There are places I’ll remember… with love, with regret, and some with resolute acceptance. Initially this post was to be about the Xs on the map where I’ve lived. But as I planned out the post in my head, I realized I was mainly bitching about all the apartments I lived in with my X back in the Jurassic because he was such a skinflint and insisted on moving every time the rent was raised a few dollars, as well as bitching about the “vacations” he planned early on in our relationship in which he would just show up at a friend’s house across the country, unannounced, and expect to be able to stay with them for a week, or longer! It was beyond embarrassing.
Instead of focusing on places I’ve rented, places I’ve owned, and places I’ve crashed on the floor. I decided to, for today’s “X” post, for the A to Z challenge, focus on a happy, forward-looking aspect of Xs on the Map. My initial tagline on Women’s Legacy Project was Live Your Legacy Now! I still believe this. Keep adding to your story! Think of this as future personal history.
Xs To Put on the Map
The Xs I intend to put on the map by the time I am 75 include:
- Orkney Islands
Having lived in the Sonoran desert for going on 35 years, I’m tired of heat. And just for the record, it is not always a dry heat.
I was married here on a mountain, Mount Lemmon, in mid-June in a mountaintop meadow at around 9,000 ft altitude. It was over 80° F. on the mountaintop. Down in the valley where Tucson sits, it reached 117°F that day (officially 113 at the Tucson airport). It hit 120°F in Phoenix that day and Sky Harbor Airport had to shut down, but not for the reason you may have heard. The runway did not melt but there was concern in 1989 and 1990 about how aircraft would perform above 120°F.
I had not really thought about it until today, but the places I really want to see are very far north, or south on our planet. These places are coolish, even in the heat of summer.
Why put an X on Orkney?
Some might want to visit Orkney because of Vikings, that that is a good reason, the history and archaeology of that subject is amazing. But I want to focus on the ancient archaeology sites of Orkney, way before the Vikings.
The Neolithic village of Skara Brae, the Maes Howe chambered tomb, and the henge monuments of Brodgar and Stenness are all part of a World Heritage Site referred to as The Heart of Neolithic Orkney.
I’ve wanted to visit Scotland since I was a small child. I have no idea why. But a fantasy I’ve always seemed to have, at least since I was a pre-teen, is staying in a small stone cottage in Northern Scotland (near the Seas), wearing wool, eating oatmeal (no haggis!), drinking tea, and writing. This has matured into a probably achievable fantasy of touring 5000 year old Neolithic sites in northernmost Scotland.
Patagonia,Tierra del Fuego, Magellan, and The Beagle
Chile or Argentina? Both countries share Patagonia. I probably cast my vote for Argentina. Since my twenties, I have longed to see the truly wild, desert of the Patagonian region. And if I got that close I would also have to visit Tierra del Fuego., also split between Chile and Argentina. Desert, glaciers, mountains, and lakes, rivers and waterfalls. I haven’t planned a trip out in my head like I have for some other places, but I just know I have to see the treeless grasslands of the pampas, watch llama and vicuna. And I understand that big cats have made a comeback in Patagona.
Then I want to travel south to the island tip of South America where the Land of Fire (Tierra del Fuego) is bordered by the waters that Magellan’s ships, and the ship that Darwin was on, the H.M.S. Beagle, sailed. I really haven’t gotten beyond that in planning as almost all the hiking I would want to do in the region is probably beyond my capabilities. I waited too long to go.
Ushuaia, Argentina calls itself the southernmost city in in the world. The expedition ships to Antarctica leave from Ushuaia. There are a couple towns that are more southernly, but not in Argentina, and they are quite small.
I suppose I could just go and document the burgeoning feminism was sweeping Ushuais, the town of 40,000. recently. From the following article it sounds like the last few decades of the 20th Century have finally arrived:
But my hiking stamina and joint flexibility make still be good enough for Iceland, or at least a train trip in Northern Canada, and some Aurora Borealis viewing, and maybe some snowshoeing. Traveling by train to see the sky sounds good to me. I love trains. Too bad American trains suck. I used to take the train across the US, primarily along the Chicago to Tucson or Flagstaff Amtrak routes, or the Tucson to LA and LA to the North Bay area. I would not take these long trips without booking a sleeper. Too many weirdos, sort of like a bus.
For Iceland I would have to do so much investigation to figure out where to be for a few days that could maximize viewing of the lights. Or maybe I could just get an Aurora Borealis app and look for some cheap flights and lodging when the app says they are likely to appear.
But maybe I could settle for the Aurora Australis, or southern lights, although they apparently can look quiet different.
There aren’t any specific tools to check whether the southern lights will be visible on a given night. But, Sky Marvels has a helpful website that pulls data from OVATION, an NOAA/NWS space weather prediction center. This can give you a good sense of when there is a lot of solar activity and when the aurora might be visible.https://spacetourismguide.com/southern-lights-patagonia/
If I can’t get a job on an Antarctic Passenger Ship, maybe I can just hang out in Ushuaia, Argentina and get something similar to what you see from the South Pole.
I imagine anywhere that’s not burning up hot would be a nice change.
I used to take the train west to LA and Seattle about 20 years ago. I usually got a sleeper because it’s so far to ride sitting up or hunched over trying to sleep. They were great when I started riding, good food etc. But by the end, the menus were not so good. Too bad. Trains are nice.
Kristin, I’ve been on a lot of the Amtrak routes. I would love to take some of the northerly routes… you are right anywhere not hot.
Orkney looks like an interesting place to visit. My son has always been interested in archeology. I’ll let him know about this place.
Early expansion into northern Europe has always intrigued me, hope your son enjoys it too!