I began the day with my second presidential library. This one of course built for John F. Kennedy.
I had two minor issues with the library. First, it was small. Of course he was president for less than three years, but still. Second, it focused solely on his time in the White House. At the beginning of the museum there’s a short movie on his life leading up to his nomination at the 1960 Democratic National Convention. I would have like that information incorporated into exhibits rather than the film.
I next went to the Edward Kennedy Institute of the Senate. This was also rather small. But they have a replica of the Senate chamber and host different events throughout each day. They did a debate on the censure of Joseph McCarthy, a live vote of everyone in attendance on a real bill currently under consideration by the real Senate, and hearings on a fake real world problem we created. It was interesting and really interactive.
I followed that with a visit to the Institute of Contemporary Art. It’s currently under renovation. Extremeley small. If I’d had to pay for entry I’d have wanted my money back. Also, I was a little baffled by what qualifies as art. But I’m no artist.
Lastly, I finished up with the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. I discovered during the ride over that it’s the fourth largest museum in the country. An absolute behemoth. I got there around 6:30 and left around 9:30 and still didn’t cone close to getting all the way through. There were so many great exhibits and pieces. I’m most likely going back on Tuesday.
FOUR museums in one day is a new record for me. Though it was really 3.25.
I’ve been using Lyft to get around. Last night I hailed a driver with my phone at 12%. He called me probably 20 minutes later saying that the app gave him the wrong address and he was in Cambridge, nowhere near me. I explained that my phone was going to die (2% by this time) and that I’d just keep waiting, but he kept blaming the app. Over and over again. I hung up and canceled the trip. Phone died. Again. But this time it was 10:00 at night and raining. I started walking. I had my charger with me. I just needed somewhere to actually charge. I walked for 10 minutes before realizing I’d walked in a circle. I changed directions and started looking for outlets on the outside of buildings. Nothing. I finally found a Mexican restaurant open and decided to eat and then figure out what to do. Found an outlet by the restrooms. Charged up. Good to go. End of a long day.
Today wasn’t as productive as I’d have liked. Let me explain.
I started late. The goal is to make it to my first museum each day as soon as it opens. I’ve !issued that goal two days in a row now. I entered the Museum of Science, Boston around 10:30 in the morning. It opens at 9:00. So immediately the clock is against me. But I put that out of my head as soon as I enter the museum. It’s massive. Reminds me of any Smithsonian. I fall well behind schedule. I finish my trek through the museum around 2:00 PM. My original schedule gave me until noon.
At this point I knew I’d cut off something from the day. Because I happened to eat lunch in Faneuil Hall, and I wanted to explore it. So I’m walking along looking at all these cool shops and stands, right? Just minding my own business. Then it happens. I hear this girl singing live from around the corner. I can’t move. She’s so good. I find out her name is Lauren Weintraub. She’s 18. I sit there and listen to her sing for 90 minutes. Who throws EVERYTHING off. I no longer have time for any more museums. I explore the market son more and get a smoothie. By this time my phone battery is quickly dying. But it surely won’t get all the way down to 0% before I can hail a Lyft, right? Wrong. Phone died. I’m in what I think is downtown Boston with no way to get back to my Airbnb. I enter a “Mercantile Mall” believing a store would have a charger. Nothing was open. No charger. I asked the only person I came across where I could find a charger. She said CVS was nearby. I hopes she was right.
She was. And it was within walking distance. I bought a cheap charger and charged my phone in the store. All is well that ends well. I’m packing my charger everyday now. Just in case.
PS: My absolute last resort would have been to have someone hail an Uber or Lyft and then just give them the money in cash. Not sure if that would have worked.
I got off to a late start yesterday. I was tired, but my late start was due mostly to being cold. I’ve had warm weather for months now. Coming here was like walking back into winter.
First stop was the Harvard Museum of Natural History. A very nice, small museum. I’m still struggling to wrap my head around the lack of central air here. There were huge specimens on display, including a kronosauraus. Which makes a shark look like a shrimp.
That museum was followed by the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. I lucked out because the two museums are actually connected. Less time walking, more time learning.
This one had some really cool pieces on the Mayans. I felt like I walked through the Mayan Empire at one point. The most fascinating for me was an exhibit on a project Harvard students tackled a few years ago. They dug up certain areas around the campus to unearth any artifacts related to the now-demoloshed Indian College.
