Places to Go

One of the many things that I enjoy doing when I have a little bit of free time is fire up the Photos application on the notebook and look at the Places view. This plots the photos containing geographic data on a map and groups them in such a way that a person can see where they spend most of their time. Of course there's little surprise that most pictures are captured in and around the home, but there are occasionally some interesting memories that can arise by looking at some of the smaller collections. Today, while having lunch, I decided to do just this.

Footprints Across Japan

Geo-tagging is something that I've generally avoided for a number of years due to some extreme bouts of paranoia1, but this doesn't mean it's impossible to see where I've been over the last dozen years. Heck, I'll even occasionally invest some time into adding a semi-accurate set of coordinates on a picture if it's an important one just so that the photo can appear as part of a pin on the map view. This accomplishes a couple of things:

  1. I get to see where I've been
  2. I get to see were I've brought family
  3. I get to see where we might want to explore in the future

The family and I will be making the trek to Tokyo Disney in a couple of weeks, a place that both Reiko and I have been to2. Along the way we might just stop by at some interesting places inside Tokyo Station or another train station. Depending on how the boy is feeling, we might even visit a zoo one day rather than Disney. As odd as it may seem, I'm looking forward to seeing the places outside the pricey resort just as much as the places within the hallowed gates. New locations offer new opportunities.

As the boy gets older, one of my goals will be to visit all 47 prefectures of Japan as well as some of the nearby countries that are generally friendly to tourists3. However, looking at the places I've been in the last 12 years, it's clear to see that there's a whole lot of the world left to explore. This does raise a question: what would be the most effective way for two middle-aged parents to see more of the world with a young child in tow?

Footprints Across the Northern Hemisphere

The boy needs to see first hand that the planet is large, full of interesting people, and with lots of fascinating places. When I was young, my parents would take the family on a road trip to the east coast of Canada or to some other far flung destination several hundred kilometres from home. These trips instilled in me an appreciation for the vastness of Canada. Japan is nowhere near as large as the province I grew up in, let alone the rest of the North American country, but it's a fascinating place with an unimaginable number of things to experience. Extend this out to the entire world, and a person can spend their whole life travelling, from birth to death, and never see everything.

What I hope to do over the coming years is bring the family to a number of prefectures that we've not yet visited as well as spend some time in South Korea. So long as these trips work out, one of the crazy goals I'd like to plan for is a two-month4 road trip across the US and Canada with stops in a number of the big cities as well as a number of small ones along the way. We'd start on the west coast and drive right over to the east coast, exploring the sights, smells, sounds, and culture of each region along the way. After North America, maybe something can be set up to explore parts of Africa or South America.

The older I get, the less interested I become in spending my days in front of a computer to solve other people's problems … even though it pays well.

  1. My paranoia is something I'm attempting to control to a certain extent. I still don't trust a lot of software or corporate entities, but I'm not quite as careful as Richard Stallman when it comes to staying outside the reach of white-collar spies.

  2. The first time we went to Disney was a couple of months after marriage. That trip didn't turn out. We went again in 2010 the day before Nozomi joined the family. We haven't been back since.

  3. No visits to North Korea or China, it seems. Canadians are particularly unwelcome in the larger of those two nations.

  4. Minimum. Two months at a minimum.