Where have you been?

Summer implies a few things for me. One of them is fireflies. I LOVE fireflies. I understand how they work and all, but I swear that’s still like magic to me. Another would be anything and everything outdoors. From cookouts to swimming, running, or just lounging with friends in the late evening and watching the afore-mentioned fireflies. The final thing that always comes to mind when summer is mentioned is vacations! Every since I was a little kid, even if it was just a weekend at a water park resort, my family would always get away for a little while for some relaxation and excitement. And I think that’s true for most people.

The older I’ve gotten, the more attention I pay to where I go and what I do. I find myself not wanting to repeat the same place or activity twice, because there’s so much to do! And I love collecting trinkets from my various excursions, always something location-specific, like a shot glass from Las Vegas, Nevada, or a t-shirt from Venice Beach, California. Recently, upon deciding that I’d like to set a goal of visiting all fifty of our amazing states in my lifetime, the idea of collecting state-shaped lapel pins from each conquered state has been decided upon.

I almost wish I’d started this a long time ago so I could start from scratch and start building a map on a cork board or something. It’s a great idea for parents to do for their children when they’re young to not only help them remember the good times they had on vacation, but to start teaching them geography. And also, like me, to give them the bug to keep travelling and exploring. Putting up a big blank map in front of a cork board and slowly filling it with state-shaped lapel pins can show them where they’ve been, and where they need to go yet.

And education aside, it’s just a neat conversation piece when you have friends over, for them to check out your map and start conversations about what you saw when you were in, say, Idaho, and when you plan on going to Washington state. Also cool is giving these lapel pins to friends or family as a way of letting them know that they’re invited on your next excursion.

It’s a great big world out there, and in the summer, the urge to go starts to kick up in me. So I just take a look at the map, and pick a state without any lapel pins on it, and start packing.

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