The skewed perspective of a conservative Catholic employee-side employment lawyer living in the most exciting city in the Milky Way, Las Vegas, Nevada USA, who listens to a lot of really strange music and who, for some reason, lives and dies St. Louis Cardinal baseball

4/14/2005

Vacation 45!

I face a semi-milestone birthday on May 4: my 45th.

It's not such a landmark of a day that I absolutely must be somewhere celebrating that day. That was my attitude as my 40th approached. Back in 2000, I turned 40 at the Happiest Place on Earth - Disneyworld Florida - on vacation with my family - my parents, my sister and my brother-in-law. It was the last "family vacation" we took before my mother past away 10 months after that.

It was a great vacation, but you only turn 40 once. I practice in employment law. So, to me, 40 is when you irrevocably cross over the line into full adulthood: it's when you get federal age discrimination protection. So, when I turned 40, at long last I was in a protected class.

Age 45 is different. As I don't plan on making out of my 80s alive, age 45 is an acknowledgment that my life has passed the midpoint. The uphill climb is over and I'm now on the downslope. That's neither good nor bad, just the way it is. For this reason, 45 is not a milestone birthday, but it is a milestone year.

So the goal is for an accomplishment sometime during my year of 45. I will choose a vacation destination and, sometime before I turn 46, I will visit the place. How to decide? I have chosen 20 places that I have wanted to visit for the longest time, yet for some reason or another have never managed to get near. Some choices are whimsical, some serious. Some are nearby, some are long and expensive trips. Some are spiritual, some are based on my heritage.

There is a reason for each, some more significant than others. Ten are in the US. Ten are international. Here is the list in no particular order:

1. Montevideo, Uruguay
2. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
3. Fatima, Portugal
4. Sitka, Alaska
5. Zagreb, Croatia
6. South Padre Island, Texas
7. The Kona Coast, Hawaii
8. New Madrid, Missouri
9. Medicine Hat, Alberta
10. Belém, Brazil
11. Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho
12. The Pampas, Argentina
13. The Oregon Mystery Spot, Oregon

14. Bangkok, Thailand
15. Vatican City
16. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
17. Colorado Springs, Colorado
18. San Jose, Costa Rica
19. The Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota
20. Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

One only site per country or state. That's why Big Bend National Park in Texas was left off the list, as there was a higher Texas priority. I had some tough decisions, leaving off Easter Island, Chile, and Sydney, Australia. Or trendy Prague. Or the Warren Harding sites in Marion, Ohio. But this is my eclectic list of 20.

Each day, starting on Saturday, April 16, I will pick one destination for elimination, until my birthday, when I will select the place I'm going. Yeah, I know this is a strange way to pick a vacation destination, and it is very strange to put the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota, on equal footing with the Vatican. But this little game is how I will mark my milestone here. You got a better idea?
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