National Parks Passport


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…






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