Selected Excerpts from Chapter 11 - Your Five Miles Moves With You

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It may seem to be an odd application, but the principle of local travel adventures can be used when doing distant travel. Once you’ve made the leap of a long distance trip, staying put and exploring your destination can be a delightful alternative to spending all day migrating from tourist trap to tourist trap. You’ve already made the commitment of a 12-hour car ride, you’ve already decided to lose a day of your vacation on either end, so you might as well make the most of your destination. With a little research, some quick planning and an open mind, you can potentially let your car sit and your battery drain the entire time you are away.

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After many years of taking our annual trip to Vermont, it dawned on me that we never really bothered to explore. Our trips revolved around visiting, and eating the gourmet meals that Grandma loves to cook. My in-laws had a Vermont Gazetteer book (a detailed map book that highlights outdoor activities) so we sat down and looked at what was within a few mile drive of our area. The results were surprising: The Appalachian Trail with a swinging bridge over a gorge, cliff overlooks, covered bridges, waterfalls, gem deposits, ski lifts that allowed summertime hikes on the top of mountain peaks, horse back trail rides and of course, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. The next trip up to Vermont we mapped out a week of local adventures with an outing planned for each day. None of the outings were more than a short drive from Grandma and Grandpa’s house, but all were rich experiences fit for a travel documentary.

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One of the more delightful aspects of my delightful job is working with the Naval Academy. Although I was never in the military, I deeply respect and appreciate all they do. Over the years I have done a variety of mentoring or guest lecturing at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. As may seem obvious from the previous chapters, Annapolis is one of my favorite places in the world and to get paid to drive over there and work with the young men and women midshipmen is a joy. It is hard not to get used to fit, well-dressed, students calling me “Sir.” I tell my co-workers back at the office that I’m getting to like that and suggest they follow that example. That suggestion hasn’t gone over very well.


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