a waterfall at Yellowstone
(First order of business: I’ve been interview by my wonderful blogging friend, Tuesdai! Click here to read the interview.)
One of my friends has a list of things she wants to do and places she wants to go before she dies. She made a photo album on Facebook to keep track of the things she has done. Every time she checks off something on her (pretty long) list, she takes a picture of herself doing the thing or a picture of herself at the place, and uploads it to Facebook. Some of those things might be as simple as learning how to ride a bike, eating a certain kind of food, or as “hard” as visiting a different country or paddling across the Atlantic.
I like the way she thinks. It may sound morbid to some, rather like a bucket list, but considering how short life is, why not? We’re so busy these days doing the things we’re “supposed” to be doing, like keeping food on the table and making sure the kids get straight A’s. Not that those are bad things at all. What’s worse is if we purposely fill our lives with hectic stuff just to keep ourselves busy and doing things just because it feels weird and wrong not to be always busy and doing things.
There’s a certain joy to be found in going somewhere one has never gone before. Or for once, doing the one thing one has always, always wanted to do but didn’t believe she would get a chance to.
along Yellowstone river, in the park
So I’ve made my own list of the places I want to visit at some point during my existence. While these are only five places, the possibilities are infinite.
1. Yellowstone National Park. I’ve never been out west that far. And of course, the whole deal about how inspiring nature is. Absolutely gorgeous waterfalls, hiking trails, beautiful scenery, weird trees, rivers, and fuzzy bears. Don’t forget Old Faithful, which I do want to see.
While writing this post, I was curious as to the origins of Yellowstone National Park. According to the Yellowstone National Park’s site, Lewis and Clark were the first white people to explore such a region. Among them was celebrated hunter and woodsman John Colter. When he came back and told others what he had seen, they thought he was crazy. Eventually, miners tried to publicize the reason, to not much success. It wasn’t until the later 1800′s that an official trip was organized, armed with photographers and painters. They collected important data, which they presented to the public and Congress. A bill was then organized, with the intention to preserve this area for future generations to enjoy.
After convincing their colleagues that this region held extreme value in its natural state, the bill was passed into law. Yellowstone became the first national park in the world.
One of the earlier visitors, Charles Cook, said,
“I sat there in amazement, while my companions came up, and after that, it seemed to me it was 5 minutes before anyone spoke. Language is inadequate to convey a just conception of the grandeur and sublimity of this masterpiece of nature’s handiwork” Artist Point - Charles Cook 1869 (bolding mine)
2. Tokyo, Japan. I’m really not sure why I’m so fascinated with this city. I have never set foot in Japan, except for some flybys while on my way to Taiwan.
Once my parents got a tape from the library about Japan and the only thing I remember where the shots of the city, with the people walking shoulder to shoulder downtown. Just… fascinating.
3. Grand Canyon.
4. New York City. I recently visited New York City a few months ago during spring break. My great-uncle, Hilo Chen, is an artist based in New York City, and he had his first art exhibit in a relatively long period of time. He invited my family, and we decided to head up there for a day to look at his exhibit and catch up. More for the prospect of seeing long-lost relatives than the paintings, since my great-uncle’s specialty is nudes, especially at the beach. He is amazingly good at drawing such details as water droplets beading on a woman’s thighs. The texture of swimsuit fabric. A woman reclining on a beach towel while small figures in the distance play in the water. I am still rather uncomfortable with someone’s larger than life-sized boobies staring at me in the face, though.
It was my first time visiting New York City. I wasn’t prepared for how big it was. Providence seemed so dinky in comparison, with only four buildings that I think are too short to qualify for skyscrapers.
My great-uncle’s art exhibit was in one of those buildings. I’d never met him, and he reminded me so much of my grandfather, his brother, that I liked him at once. My mother went through the usually pleasantries, in Chinese, of course. The only thing I understood was that my two younger sisters were taller and bigger than me and my 10 year old brother was the spitting image of my father.
In the afternoon, we left the exhibit and went to Central Park. A group of street musicians were playing jazz. I also saw a creepy clown guy who had painted himself with gold paint. I don’t like clowns, least of all those who paint themselves with gold.
We ended the visit with a trip to a Chinese buffet. What’s not to love about all-you-can-eat?
This picture is like a postcard
Clowns or no clowns, I’d like to visit there again. And hopefully see more of the city.
5. London, England. A friend of mine was blessed with the opportunity to study at Oxford University in England for the equivalent of two semesters. Over there, she studied in trimesters: three semester type like things, except shorter, with about a month in between. She used those in-between times to sight see: places like Rome, Paris, England of course, and Scotland. I was rather jealous, looking at her photo albums, but I believe I’ll get my chance someday.
What are some places you’ve always wanted to visit?
Trees on Yellowstone River
All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.