They say hard work pays off. Folks, it’s true. Hard work does pay off. At work, I have been a driving force behind our GetWell:)Network utilization in our department. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s something I believe in and know our patients benefit from. In 2014, the hospital sent me to Get Connected in Chicago – the official conference of the GetWell:)Network. It was the best conference I’ve ever attended. We toured a children’s hospital, played with new technology, networked with other hospitals, and we were well fed. (Very, very well fed.)
I came back from the conference on a mission to work harder on this initiative. And I did just that. With some begging and relentless e-mails, I am going to Philadelphia in May for Get Connected 2016. To say I am excited is a complete understatement.
This is what I’ve looked like since they approved for me to go:
I have never been to the east coast, so I’ve turned the 3-day conference into a 10-day event. While I still have to plan my second half of the trip, it has been so much fun playing on travel sites to see what I want to do while I’m there.
While it’s exciting to be planning a trip to somewhere I’ve never been, it’s reminding me of all the places I’ve traveled. The places I would love to go back to again. Someday. Here are a few of those place.
My 8 Favorite Travel Destinations
(#1) Seattle, Washington
What can I say? I love the rain. I love the water. I love Pike Place. It’s a great city. Dinner at the top of the Space Needle is an experience unlike anything else I’ve ever done. Anywhere. Watching the window washers suspended from harnesses while we revolved around the top took my breath away. The EMP Music Museum is a must. And, of course, there is no shortage of Starbucks.
(#2) Ketchikan, Alaska
I should just put the entire state of Alaska as one of my favorite travel destinations. When I lived on Prince of Wales Island, Ketchikan was the closest city to find a <gag> Walmart. When someone was heading over on the ferry, they’d often have a list of things to pick up for the islanders. While most of my travels through Ketchikan involved waiting for the next ferry or flight, I was able to make a few trips over to do sightseeing. Creek Street is always a great destination to travel back to historic Alaska. My younger sisters came up to Alaska to drive back with me when I moved home. They were still in high school at the time and the shower curtain in one of the brothels was a hot topic for the car ride. A shower curtain maid of condoms isn’t something you see everyday.
(#3) Taormina, Italy
I’m not going to sugarcoat this — I was a bloody mess of a human being when I was in Italy back in 2010. I can’t say I would go back to Rome, but I would consider Taormina. It lacked the tourism of Rome. Rome was too busy and hectic, but I found Taormina to be stunning. The views, the cobblestone streets, being surrounded by water and having Mount Etna in the skyline. It was beautiful. Now that I am no longer a bloody mess of a human being, perhaps I should consider going back to truly enjoy it.
(#4) Nashville, Tennessee
I was raised on country music, so Nashville has to be on this list. Any bar you walk into is going to have good music. The Ryman Auditorium and Grand Ole Opry are never disappointing. My favorite spot in Nashville is Hatch Show Print — a letterpress print shop started in 1879. Last time I was in Nashville, I saw Mary Chapin Carpenter at the Ryman Auditorium. The day after the show I was able to purchase a show poster from the shop. It’s now beautifully framed with the concert ticket.
While I have been to The Wildhorse Saloon, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Parthenon, and a bunch of other places, I need to go back. The Bluebird Cafe is next on my to do list when I make my next visit.
(#5) British Columbia | Alberta Canada
Driving home from Alaska, we drove from Prince Rupert, B.C. to Prince George, B.C. We must have have been feeling adventurous because we cut down through Jasper National Park to get to Calgary and then landed somewhere in Montana. The views were breathtaking and I would drive this again in a heartbeat. It certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. By breathtaking, I really do mean some of the mountain driving took my breath away. You can rent motorhomes to drive through Canada and we came upon one flipped over with the family sitting under blankets on the side of the road. Proceed with caution, but you will not regret it.
(#6) La Crosse, Wisconsin
Why would I list my current residence as one of my favorite travel destinations? It has to be on this list. I sometimes realize I take for granted living here. I see the Mississippi River whenever I want, incredible views of the bluffs everyday, and plenty of scenic drives to keep me busy every weekend if I wanted. I used to do a lot more exploring when I first moved here. I really need to start doing this again. A few of my favorite travel destinations surrounding La Crosse: The Acoustic Cafe — Winona, MN, Decorah, Iowa, Wyalusing State Park — Prairie Du Chien, WI, Rochester, MN, and Trempealeau, WI. I see a future blog post on the wonders of Southwest Wisconsin coming.
What is not to love about Chicago? Well, besides the traffic. I have been there for various events and a few conferences. With so many dining choices, live music venues, and sights to see, I feel like my trips to the windy city haven’t been enough. Every time I’m there, I find something new and wonderful to love about Chicago. Like the West Egg Cafe and the Old Town School of Folk Music where I saw my favorite singer/songwriter, Lori McKenna. It’s a beautiful venue I highly recommend to music lovers.
I also had the privilege of touring Lurie’s Children’s Hospital and decided if a job opportunity presented itself, I’d move in a heartbeat. But, the traffic…
(#8) Three Lakes, Wisconsin
I have to include Three Lakes. The wonderful women in my life began a Craft Weekend tradition every November. We stay at the Northernaire Resort and spend four days working on crafty things. It is my favorite weekend I look forward to all year long. The drive is gorgeous — especially when the snow comes. The Three Lakes Winery (I recommend Black Cab) and The Open Armoire are my two personal favorite spots to visit.
Much like my blog posts about my favorite music, it is a struggle to narrow down my favorite places. There are more places I need to see. Next on the list — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Then, maybe Ireland? I should consider a second job, though.