A sense of adventure
Did you ever feel like doing something adventurous in your life that is different from your normal routine? I certainly welcome a change from the daily grind and whenever I have the opportunity to do something exciting and adventurous I feel a sense of freedom and a renewed spirit. It is like a breath of fresh air and it is very important to challenge yourself and to find something that interests you and takes you to another place and gives you insight and a new perspective. I realize we all have to find our way and we all kind of settle into our typical routine usually centered around our work and our family.
We are pretty much defined by our work and it is a major part of our identity and a source for our livelihood so we can provide for our family. We also know that as much as we need to work we also need to spend time with our loved ones and to plan to have a getaway from time to time. When we raise a family and we work for a living we need to be attentive to our daily responsibilities and we kind of put our need to explore with a sense of adventure to the side never really experiencing such pursuits. Life is supposed to have balance for us to have a brighter mental outlook and a healthy view and a sense of well being. It is also essential and a much needed break. This is why family vacations are so important and necessary and we all need to schedule at least one or two a year. Even day trips are a fun way to enjoy an outing with family and friends.
If time and money was not an issue I would plan the longest combined car and bike trip with my family where we would go from state to state experiencing all the small towns, villages, parks, trails, beaches, cities, ball parks, museums, theatres, restaurants and people. I always enjoyed riding my bicycle on designated trails and taking long car drives. The ultimate experience would be a cross country drive from New York heading west to California and taking in the many bike trails along the way. I have heard of individuals riding across America on bicycle and others who have driven their car throughout the country heading out west through the many states along the way experiencing the beautiful sites and places. The majesty of our country calls us to do such an exciting journey. Oh to be young again and to have a free spirit in addition to a serious side is what our life should be about. We just need to balance the two so we don't get caught up in the routine demands placed on us as we take on more responsibility.
When I was in my mid 20's to mid 30's before I married I was more free spirited and would travel places on the spur of the moment. I was responsible in my career and knew I had to make a living so I could one day marry and raise a family which was something I place a great deal of importance on. I was planning for marriage and family but was shy so I had more opportunity to travel with friends and on occasion by myself. I remember some pretty exciting trips I made during those years. I had visited the beautiful state of Florida with a good college friend in 1989 going to Orlando and visiting all the Disney parks. It was very exciting and I enjoyed the company. The one thing I wished we had was more time off so we could have driven down from New York. Since we only had 1 week vacation we had no choice but to fly down. I was hoping at some point that I would have the opportunity to drive down I-95 straight to Florida sometime.
In 1990 the year my mom passed away I was 29 years old and at a cross roads in my life and I was trying to be strong emotionally to help support my dad through this most difficult time. When it was time to take a vacation week my college friend and I headed out west to California where we spent a week between San Diego, Anaheim and Los Angeles. It was a wonderful week and it helped me get away from the sadness I felt after losing my mom. I knew my dad was ok and he wanted me to have a good time and I knew my mom would have wanted me to go as well. We obviously flew out there and it seemed the week was over before we knew it since we were having such a great time. I really enjoyed the southern California lifestyle and the places we visited. I got to see a Dodger game and saw Mickey mouse in Disneyland. We also went to the world famous San Diego Zoo and Seaworld.
I remember the very first time driving down to Virginia back in 1981 with my parents when I was going to Virginia Tech to study Engineering. It was a great and exciting time and I was very fond of the drive as it took nearly 10 hours to get to the campus from Long Island. I never driven that far in my life before so I thought it was really cool going there to school. I fell in love with the campus, the people, the community, the school, the town of Blacksburg, the drive, the challenges an engineering major encounters and the state of Virginia and knew I would make it down there many times in my lifetime.
After graduating college and starting on my career path I now started planning for the future and for some exciting trips to make. One of my earliest vacations after graduating college was driving up to Montreal, Canada and spending a week with my college buddy exploring the city and taking a speedboat ride on the St Lawrence water way. It was truly incredible and I learned quickly why we were given raincoats to wear on the boat. I even got to make use of the high school and college french I took which was fun and made me appreciate my teachers for providing me with the interest to learn and use the language which is a beautiful one.
Two trips I made that were very important to me were the drives I made with my dad. One was in 1992 with him and a work friend. It was the first trip I made with my dad in the wake of mom's death. We drove to Washington DC, Williamsburg, Virginia and Virginia Beach. It was a great opportunity for both my dad and I to bond and my friend was very respectful and had an enjoyable time with us. We drove down and spent the week and did a great deal of walking especially in Washington, DC and Colonial Williamsburg. We enjoyed the Vietnam Memorial, the Smithsonian, the Sea, Air and Space museum, the battle fields of Virginia and the beach.
