Greetings from Boise, Idaho! I am 350 miles down the road from where I was yesterday, on the way to the RVing Women’s convention in Oklahoma City. Tomorrow I will tour Boise before heading to Salt Lake City, which leads me to wonder: When is it reasonable to consider a place “seen” and “done?” Can a location ever really be scratched off a “to do” list?
You see them on RVs everywhere – decal maps of North America with peel-and-stick states and provinces to populate the skeleton as you roll along. Many RVers glue them to the side of a slideout, which can be seen only when the slide is open. Camping World sells the map, and it is very popular with children.
In lieu of a decal map, I hung a small canvas of the United States above the bed in Nellie. I considered push pins or self-adhesive stars to indicate that I visited a state. But, what does “visited” mean?
This is not the first time I have been to Idaho. When I was in law school at Gonzaga we frequented Coeur D’Alene, which was across the border from Spokane. I went to Sandpoint for a summer concert, where I’ll never forget seeing the Count Basie Orchestra, and Ben Stein walking on the beach. (“Bueller!”) My boyfriend and I went to Wallace for a getaway weekend. I toured the Lewiston/Clarkson area with my adopted Washington family, and we took a speed boat down the Snake River. And, while I have never visited Boise per se, I have certainly been through the airport on layovers. (By the way, it really bugs me when people say they have visited a city, when all they did was sit in its airport. Nope! Try again!)
When I leave Boise on Sunday, can I affix a foil star to Idaho on the canvas above the bed?
I don’t even consider Oregon “done.” I have seen a lot of it, having lived just to the north for the last 20 or so years, but I do not deem it “completed.” I have never been to Astoria. I have not attended the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. I have yet to visit the Oregon Coast.
It is so typical of us Americans to obsessively banish things and experiences to our rearview mirrors. Check! Another item off the bucket list! A friend recently returned from a trip abroad, stating she would never need to go back because she had been there. I, on the other hand, am bereft after each vacation, feeling I saw so little and wanting to return, but reluctantly accepting that there is only so much time and many places to see.
I know for certain that I will not consider Utah to be “done” simply by visiting Salt Lake City. To the south are many places I want to visit, including Bryce Canyon, Arches, and Moab. I also feel pretty positive that I will mark Kansas off the list after visiting only Wichita! (Sorry, Kansas folk.)
What about you? Do you ever feel that you have fully seen a place or location? Or, was there a particular experience which made you feel you never wanted to return?