Hodgepodge Travel

Different destinations inspire different types of travel. Earlier this year, my husband and I spent an extended period of time in a single location. That particular destination, the city of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, invited us to linger, stroll the cobblestone streets, savor the food, and immerse ourselves in the culture. I wrote several posts about our experiences, including one titled Slow Travel.

In contrast, we recently returned from a less focused – or, maybe I should say multi-focused – trip to the Pacific Northwest and a few points beyond. Unlike our earlier trip, where we stayed in one place throughout, this one was definitely more of a hodgepodge that included multiple mini-trips during our time away.

We took many forms of transportation, including:

  • Airplanes
  • Automobiles (including two separate car rentals)
  • Shuttle buses
  • Public buses
  • A monorail
  • A motorboat
  • A ship
IMG_2988 (Edited)
White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, Skagway, Alaska
  • A train


  • Bicycles
  • A farm tractor
Spokane, Washington
  • A giant Radio Flyer (ok, that one didn’t actually move)

We visited four states – three of which I had never visited before (four more to go to check off all fifty).

We visited one foreign country. It was brief, but it still counts, right?

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

We enjoyed multiple National Parks, National Monuments, National Forests, and National Historic Sites.

We stayed in one higher-end hotel, a few lower-end motels, and in the homes of friends and family.

Concrete, Washington

We set our feet in Concrete, dined in Forks, found Opportunity, and got a charge out of Electric City (all located in the beautiful state of Washington).

Wallace, Idaho

I discovered that I am, indeed, the Center of the Universe, as well as pretty insignificant when compared to the size, power, and magnificence of a glacier.

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska

Since we’ve retired, my husband and I have enjoyed traveling slow, quick getaways, long road trips, prearranged tours, spontaneous adventures, and a hodgepodge mix of travel styles.  We have discovered that, whatever way we choose to travel, the important thing is to get up and go – and enjoy the journey as well as the destination.

Author: Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

81 thoughts on “Hodgepodge Travel”

  1. This is a great post…I am torn between your radio flyer and center of the universe photos as my favorites! Both are funny…wanna see these places myself.

  2. All gorgeous photos! I’m torn between the train, the glacier and the “little red wagon” as my favourites!! I think the Radio Flyer wins by slide 😉
    What a wonderful trip! … and being so close to having visited all 50 states is a major achievement. I’m guessing only a small percentage of Americans can make that claim!

    1. I hadn’t thought much about the 50-state count until I saw something on Facebook and decided to see where I stood. Many states were visited through work, but I’ve taken a few long road trips too. The remaining four states – North Dakota, Minnesota, West Virginia, and Rhode Island – aren’t very close to each other so they will require a few trips to check them off.

  3. I lived in Washington for a few years and I’ve been back numerous tomes. I’ve been in the places you mentioned, including Forks! Beautiful photos. It sounds like a wonderful trip.

  4. Delightful post. I love your plays on words: “set our feet in Concrete, dined in Forks, found Opportunity, and got a charge out of Electric City” made me smile. As did the radio flyer and the center of the universe!

    I’ve been to all 50 (was a bucket list item for me) and I love being able to make that claim. At one point I asked hubby, what would we do if I was unable to fly to some places for health reasons and he said he’d toss me in a van and drive me to the the last few ones I needed. My last state amazingly was Oregon. North Dakota was super boring especially since we combined it with South Dakota and that state was wonderful, Minnesota luckily was via work, WV and RI were drive throughs to other places…so no tips at all on what to do there. Good luck getting to your 50!

    1. I was bit surprised that I hadn’t been to West Virginia or Rhode Island (at least that I can recall) because we have driven around many of the eastern states. But, back then, getting to each state wasn’t on my radar screen so I wouldn’t have made the extra effort. I love how your husband answered your question! Fortunately, he didn’t have to toss you in a van 😄

  5. Your trip sounds amazing and the pics are wonderful! I showed Hans the pic of you standing against “concrete”….wow, he said as his jaw dropped. I would love to spend more time in WA!

    1. I saw a picture of that structure online so, of course, I had to go there. I had no idea how massive it would be. I hope you get to spend more time in Washington, it’s a beautiful and diverse state… perfect for a road trip!

  6. These photographs are so dramatic. Love the one of the train perched up high in the mountains. Wow. Cute pic on the bikes too. Totally agree with you that it the important thing is to go, get there, see it, do it… There is so much of the U.S. that I have never seen, impressive you have seen so much.


