One of the things Chris and I frequently remarked on while we were travelling, especially when in New Zealand, is that we wondered how many of these cool funky little towns and off-the-beaten-path parks and hikes were in our own backyard. How many of them do we miss because we were so busy travelling around to "bigger and better" places in the US and around the world? The oft repeated question made us soon resolve to take our "traveller's eyes" back to Washington and try to experience our own home turf the way tourists like us experience the Puget Sound. And by like us I do no mean the ones who flock to the Space Needle and buy T-shirts with the skyline emblazoned on it down at the shops on the waterfront. We've even toyed with the idea of limiting ourselves to Washington and perhaps southern B.C. for a year. A move in part necessitated by our now decimated pocketbook and perhaps a desire to balance our monstrous flying footprint this year. But it is also a challenge to really discover the gems of Washington, many of which we are well aware of but never make the time to experience.
So I'm trying out my new "traveller's eyes" on Omaha, Nebraska. My hometown was another casualty of my desire to always go someplace "bigger and better." I came home my first summer after college, but after that I was always going someplace else. Even holidays succumbed. More than once I had a Thanksgiving meal in Omaha and then would drive overnight for a weekend sailing regatta in Chicago. Now distance and the cost of a flight means I see Omaha once, maybe twice a year. And now, every time I go home, I find myself thinking, "This is a pretty cool place." So driven by a desire to spend more time with my parents and to reacquaint myself with my hometown, I've chosen to spend a month here before I work my way back to Seattle.
I have to say I have been blown away by what I have experienced so far. I beginning to gain an appreciation for the sense of place I have here. And for just how much this flat, hot and at times oppressively humid bit of prairie is such an engrained part of me. I think no matter how long I live in the Northwest, there is always going to be a part of me that sees an open expanse of cornfield, and the slow green undulation of the land along the Missouri and will breathe a long sigh of, "I'm home." It's the part that has an endless fascination with grass. The part that prefers grasslands and deciduous trees (especially cottonwoods), small towns and grain elevators, to dense evergreen forests and clear mountain streams. Don't get me wrong, there is another vocal part of me that is pretty ticked I haven't been skiing for 368 days, but for now that part will just have to let the Nebraska part have her due.
I have lots of "travel thoughts" I would like to post, but for now, in interest of keeping this post a reasonable length, I will save them for another time. Omaha, a travel destination. Who knew?