I was at an out-of-my-league social gathering trying to relate to people's comments so I could join the conversation. It wasn't easy. Don't own a yacht. Can't fly a plane. Never got hassled trying to return bling at Tiffany's.
Then a lady proudly said, "My daughter just left for Africa. Her goal is to run a marathon on every continent and this is her last one."
"Won't you be going there to watch?" another lady asked.
"Unfortunately, no. We have other obligations. But we went to the other six."
I can relate to that. Due to other obligations, I missed a few of my kids' soccer games. I totally understand.
Seriously, I admire anyone who sets such a goal and works at it. And with some, I can truly relate. Like Aimee Burgamy, former Gwinnett Teacher of the Year, who aspires to hike every waterfall trail in Georgia. She has a map in her classroom to record her progress and I love checking it every time I sub for her.
Walter Chow, about whom I wrote in 2007, aims to visit every one of our national parks. In five years his list has grown from 145 to 230.
"While visiting a park in Arizona last November, I met a fellow who had gotten all 396 sites," the Snellville resident said, feeling confident that he will one day make that claim.
Dr. Maurice Jove, an orthopedic surgeon in Snellville and team physician for Parkview and Archer High Schools, set a traveling goal two decades ago. Jove, a big baseball fan who, by the way, is proud of his Panthers' clinching the National Baseball Championship, wanted to take his son Nathan to see a game at all 30 major league stadiums.
So far, they've cheered at 22 ballparks. Now that Nathan is completing the rigorous demands of his residency, he will soon join his father's practice as the third generation orthopedist in the Jove family. I expect part of the celebration will include a beer and a hot dog somewhere besides Turner Field.
But these theme-based trips don't need to be to numbered destinations. Years ago I had a friend who was an art professor. When traveling, she visited local cathedrals and drew them in pen and ink. I thought about her recently while attending the wedding of friends Kevin and Amanda Barbario at the spectacular Cathedral of St. Paul in Birmingham. Sure hope she has that one inked into her collection.
As for me, I like to visit libraries. Not because I'm that bookish, but it's fun to see the different architecture and the activities they sponsor. And if I ever get to the point where I've seen every library in America, I can just move on to another continent. It's free entertainment and I'll never have to worry about my feelings being hurt because my family has too many obligations to come watch me.
Susan Larson is a writer from Lilburn. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.