewart and the museum bearing his name. I managed two trips and several weeks in Thomasville with Gettysburg nearby. Twice I visited Akron, Ohio and managed a couple of trips to New Hudson, Michigan.
To say the least, I accomplished nearly everything I’d hoped to, save for just a few. The only thing I hadn’t expected… I was gone, not for 45 days, but for 5 1/2 months. I would travel more than 14,400 miles. Along the way I posted a number of blogs, produced a few videos, even created a new YouTube channel. My final stop was an afternoon at Hoover Dam not far from Las Vegas. A lot of it shared on Facebook.
But that was more than a year ago and now another year 2017 has come to an end. After this past summer in southern Utah and continuing the Dalai Lama’s challenge to visit at least one new place every year I checked the Grand Canyon off my bucket list. With a nephew we visited several National Parks. With five National Parks and other National Monuments alone, there is no other place on earth like Utah, no place.
Another bucket list item was checked off when I played in — not just one — but two World Series of Poker events, thanks to friends who shared in the cost as well as the agony of defeat (no cashes)!
Then in the fall, after several years of contemplation and promises, I finally launched a new genealogy website. As history has a tendency to swallow up the ordinary folks it’s my lot in life to see it doesn’t happen to my not so ordinary family.
Finally, December marked a new release of me, version 6.5! Even with the latest updates it’s hard to believe so many years have breezed by. Christmas and New Years finally came and went. So, we press-on and now a week into 2018 there are hopes of something new, something exciting just ahead.
No New Year’s resolutions for me, statistically they’re a losing proposition. But, you can be sure I’ll be taking stabs at that bucket list. Maybe a trip to Tombstone, Arizona or to Monument Valley. Mysterious Area 51 is nearby where I hope to be held for questioning. And then there’s always tournament poker with visions of a five or even six figure win!
Someone once said, “Having dreams is what makes life tolerable.”
Happy New Year to one and all. May 2018 be all you hope it to be!
My YouTube Channel: Ravenswood Films
My Genealogy Website: Clearfield Descendants