For some strange reason, perhaps it’s the onset of middle age, but I-- quite suddenly, practically out of the blue--have developed a yen to travel.
I mean I always said I’d travel. For example when I was working for an insurance company, I used to sit next to a woman from Haiti, who told me she would teach me to speak French, which put into my head the idea to visit Paris. I can honestly say it was simply an item on my “I’ll do this before I die” list because I had no desire to seriously pursue this goal. Back then I was more than content to re-read Shay Youngblood’s Black Girl in Paris. Like the line in the movie Namesake I wanted to travel without moving an inch.
Now I think about traveling all of the time and it’s the topic of many of my recent internet searches. This desire is quite new and unexpected. The only other time I’ve felt a similar way was when I was about 25 and I believed that I deserved a nice vacation away from New York. However, that yearning was a desire for a reward or treat for hard work. Fifteen years later, I actually want to explore. To—as cliché as this may sound—expand my horizons.
I know it’s not the best time to think about traveling, after all we’re experiencing the worst recession in decades. As an alternative, I decided to discover new places right here in Brooklyn. I logged onto www.visitbrooklyn.org with the intention of turning my thoughts into an article. After looking at descriptions of upcoming film festivals and performances, I realized immediately that New York City is a unique entity in that this is a tourist destination. I’ve lived here for close to 17 years and have still not explored all of it. So my situation is much different than someone who is living in say my hometown Coatesville, which is located in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Discovering interesting hidden treasures in a town with a population of less than 15,000 may be a little more challenging than a thriving metropolis that is brimming with museums and other attractions.
The good news is that everyone is online now. And you can find anything, even new things to do in Chester County. I go home to Pennsylvania a few times a year, and when I visit I mainly go to the malls, restaurants and shopping centers—the kinds of places I grew up frequenting. As I stated previously, the goal of traveling is to expand your horizons, not do the same old, same old. So I went to a Pennsylvania tourism website to see what else I might do and I discovered something quite interesting. Chester County has quite a few historical covered bridges. Prior to making this discovery, I had no interest in covered bridges. Then again I also had no interest in tree-lined pathways until I fell in love with the brick walkways along Brooklyn’s Cadman Plaza which reminded me of the connecting, tree-lined walkways and courtyards of my alma mater, Penn State. Sometimes you never know for sure if you’ll like something until you try it on for size.
I looked at a number of photos of covered bridges until I was drawn to one called Larking CB, which was built in 1871. While this small covered bridge in Marsh Creek State Park may seem to pale in comparison to the majesty of the Brooklyn Bridge, it’s no less intriguing. Like Kennedy Fraser once said, even the most ordinary life is a mystery, if you look close enough. I apply the same philosophy to places.
So as I’m lining up my itinerary for the next time I go to Pennsylvania, my little covered bridge will be a must see destination.