Blog 1809 – 09.06.2020
In early 1970, over fifty years ago, on my Uncle Sam’s dime, I had the privilege of visiting, if ever so briefly, the state of Hawaii, on my way to complete a tour in the then combat zone of South Vietnam. The Pan American charted flight that I was on with approximately two hundred and seventy other jungle fatigue clad soldiers made a two hour stop for fuel at The International Honolulu Airport also known as The Daniel K. Inouye Airport. It was the furthest I had ever flown or been away from home, but not for long as the next leg of the journey to Guam and the one after to Long Bien, South Vietnam were even longer and further away, actually half a world away.
Several years ago now I accomplished a personal goal of actually having been in all fifty states of the United States of America. I am writing this morning again from Texas, the state where I have spent by far the most of my almost seventy years and where both of my children were born. These last eight years as a contract welding, pipeline, and gas utility inspector I have traveled and seen more of this great country than I ever hoped to as a boy of ten writing back and forth to my dad’s sister Sybil who was then living in Honolulu with her two children, Michael and Karen, and her career Marine husband, Charles, who was stationed there.
While on a visit with us in Chattanooga, my aunt had told me that she would write to me when they got settled in Hawaii and that if I would write her back we could be pen pals. I did answer that first letter and a couple of years worth of others. My aunt’s descriptions of Hawaii helped spark my imagination and I began to see myself, too, as a world traveler. At that time in my life I was shy and introverted to a fault and not just figuratively but quite literally. My mom thinking it would help me loose my death grip on her apron strings encouraged me to become a Boy Scout and camping with the scouts was the first time I ever spent a night a way from her, my family, and home. Little did I know then how many days and nights that I would spend on my own, away.
I started streaming yesterday a new TV series on Netflix called “Away.” It stars Hilary Swank as the commander of a five person international crew of astronauts on their way to establish the first base on the planet Mars. Seven episodes in, I can tell you that the show is going to be about all the things that could go wrong on such a journey and the way the crew on the ship, the far larger support crew on earth, and the astronauts families all pulling together are going to overcome every trouble and difficulty and make their three year away mission a success.
Ticking off the list of my travels so far to fifty states, eleven other countries, including six different Canadian provinces, does little to communicate how fortunate I feel, glad and grateful, for all my traveling adventures. Most of these now over 1800 blogs I have signed off, “Your friend and fellow traveler, David White.” We are friends and even family and travelers all even those of you whose countries I have yet to visit or you mine. We are travelers too, even those of us yet to leave farm, village, town, or city to see the wider world. We are all of us crew mates on a big blue star ship hurling and spinning through space at mind boggling speed. Earth speed at the equator is roughly one thousand miles per hour and even at that great speed it still takes three hundred sixty five and one quarter days to make one elliptical lap around our star, the sun. We were born to be friends and born to be travelers. Some believe we only get so many laps around the sun and only live once, I do not, but just in case they are right I intend to continue seeing as much as I can this go round.
I had thought about selling my little house on wheels on the prairie, currently in storage while I wait out the COVID-19 viruses slow down of my work. I am confident I will receive a new travel work assignment soon. I have had my eye on another travel trailer, but decided to use the money I had put aside to buy it to pay bills during this the longest period I have ever been off work. So many others have and are making tougher choices to get by. Hey, here’s hoping we are all working again soon. Maybe when we are I will start saving for a shiny Airstream for crisscrossing the country in my dreams. I believe the best dreams still do come true. How about you?
I confess I am itching to get out and on the road again as Willie Nelson sings, “Making music with my friends, I can’t wait to get on the road again.”
Your friend and fellow traveler,
A Whole New World