Can you remember every place you’ve ever been in the world? Not only the places where you’ve spent time doing something for more than a few hours? Can you remember the airports you’ve flown through, the expressways you’ve driven on or the states (in the United States) and countries you’ve passed through one way or another?
I’m sure some of my dreams reflect remnants of the places I’ve been and some things I’ve done. Nothing that nightmares are made of, of course, since I haven’t had any nightmares since I was very young. What I’m going to try to do is to tie this all in with the memories of places like San Diego, California, and the other places I mentioned when I wrote about my bucket list.
I’ve driven and flown to specific cities in the United States and I’ve crossed the country by both car and plane at least four times. When I was in the military, I drove from Arizona to North Carolina along Interstates 17 and 40. The states I passed through in between those cities were New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee. I took the reverse trip four years later.
In between those two trips, I flew from North Carolina to California and back again a few months prior to and in preparation of Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf in 1991. It was an operation I participated in as well, stopping in Maine on the way back. I also visited friends of the family, driving from North Carolina to New Jersey and back again, passing through Virginia.
I made several trips to Nevada (Las Vegas and Laughlin) while I was stationed in Phoenix, Arizona, and one trip to Las Vegas while I was stationed in Barstow, California. Only the last trip wasn’t work-related.
After I retired from the military, I drove to Fort Sill, Oklahoma (twice), to watch both of my sons graduate from Army basic training more than a decade apart from each other (Jon, my younger son, is still in the Army). I drove to Colorado and back while my older son was in the Army and months before he was sent to Iraq.
Florida was the first state I returned to while visiting from the Philippines. I flew through California, Texas and Georgia airports along the way. I flew from Florida to Maryland to visit a relative for about three weeks, and was shown Washington, DC (it was too cold for me to do much of anything there). My older son, Joe, and his family took me through Alabama into Mississippi and Louisiana.
While I was stationed in San Diego, California, I visited Tijuana, Mexico, twice. While I was stationed in Yuma, Arizona, I visited San Luis, Mexico, but only once.
I met my wife, Josie, while deployed from Hawaii to the Far East aboard a Navy ship. During that deployment, I visited the countries of the Philippines (twice), Hong Kong (before it given back to China), Singapore, Thailand (I stayed on the ship because I was sick) and Kenya. I also spent time off the coast of Lebanon after the ship was ordered there, traveling through the Suez Canal.
I flew from North Carolina to Saudi Arabia prior to Operation Desert Storm and returned after it was all over. The only other country I remember stopping in during the return was Ireland. I can’t remember what borders I crossed while I was in Saudi Arabia. I’m surprised I remember anything from nearly 30 years ago but I know I didn’t cross over into Iraq.