I have been fortunate enough to have had opportunities to travel all over the country since living in Oklahoma. Being in the middle of the country is certainly a challenge at times, but a challenge that provides a significant volume of benefits, including being close to pretty much everything.
Tulsa, Oklahoma – I have visited Tulsa on three separate occasions. The first time was shortly after I moved here in late summer 2011, to visit a friend from my undergrad who was placed in Tulsa for Teach for America. The second time was in Spring 2012 for a concert, and the third was in Early 2013 to see Jon Acuff speak, after which I got lunch with my friend.
Louisville, Kentucky – the 2012 ACPA conference was in Louisville. This was my first professional conference, and a ton of fun. It was a great opportunity to hang out with classmates, make new connections and learn so much about the actual practice of content I had been studying in my classes.
Atlanta, Georgia – I drove to Atlanta with most of my bible study for Passion 2012. Passion is a conference led by Louis Giglio. It was amazing to see Francis Chan, John Piper and a ton of other amazing speakers, as well as Hillsong United, David Crowder Band and Lecrae perform.
The Grand Canyon – On a whim, I turned a bit off course while driving home during Summer 2012 and drove up to the Grand Canyon. I am so glad I did! It was absolutely wonderful to see this immense hole in the ground. I sat and enjoyed the view for awhile, took some pictures and returned to my drive.
Las Vegas, Nevada – For a place that has so much prestige, it kinda sucks. First, it’s terrible to walk in. It was windy the day I was there. And it was crowded with people, stairways led to pathways over the streets (instead of crosswalks) and there was smoke everywhere.
Riverside, Iowa – On my drive across county to my internship during Summer 2012, I decided to take a slight detour off Route 80, and visit the future birthplace of Captain Kirk. I did not actually get out of my car in Riverside, because apparently nothing is open there after 6pm. Perhaps that is why James Kirk took to the stars?
Chicago, Illinois – The next major stop on my drive across the country was the beautiful city of Chicago. I drove in at night, drove around in confusion for awhile, then drove out to find a hotel. I returned the next morning and got to see the Cloudgate Sculpture, eat Chicago pizza, explore an art museum and drink coffee while sitting outside and reading.
New York City, New York – During my summer internship in Summer 2012, I was in upstate New York, and took a bus down to the city, where I stayed at a hostel with a friend who flew up from Virginia. It was so cool to see places I have dreamed of since I was young, but so strange to realize that while I dream of fitting in there, I really do not.
Arlington, Texas – I got to go to Arlington for a regional conference. While we did not do a whole lot of tourism, it was cool to see the gigantic Dallas Cowboys stadium, and the Rangers stadium. I really enjoyed the conference – it was my first presentation opportunity as a grad student – and I learned and grew a lot from the overall experience.
Portland, Oregon – visiting Portland for winter 2012/2013 with the twins made me realize what my dream is – to live in Portland! Sure, it is hipster paradise. But I am a bit of a hipster. Being in Portland reminded me of how much I love the west coast, it reminded me of what is important in my life and what I want to do over the next few years.
Seattle, Washington – I went to Seattle for a weekend in early February to help my aunt who lives there celebrate her birthday. In a weird way, I have grown up in Seattle. Not that I have been there a significant amount growing up, or that I am any closer to it than any other cities, but I have always been in Seattle at significant points in my life. This visit cemented my desire to live in the Pacific Northwest.
Orlando, Florida – I went to Orlando to interview for jobs at The Placement Exchange, and to attend NASPA. I made a side trip to Universal Studios and got to visit Harry Potter land, which was pretty awesome. It was great to connect and reconnect with a number of colleagues over the course of the two conferences.