Another trip my dad and I made was a drive down to Spartansburg, South Carolina to visit his sister June and her family. It was around the Christmas holiday season. I remember the trip was on the heels of the LIRR shooting tragedy of December 7, 1993. We left within a few days following that tragedy. It was a major topic of conversation when we visited our family relatives. Despite that tragedy we did have an enjoyable trip and it was great to bond with my dad and see him having such a great time with his sister, June. I remember she had the most amazing porcelain doll collection and she had the cutest Christmas tree and the coziest little house. We enjoyed her taking us around for a drive in the neighborhood and seeing the most spectacular Christmas light shows. It was a very gratifying trip as it brought me closer to my dad and it was wonderful to see him and his sister together again after so many years.
The hardest thing I had to deal with aside from my mom's death was attending the funeral of one of my work friend's baby daughter. She was a month shy of her second birthday and she succumbed to her seizure disorder. I was in tears seeing her baby pictures and her parent's pride and heartbreak and the little white coffin that held her tiny body. She was a little angel and I just felt so heartbroken that this poor little girl had to die so young. I could sense how much her parents loved her and could not even imagine how difficult this was for them to go through. I was so devastated that I had to plan to get away and see Disney world and dedicate the trip to this poor little baby girl who would never have the chance. I drove the distance from Long Island to Orlando in 22 hours and spent a full week there enjoying the magic and splendor and it helped to lift my spirit after experiencing such a sad day for my friend and his family.
I had always loved baseball and long car drives and knew the San Francisco Giants were playing at home at Candlestick Park. It was 1994 and I wanted to fly out to Los Angeles and drive the Pacific Coast Highway from San Diego to Los Angeles to San Francisco. It was one of the most exciting trips I made even though I went alone. I had spent 2 days in San Diego visiting Balboa Park and Jack Murphy stadium where the Padres had a scheduled game. I always enjoy visiting at the major league ball parks. I then went to Anaheim to catch an Angels game and spend a day at Disneyland. From there I went to Los Angeles and visited Redondo Beach and the campus of UCLA. I spent 2 days there and then drove to San Francisco to catch a game at the Stick and spend a day in the city before driving back to Los Angeles to drop off the car and head home from LAX.
The last trips I made before I married were vastly different. The first trip was with two work friends and we drove down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 1996 to play golf and swim at the beaches. I never played golf before but I loved learning the game and being out on the greens chasing the golf ball. It was very relaxing and I managed to develop some new skills.
The second trip I made was a Contiki tour to Europe. I never traveled so far and the only time I spent out of the country before that was a Club Med trip to St. Lucia which was very enjoyable and several trips to Montreal, Quebec and Toronto. I met a new friend through a church bulletin ad looking for a travel companion. I called him to learn more about the trip and he convinced me to go. It was 10 days traveling through England, Scotland and Wales and it was one of the most exciting trips I made. I met so many wonderful people traveling from all over the world and it was fun filled days each and every day. By the time it started to the time we had to say goodbye I felt I knew these people my whole life. They were Rob from Manhasset, Robert from Vancouver, BC; Suriati and Hadijah, cousins from Singapore; Carlie and Steve, friends from Australia, Yoko from Japan; Mary from Germany; Angelo from Brazil and Julianne from Buffalo Grove, Illinois among many others. I was sad to have to say goodbye after spending so many wonderful days with the group.
When I came back from the trip I felt great and ready to start a new chapter in my life and that was when I soon met my future wife Maria. We since have married, we have a wonderful son and we enjoy travelling and doing things as only a family can do. It is much nicer now having a family of my own and doing things together. I will leave room for another writing to chronicle our family trips. Our honeymoon trip was to Orlando, Florida in September 1998 and we flew down for a wonderful and magical week. I look forward to taking my wife, son and his grandma down soon to celebrate the magic as a family. It will be our son's first and his grandma's as well.
One trip I will never forget was our family vacation to Los Angeles, CA in early September 2001. Matthew was only 2 years old and we flew there for a week. We went to visit my wife's friend and family and visited the beaches and Disneyland. We had a wonderful time and it was nice to be away. The trip there and back were a concern since our son was flying for the first time. It was fine though as he slept well going there. It was a bit difficult on the way back but he managed and it felt good to have gone there and to be back home again. Within a week of being home we saw the reports of the terrorist attacks in New York at the World Trade Center and in Washington, DC at the Pentagon and we were in a state of shock as those flights were California bound trips. Since that fateful day I have been a bit more fearful in flying and more sad for realizing that no matter how beautiful life is it is filled with sadness and tragedy as well.
We must always remember that life is to be lived and enjoyed and our family must always come first. We will work to provide for our family but we must also enjoy the time with our family because we will not have those precious days forever as it may seem. They are gone in a flash. So it is best to spend the time with our family now when we can.
Until the next trip!
Edward D. Iannielli III
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