Growing up, I was always on the move. Before I was born, my parents had a goal of seeing every baseball park in the Major Leagues. When I came along, their goal changed to taking me to all 50 states before I turned 13. Every summer, we would drive to some state far away so we could pick up all the States on the way.
When I was 5, I was on a plane to Hawaii. I got plane sick because my father smoked, and the smoking section of the plane made me sick. Thankfully, smoking has since been banned on planes. I don’t remember too much, other than being obsessed with Diamond Head and the sheer beauty of Kauai.
When I was 6, it was the obligatory trip to Disney World. MICKEY AND MINNIE! We also went down to the Everglades and Miami, where I was fascinated with all the Spanish. I would have to learn this language one day! Then it was on to Key West, stopping at Hemingway’s house. At the time, I was fascinated by the cats. An older me wishes I could remember more than the cats, as I am fascinated by Hemingway’s writings and life.
When I was 7, we drove to Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone, stopping too briefly in Idaho, before returning on I-94 through Montana and North Dakota. We even found a way to pick up Iowa on the way back. I remember a Twins game at the new Dome in Minneapolis and excitement at seeing the Mississippi. I also remember going to the caves near Mt. Rushmore where General Hospital went on-location and looking for Kristina Malandro’s (now Wanger) signature on the cast list.
When I was 8, we flew to California. Los Angeles and San Francisco. My mom was made we couldn’t find a way to pick up San Diego and Tiajuana so she could say she had been to Mexico. The future Spanish speaker in me regrets it now, but at the time, I regretted not going to the zoo. But I was too excited about Disney LAND. In Hollywood, I was looking for the New Kids on the Block star. I don’t even know if they had one. It was the NKOTB summer for sure. We saw the crack from the ’89 Earthquake at Candlestick Park and drove through a redwood. We apparently were in San Francisco at the same time as Pride. I had no clue what gay meant at the time. That might have been my only pride in the States, but I have been to Pride in Madrid so there.
When I was 9, it was New England and up to Maine. I still hate lobster and seafood. Plymouth Rock was disappointing. I fell in a river in Vermont. And I got to go to NEW YORK CITY. It was torture waiting in line to climb the Statue of Liberty. We missed Boston proper and Philadelphia due to my parents’ unjust and unfair and wrong opinions of these cities.
When I was 10, we hit 48 States as we drove out to the Grand Canyon. On that trip, I repeated Indiana, Illinois and Tennesse and added Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas to my list. I wasn’t allowed in any casino in Vegas. Many of these States I would like to repeat, and I hope one day to return to drive on Route 66, as at 10, I couldn’t personally drive the portion that we were on.
The last two States, Washington and Alaska, came when I was 12. I instantly fell in love with Seattle and vowed to move there one day. I currently live in the Seattle of Spain, Bilbao, where the constant downpour makes Seattle appear to be in desert conditions, I swear. Seattle remains my favourite city in the States. Alaska is amazingly beautiful, and being 12, I was at an age where I could appreciate it and old enough to remember. I recently devoured “Into the Wild” and envy Alex Supertramp (except for the getting sick and dying part, of course.)
I was raised to travel. In addition to all these summer vacations, my mom took me down to see her family in Kentucky several times a year, and we drove all over Ohio to visit the most interesting monuments (or what the guide books tried to make look interesting.) As the Spanish say, I’m a restless butt (Soy culo inquieto). I have to see everything and experience everything.
This blog will help me remember some of my best travels and record the new ones. Would I like to become rich and famous from it? Well…who wouldn’t? However, I’m writing for me. If someone comes along and enjoys my writing, well, fantastic. I plan to write more about the off-the-beaten-path places in Spain (seriously, there is more to Spain than Madrid, Barcelona and Seville, and flamenco is not that popular north of Andalucía, folks.)
When I moved to Spain, I had the goal of seeing all 17 autonomous communities. Now I am working on the provinces (I have 5 or 6 left. It depends if we want to include Albacete, cagate y vete, where I have set foot on a bus rest stop of 20 minutes.)
And as to the name, it originally came from the Fleetwood Mac song “Seven Wonders”. It is Catalán for “Seven Wonders”. I figure, why not write about the 7 wonders of each Spanish comunidad along the way?
I will also include other travels outside Spain from time to time as they happen or as I want to remember them. However, you never know treasures are lurking in your own back yard.
What are your earliest travel memories?