Over the past few years, I have had a few travel firsts:
2009: Fist long-distance road trip, involving Boston, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and upstate New York. Roughly 900 miles of driving.
2012: First visit to the Lone Star State, Texas. My, what a wonderful state to visit.
2012: First combination Canadian flight/long-distance road trip to Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg. Drove from Calgary to Winnipeg, a combined 1100 miles.
2013: First overseas trip, to London and Paris for a convention for the 65th Anniversary of the Motor Bus Society.
2014: First year since 2011 that I had to put many travel plans on hold due to job changes.
Now that I am more settled in at the MTA, I can start making some more travel plans and more blog posts, including this one. Among my tentative travel plans include some places I have visited before along with some new places I am targeting. Note that these plans aren’t definite and some may involve extended weekends, not just vacation weeks, of which I only get two a year.
Tentative list of travel spots:
- Texas. Back to Texas, as if I couldn’t get enough of that barbecue taste, the Texas-sized portions, the fried chicken, the mac and cheese, the fish tacos, tex-mex, and even the country-fried steak. And let’s not forget the humongous DFW Airport, the DART light rail, railroads for miles, and the observation decks that allow for a Texas-sized view of big Texas cities.
- Salt Lake City. Mormon country, yes. But for their transit system, the UTA that mainly serves Greater Salt Lake City but also goes to Orem and Provo. TRAX, MAX, buses, and FrontRunner Commuter Rail, with a view of the mountains which is nothing short of breathtaking. Maybe as good as, if not better than my experiences in Denver and Los Angeles.
- Ecuador. Somewhere tropical, somewhere I have never been before, and somewhere in another hemisphere to compare with the Norther Hemisphere. I have my sights on Quito and/or Guayaquil, but it really doesn’t matter. Oh, and Quito has a trolleybus system, while Guayaquil has a bus rapid transit system.
- Europe. I have my sights on central Europe, such as Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Switzerland. I thoroughly enjoyed my European experience with just London and Paris, but now I want to expand my reach and take in new places. London and Paris will see me again, surely, but I might try something new. With public transport plentiful no matter which cities I choose, I can get around town without the need for a rental car or taxi services. You can converse more easily with English-speaking locals that way. Maybe even learn a new language. I know bits of words in at least 5 different languages, why not try a 6th or 7th?
- Bogota. One word. Transmilenio. Say no more. I know, some parts of that country might not be safe, but I assure you, Bogota is worth a visit if you are looking for a bus rapid transit system that functions much like a subway in a busy, bustling, growing city with an ever increasing standard of living for its people. Lots of buses, lots of bikers, lots of bike lanes and public spaces, almost like New York or any place in Europe. Yet, this is South America. Go figure.
- California. Damn, now I got the theme song for The O.C. stuck in my head. I have this planned for later this year since a few friends and I are going out there to re-acquaint ourselves with a few West Coast buddies and a few transit properties such as MUNI, Los Angeles Metro, and the San Diego Trolley. My last visit out there was back in 2008, while the other guys have been out there several times since then. I need some West Coast sun, Florida is overrated, and Texas doesn’t really have beaches…unless you count those in Galveston and Corpus Christi. But the Pacific Ocean is…wow! It’s been too long.
Hopefully, if everything goes as planned, this should be a busy year, but an enjoyable year.