Update: I had to postpone my Nebraska road trip. :( I’m hoping to make it happen sometime in the next few years.
I’m not exactly sure how this came about. One of my goals this year is to travel somewhere I’ve never been, somewhere new, non-touristy and visually spectacular … so where do I choose to go? Yep, that’s right … Nebraska. Cause if you ask me the words “Nebraska” and “tourism” are about as close to an oxymoron as you can get.
Okay, a little background before the Husker fans out there start sending me hate-mail. The majority of my life was spent in Lincoln. I was born there, and aside from a few years in Minnesota (which I don’t remember) the entirety of my childhood was in the South side of town. I remember two of the three houses we lived in (one of which my brother and his family now own, and the other house is my parents’ current home) and had a very happy childhood. I love the changing seasons (however the freezing cold and hot humidity I could have done without) and usually try to make my way back home at least once a year to visit family.
The thing is, growing up I pretty much stayed within the borders of Lincoln and never really ventured out to other cities, except to visit the grandparents every so often. I thought Nebraska was boring and that there was so much more out there … from my perspective the only things that Nebraska had to offer (other than some great people and my loving family) was cornfields and football. My family took a few vacations outside of the state to see mountains and the ocean, but those were few and far between …. I wanted more.
So, a year after I graduated High School I enlisted in the US Navy. I traveled throughout the country for two years, and then was stationed in Northern Japan for three years, then Hawaii. I definitely had my fair share of ocean and mountains … I lived in freaking paradise, and it was gorgeous! But at some point during my time in these amazing places I had this revelation … I finally understood the beauty of my home state.
So at some point during a conversation with a friend this idea came out of my mouth and evolved into what it is now. I’ve also been inspired by a few photographer friends of mine who have had similar types of travels, and since I LOVE to go on road trips and enjoy my alone time, I thought this would be a good choice. This might not be the only place I travel to this year, but if it is … I’m okay with that. :)
The trip, so far, is a pretty rough outline. I plan on crossing the border through Wyoming, and then heading up to see Chimney Rock, drive through the Sand Hills, head up to the Niobrara River and then make my way down towards Lincoln to visit family, head to the South part of the state and then make my way back West through Colorado. I don’t really have an agenda, other than photographing the landscapes and people as much as possible, and maybe do some writing while I’m at it. I’m hoping that it works out for me to be on the road mid-late June, just after the final deadline of a book I’m working on, and hopefully in time to catch some great cloud formations and a thunderstorm here and there.
I am, at the moment, extremely excited about this trip. I’m guessing that my family will probably laugh at me when they find out about it, mostly because my parents always joked about taking a “tour of Nebraska” for one of our vacations when I was a kid. I guess I just have this desire to photograph what I always considered a very boring place, but this adventure will give me the opportunity to see it through completely different eyes, and from the perspective of a photographer. I can’t wait. :)