I need you to understand something.
I love my job.
Since I’m sure you understand now, I’ll get on with this list of things I’d do if I didn’t have to work.
I’d take a trip on a train.
I’m past 30, and the only trains I’ve been on took me around a park. I saw an article a few weeks ago about a coast-to-coast train trip for cheap, and I’ve decided I’d like to ride the rails for a little while.
I’d go get my passport stamped.
The first time I went to visit my sister and brother-in-law up north, their heat went out right after we arrived so we decided to drive to Canada.
That’s right. I went outside of the United States for the first time because the heat went out.
I enjoyed Canada, especially its fondness for doughnuts (Tim Hortons is wonderful) and its side of Niagara Falls.
The people were great, but I didn’t get one blot of ink on my passport.
I’d go on a cruise.
I’ve seen so many pictures of other people’s cruises I’ve decided it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to go take my own. I don’t like the thought of wearing a tie to eat supper, but I could stand it if I got to hang out on some island for a while and maybe swim with some dolphins.
I’d go see the national parks.
I’ve had a little more time to travel in the year or so since the end of my newspaper career, and there are plenty of places to see. I’ve been to a few national parks, but I’ve still got too many unchecked boxes on my list. The last park I got to mark off was the Badlands.
I saw a prairie dog and watched a ram chase a guy, which is more than enough reason to wonder what I’d witness at the rest of them.
I’d visit Normandy.
There is a long list of good stories I got to hear while I was a journalist. It includes one from a D-Day veteran who said he parachuted into Normandy before dawn on June 6, 1944, a little inland from Utah beach, and oriented himself with a Sainte-Mère-Èglise sign.
He went back years later, found the sign and cried.
Since he told me the story, I’ve thought about how special it would be to stand on those beaches and maybe even see the sign.
I’d read some classics.
Mark Twain apparently defined a classic as, “something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.”
I’d like to think I’d read a few just to see what all of the fuss is about.
I’d climb to the top of more lighthouses.
I didn’t think much of lighthouses until I saw a few on a trip, and I didn’t realize what kind of views are at the top of them until I went up myself.
I’d watch some plays.
I’ve seen two professional plays, one of which I watched earlier this year, and enjoyed both. I wouldn’t mind a return trip to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, where I nearly choked to death because of my tie.
I’d fish more.
I’m not sure you can fish enough, but I know I don’t. If I had enough days off, I’d go to a lake somewhere with a bucket of crickets and catch a mess (or a tree).
I’d binge watch the sun set.
The older I get, the more I enjoy sunsets. I’ve even started to like the beach because of them. I’ve seen some pretty fantastic ones when I’ve taken the time to look.
I’ve watched the sky turn red from a break wall on Lake Superior, from a lawn chair on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico and from the rim of the Grand Canyon.
I’d like to see some more sunset sights from far-away places, and I’m old enough to know you get only so many chances.
I’m also old enough to know, work or not, some chances are too good not to take.