Selected Excerpts from Chapter 1 - The Reluctant Homebody

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Using the handy on-line power of Google Maps driving directions, I put in our home address and then picked random towns that seemed about an hour drive away. By trying different small towns, I tuned each trip to as close to one hour as I could. Using my home as the center point, I slowly began to create a strange, ameba shaped, series of dots on the map. Each dot was exactly a one hour drive from my house. The more dots I made, the more excited I got... When I had points completely around my house, I connected them in a rambling shape the defined every place that I could go with an hour or less of driving.

I stepped back and stared in amazement. Within one hour of my house were four states and the District of Columbia. Three major cities, D.C., Baltimore and Annapolis, were all within easy reach. I began to imagine all that was within the area I had drawn: Civil War battlefields, museums, theatres, countless restaurants, parks, farms, the Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac River, Harperís Ferry, Lancaster, innumerable historical sights, on and on and on. As I stood staring at that simple sketch, I realized that I could easily spend my entire life exploring the ameba shaped part of the Earth around my home, and not even come close to seeing it all. I then began to think of all the people who come to the Washington D.C. area on vacation, the sailors who view Annapolis as Mecca, and the sports fans who travel to this area to scream themselves hoarse at the various stadiums. I no longer felt overwhelmed by not being able to travel, I felt overwhelmed by all the things to see and do by not traveling.

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Basic geometry dictates that area increases in proportion to the square of the radius. A five mile radius covers about 78.5 square miles which is 50,265 acres. Increase that radius to six miles and you now have 113 square miles or 72,382 acres to explore. That means that you donít have to venture much farther from home to dramatically increase the amount of area to explore. Increase that to an hour drive at 60 miles per hour and you have 11,310 square miles or 7,238,229 acres to discover. There is so much that can be experienced within the range of an hour drive, or a day trip, that an entire lifetime would be inadequate to see it all.


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