  7. I love both types of travel – the hodgepodge and staying in one place. The big advantage of a single destination is being able to unpack and have a base to come back to. However, it’s fun to see a lot of different places at once. The main thing is getting out there. We like to get away for 2 or 3 nights in a cabin somewhere – those little trips let you explore areas nearby. Enjoy resting at home so you will be ready for your next trip! Karen

  8. I enjoyed both here – your journey and your destination. Being in the Center of the Universe – wowee – did you get any ‘aha’ moment – “OH! THIS IS WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT?” 🙂

  9. Jan, wow those photos are amazing, love the train on the mountain, not that I would like to be on it 🙂 Obviously we love having a base to explore from, though a change is refreshing and pushes out the comfort zone more which is always a good thing 😉 Enjoyed this post!!

  10. Good for you! We are not quite yet at that stage of life, but when we do get there, I can’t wait to travel so much more. And I’d be happy to come back with photos just half as good as these!

    1. There is so much to see… even in just this country. I wasn’t sure that I’d ever get to Alaska so I was thrilled to have the opportunity. It is amazing – both for its scenery and for the wildlife. I hope you get to travel there.

  11. This looks like such a wonderful trip, Janis! I, too, love the ‘radio flyer’ and ‘center of the universe’ photos the best. I can’t wait to hear more about your travels when we meet in November!

  12. This looks amazing, especially Mount Rainier. My state tally is 20+ – don’t think I’ll ever get to them all, but I’ve beaten you to Rhode Island and West Virginia (twice)! I even sampled the US healthcare system in WV.

      1. Actually, it did. I had a fall and hit my head so was carted off to be checked out. I thought they’d ask for my credit card immediately but they didn’t, and to this day I’ve not been charged anything despite providing all my insurance details.

  13. There is no one right way to travel. All travel enriches a soul that is open to enrichment, as your wonderful photos demonstrate. Dang it, you were in my state and I didn’t know it. Next time you’re in Idaho…at least if you make it to/through southern Idaho, let me know! I’ve got an extra room/bath. 😉

    1. We really lucked out weather-wise. Just the week before we arrived in Washington it had been quite warm. The week before we were in Alaska, it had rained quite a bit. We did have some smoke from the fires in B.C., but not too terribly bad.

  14. Lovely photos, great information. We’ve never seriously thought about traveling after retirement, but you make me want to get out in the world and see it. Especially that big old sliding board off the Radio Flyer. What fun!

    1. Although we certainly plan to travel overseas at some point, there is so much to see in the US. I love road trips and discovering all the interesting – and sometimes wacky – places along the way. One of my favorite trips was along parts of Route 66 which we took a couple of years ago. Once you are done with your remodel, and after you’ve had a chance to relax and enjoy it for a while, maybe you could take a few baby trips and see how you like it.

  15. There is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to travel. My husband and I travel frequently and write about it on our Blog. We take cruises, well-coordinated train trips across Europe, spontaneous road trips across our state and day trips with the bikes or kayak strapped to the car. It’s all good stuff. Great post. Love your photos

    1. You are so right! We’ve met a few people who say things like “I’ll never go on a cruise,” or, “Road trips are boring,” etc. We love all types of travel and find that what matters most is the attitude you bring along. Thanks for the comment – it’s nice to find another retired blogger who loves to travel and photography. I look forward to following your adventures.

  16. There is something to say about enjoying the journey as well as the destination! Wow, you guys covered a lot of ground and saw many amazing places. The photos are enticing! You went all the way to Alaska! It is nice to alternate fast-pace travel with slow stays and immersions in the area and the culture. I’m glad you gathered so many wonderful experiences over the last few months – and a bit envious as well! 🙂

    1. We’ve been having fun! We didn’t originally set out to get to Alaska… but it sort of became an “as long as we are that close” decision. The last few months have been busier than usual… now I’m happy to be home.

  17. What a fun and crazy adventure – ! I loved the pictures – beautifully done. What a treat to be ‘the center of the universe’ – if only for a few moments ! I did a trip (not as ‘fast-and-furious’) with my parents back in the ’70’s. I can still remember the amazing, incredible beauty of Oregon, Washington and Canada.

  18. Hi Janis! I’m a bit late coming to the party but had fun seeing your photos and methods of travel. And best of all you look cool. As you know it’s been a bit warm here in So Cal. Thanks for sharing! ~Kathy

  19. Your pictures of White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, Mount Rainier National Park and
    Mendenhall Glacier are just amazing. I have 6 states left to visit and Alaska is next on my list! We plan to sail there in 2021. I am starting to notice that I prefer lengthy stays in one location v. short hops through many locations while traveling. I need time to drink a place in.

    1. I love lengthy stays too… I guess it depends on where we are visiting. My favorite is to have a home base which we can take side trips from.

      I would love to get back to Alaska – this time on land and maybe a small boat. The cruise ship gave us a taste, but there is so much more to see and experience.

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