It’s sometimes funny to think that most everywhere in the world has a board of tourism and some form of budget to advertise “Come here! Be amazed by what we have!” I can remember seeing billboards for Montana (Wyoming?) in LA (Dallas?) last spring. Growing up in Utah I’m familiar with both states, and they’re both beautiful in their own way. Even Wyoming needs PR. My mom did an amazing job of taking my sister and me everywhere west of Colorado when we were young via road trip, she had a way of making seemingly lame places (South Dakota anyone?) really cool. The fact that she pulled it all off with nothing more than AAA guidebooks and maps makes it even more impressive.
Going to Wyoming or Montana when you live in Utah isn’t that big of a stretch, we were never without camping gear from the day I was born and my sister and I were built for road trips and roughing it. But how do you convince someone from a big city or the east coast to give all these less fancy middle states a chance? It’s not exactly an easy flight into most of them and after driving almost coast to coast several times I can tell you it’s certainly an experience. (Nebraska goes on FOR.EV.ER.) Here’s the thing about Wyoming (and Montana, Idaho and all those other ones most people have on the bottom of their “to visit” lists) if you’re not familiar with that type of landscape? It’s going to blow you away with its unique beauty.
But there’s something to seeing a landscape or landmark you’ve never seen for the first time when you’re an adult, I think it sticks with you more. You’ve had your entire life to build it up and imagine what it must be like in your mind. My first time in New York I caught a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. “Holy cow! That looks just like the Statue of Liberty!” Then it clicked “That is THE Statue of Liberty.” Whoa. Moments later disappointment set in that it was so small. Apparently when you build up a national landmark in your head for 25 years the size grows right along with your adult perspective. Growing up the closest I *ever* came to NYC was New York, New York in Vegas — which, nope.
I’d give just about anything to show my Michigan born best friend the mountains I grew up in, to let her smell the mountain air I grew up with. One of my earliest traveling memories is a road trip to southern Utah, I was really mad there was no water in the Grand Canyon and ticked there were no dead horses at Dead Horse Point. (I was six? Maybe seven?)
I can remember the first time I saw completely flat land with nary a hill or knoll in sight at 22. I can remember my first time surrounded by corn fields, my first 360° sunset in the Midwest and the first time I stepped foot onto a New York City street in 2006. Even though I didn’t appreciate it the way I should have, I am grateful for everything I was able to see as a kid, and maybe it’s what helped me appreciate all the firsts I’ve seen in adulthood.
My family still has a lot of travel firsts ahead of us. I’m most excited to take Cody to San Francisco, myself to New Orleans and Vivi to Disneyland. Addie? Well my dream was to take her to New York city, and it was absolutely everything and more than I ever could have imagined. I’d love to take my entire family camping just about anywhere with mountains and low humidity.
So what firsts do you remember? Do you feel as though you appreciate them more in your adult years than you did as a child?
And how about a trip to Wyoming or Montana, would you be interested?