A new edition has arrived of the book “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.”
Or, as I prefer to call it, “More Than 900 Places I’ll Die Without Seeing.”
That’s because this book, by travel writer Patricia Schultz, is a depressing reminder of how little of the world most of us have seen.
When it first arrived on my desk, I naively, without even thinking, started leafing through it to see how many of the 1,000 places I could put on my life list.
It proved to be a depressingly simple task.
Chapter 2, Africa: Never been there.
Chapter 3, The Middle East: Never seen it.
Chapter 4, Asia: Never made it.
Chapter 5, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands: Sounds great.
Chapter 6, Europe: Nope, except Great Britain.
Chapter 7, Latin America: No clue.
Chapter 8, The Caribbean, Bahama and Bermuda: Sounds exotic.
So, just like that, I’ve already identified about 750 places for my not-seen list. I have not, for instance, taken a weekend getaway to “majestic” Yekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains. Nor have I strolled the beautiful Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar (“home to a nomadic seafaring people”).
That leaves me with only one chapter, The United States and Canada.
And somehow, I have managed to miss most of the places in that chapter, too. I’ll add up my final, sad, tally later (see hint in second paragraph), but first I want to make a few of my own lists from this book.
1. The Las Vegas Strip - I fear it would end badly, as in, “The Hangover.”
2. Daytona Speedway, Fla. - If I want to see cars race around in circles, I’ll hang out at the Sprague couplet.
3. The Hamptons, Long Island - I’ll pass on rich Manhattanites playing polo.
4. Sturgis Motorcycle Rally - I fear they would laugh when I rolled up on a Vespa.
5. Graceland - Liverpool is my personal musical Mecca.
Actually, I wouldn’t turn down a free trip to any of those five. A wise person once told me, “Never turn down an opportunity to see somewhere new,” which is a decent working philosophy of life, except if that place is the pirate- ridden coast of Somalia.
However, most of us have neither the time nor the means to gallivant around the globe, so here’s another list:
Places Within Shouting Distance That Made the Book
1. Lake Coeur d’Alene: “A pine-forest-enshrouded gem.”
2. Middle Fork of the Salmon River: “America’s greatest whitewater.”
3. Pike Place Market: “The gastronomic heart of Seattle.”
4. The San Juan Islands: “Washington’s ferry land.”
5. Glacier National Park: “The American Alps.”
6. Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Mont.: “Home on the range in the Bitterroot Valley.”
7. The Columbia River Gorge: “A majestic cleft in the Cascade volcanoes.”
8. The Oregon Coast: “Rugged masterpiece of the natural world.”
Sadly, Mount Spokane (and everywhere else in Eastern Washington) failed to make it. So here’s a personal mini-list:
Other Places That the Book Egregiously Left Out
1. The Beartooth Mountains: Please sprinkle my ashes there.
2. Olympic National Park: Or there.
3. Kelly Creek, Idaho: Or there.
Well, I guess I can’t put it off any longer. I have to add up how many of those 1,000 places in the book I have seen in my 58 years. Thank goodness my parents believed in that “See the USA In Your Chevrolet” slogan when I was a kid, or this tally would look even worse. Still, too bad there is not one single entry for Kansas, where I went to a wedding last month…
Places I’ve been: 86.
Places I have not been: 914.
I’m thinking seriously of putt-putting my way to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally this summer, just to make it No. 87.