A poem about wanderlust:

There are those who like
to look at the stars

they smile and think
of visiting Mars

To them life on
Earth is very mundane
Boring and bland
It's just simply too plain

They don't care if in space
It's too cold and they'll freeze
All they truly want
Is to feel zero G's

They will go into space
And may never come back
But they're happy to know
They were never a hack

If it were up to me
I too would go
Because Earth is just
Too painfully slow

Yankton, South Dakota. This town, and thousands like it, are like dust bunnies on the face of North America. The winds of fate have blown together another cluster of people with their attendant schools, churches, bars, banks, hardware stores, fast food franchises, street lights, and road signs to the next dust bunny down the highway. And like dust bunnies, these towns are unique in their own way. But not that unique. Really, they are all the same. Driving through them gives one a been-there-done-that kind of Deja-Vu-like experience. How individual can people be when after several generations of developing apart, thousands of small towns all look the same.

I wonder why people choose to live with such homogeneity. It seems they grow up in one of these towns, then get a case of wanderlust and leave to see the world. After a few years many come back to settle down and raise their families and the cycle repeats (if their home town doesn't just dry up and vanish). Perhaps when they travel around the midwest they realize that every place is pretty much the same as every other. Then they decide they might as well just settle down and save the gas money.

I'm sure glad I don't live here. I'm just passing through.

I’ve quit jobs before for many reasons. Sometimes it was a step up in the form of salary, sometimes it was due to health issues and sometimes it was just due to just sheer stupidity and youthful indiscretion on my part. This time marks the first time that I’m being asked to leave a position and the terms aren’t up to me.

The beginning of April marks my “end date” for the current job that I’ve held for about eight years. It stings a bit but the severance package is pretty generous. Two months paid “administrative leave” with full benefits and then a lump sum of about four months salary, two weeks for every year I was here. After that, there’s some 401(k) money to fall back on as a last resort.

In the meantime, it’s getting harder and harder to get motivated to come to the office. The temperature has hovered somewhere between zero and ten degrees in the morning and the thought of climbing out of my nice warm bed and scraping the frost of my car isn’t very appealing. The older I get, the more by bones seem to creak and make popping sounds that seem to come out of nowhere.

In addition, I’ve become somewhat of a pariah around the office. I’m not included in meetings or planning sessions for those who are remaining with the company and those that were chosen to go with the new one have their own business to attend to. Eschewing a couple of divorces, it’s one of the few times I can recall feeling like I’ve been stuck out in limbo.

So what’s one to do with all this free time that will soon become available?

I’ve been giving that some thought lately and have tentatively decided that it’s about time that I discovered my own backyard. I want to find those hidden gems that dot the American landscape and aren't found in the brochures you would find at a travel agency. I’m not talking about theme parks or amusement parks where you have to stand in line for hours and pay top dollar for a thirty second thrill. I’m too old for that shit.

I don’t want to find myself trapped with other tourists in some big city and stuck in some fancy schmancy hotel. For the most part, I’ve lived in one for better part of my life. I don’t want to be part of some organized cruise where the activities are planned out for you and you have to stick to some kind of itinerary like you were in the military. I don’t want to be part of a “group” that goes somewhere just because they can get a better price or rate based on their numbers.

I know this must sound romantic or even trite but right now I just want to be able to come and go as I please. After nearly thirty five years of dancing to the tune that corporate America was playing, I think I’ve earned it.

At this stage of my life I want something more permanent, more tranquil and more satisfying. I just can’t seem to put my finger on where or what that is. As far as I know, you can’t find a destination called “there” anywhere on a map but “there” is where I’m trying to go.

So I need your help. I’m open to suggestions from any of our users who might have had a similar experience or just some new ideas and can help me find my way to what lies off the beaten path and the beauty and the wonder that it holds.

I want something to take my breath away.

Who knows? I just might send you a postcard.

Peace to one and all,


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