I have never been one to act my age. Surprised? I thought not. I do not dress my age (as I type this I look down at the symbol for the Greatest American Hero on my red t-shirt and still think it is cool that most people have no idea what it stands for). I do not speak my age (dude…). But with my immaturity comes a love of learning new things which might not appeal to the “adults” in the room. When something pops up on TV that I am unfamiliar with or when I read a passage in a book and my eyes land on a word that I do not know the meaning of… I pull out my handy iPhone and Google that shit. Sometimes I will spend more attention on the data I am looking up than the item that stoked the curiosity in the first place. In short, I am ok with learning new things, being curious, outwardly showing my excitement when I am amazed by cool stuff and like when I find like-minded people.
Rewind to 2010, when I was working for an adventure resort along the New River Gorge. I loved to talk to random guests, find out where they hail from and a little bit about their back story. It was on one of these occasions that I met a boy (maybe nine-ish) who was over-the-moon excited about getting a New River Gorge stamp in his “passport”. When I asked him about his passport, he pulled out his little book and opened it to pages of stamps that did, indeed, look like passport stamps. Looking closer, I saw that the stamps were from major parks around the United States. I told him I was extremely jealous of his travels. We talked a little about his favorites and his “bucket list” of parks. I walked away from that conversation thinking that NPS struck some pure genius with that one and that his parents did parenting right…
I never had an opportunity to find my own passport until this summer when Bobby and I visited the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park in Ohio. We were in the gift shop of the Wright Brother’s Cycle Shop museum. I picked up a passport like the one I saw all those years ago and showed it to Bobby. I told him I had wanted one for a few years and he urged me to buy it. So I did.
My first stamp:
That it was a stamp for the Parachute Museum tickles me (tickled Bobby too). So, let the adventures begin. My future travels will include destinations or routes that swing past National Parks that I have not yet visited (or received a stamp from). I have a couple of blogs in the hopper that I am catching up on (another surprise, right?). You will see the Passport being a common theme throughout.
It is a great year to pick up a Passport or to visit a National Park. Why, you ask? Because it is the Centennial of the National Parks System! PBS put together a great series on National Parks. You can find it here: The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.
To the kid sitting on the bench who took the time to show me his cool NPS Passport – thanks! I wish I could run into him again so I could show him my stamps…
Do you have a Passport? Which park is on your “bucket list”? Tell me about it…
Categories: Travel - Adventure - Sketchy Circus