The third and final stop of the day was the MIT Museum. I had no big expectations for it. I knew it was small and focused almost exclusively on MIT work. Which is extensive, but seemed limiting. I was wrong. The museum is definitely small. But there’s an exhibit on ROBOTS. I haven’t seen anything like any of them. It was really cool. And lots of interactive exhibits. And one on the works and research being done by current students.
I made it all the way through all three museums I visited yesterday. I’m looking to keep the streak alive today.
Also, I has my first Mexican food here. It was forgettable.
Yesterday I encouraged every one of you to travel. So I feel it’s only appropriate to take you with me to Boston for these next eight days.
I will never enjoy having to wake up that early. For anything. But I hated it just a little less yesterday. I was already fully packed. Out the door around 6:15.
LIFTOFF. Guys, my flight was overbooked. But no one was dragged off the flight. There was one mishap. An older man in a wheelchair got separated from his wife. He boarded without her. She was not going to be able to get on. A woman who also was not going to be allowed on volunteered her husband OFF the flight. All was well. I was in the FIRST seat inside the door! Score!
I arrive at my first vacation destination. The Harvard Art Museums. Originally not on the itinerary at all, but I’m against the captivity of any animal. So I scrapped my plan to go to the Franklin Park Zoo and instead turned my attention toward art.
The sun was so bright in my eyes I actually couldn’t see the button to take the picture. Also, caused this odd look on my face.
My first meal in Boston is free because the service I received was terrible and I would not leave without complaining.
I arrive back at my Airbnb for the Night where the walls are a bit thin and the air is chilly.
Tomorrow will be a full day. Three museums on the docket and also the first night of my personal challenge to eat at a different Mexican restaurant each night.
When I was much younger (nearly 20 years ago) I went on the vacation of a lifetime. Disney World. For something like three weeks. The experience was nice, but I was so young that I was limited in what I could actually do. And no roller coasters.
Today the vacation of a lifetime happens a second time. Eight days in Boston. As you can see my interests have changed as I’ve grown into an adult. Disney World is about magic. It’s about enjoying being a kid. It’s about escape. Boston? To some those things may also apply. To me it’s about history. The birth of this great, flawed nation I love with all my heart. It’s about growth. Learning. And Red Sox – Yankees doesn’t hurt anything. ☺
In the few short years I’ve been an adult I’ve wanted to travel the world. What better way to learn than from other people, cultures, and places? There’s so much the world has to offer to stay in one place all the time.
So I’m not. I’m not a multimillionaire. I don’t have a bank account with $50k in it. But I have a good paying job with a company that encourages its employees to take time away from work. I make more than enough to take one big trip a year, and if I really focus on my finances I can squeeze two trips out of a single calendar year without changing much of what I already do.
Last year I went to DC for only four days and it was INCREDIBLE. Guys, who cares what I say about books? If there’s one thing you take from your time reading my blog let it be this:
There are few things we’re able to do in our short time on earth that are as rewarding as traveling. I cannot encourage you to travel enough. Your reasons may be different than mine, but there’s really no reason not to take a trip every now and then. Cost. I know it’s expensive. Buy tickets way in advance. Save for months. It’ll be a sacrifice. But it’ll be worth it. I promise you.
A week after I quit my job at Half Price Books last July I made a decision regarding my next vacation. Washington, DC. Again. I visited last May and I simply couldn’t wait to get back. The dates? January 18-25. To experience my first presidential inauguration. But then election night happened, along with my inability to find employment. My plans changed.
In December while waiting on word from numerous potential employers I decided to start adjusting my plans. My next choice? Boston.
I originally planned on April 18-25. But the Yankees are playing the Red Sox on the 25th. I COULD NOT MISS IT if I was already going to be in town. I added a day. I’m leaving on the 18th to visit one of the most historic cities in America. It’ll be my longest and first solo trip, but I could not be more excited.
This trip has been nearly 9 months in the making, and I’m ready to go.
Which place have you visited that left you immediately wanting to go back?
Saturday Selects is a series of posts I write on the ocassional Saturday about topics outside the general bookish theme of the blog. Today I’m discussing museums.
I think if you’re reading this you likely know about my trip to DC last year. For four days I went to every museum I possibly could. After the conclusion of the trip I still have a lengthy list of museums in and around DC I want to visit. A month before I went to DC last year I went to Austin for two days. It was the first time I visited one of the presidential libraries. In those two days I went to four museums and the state capitol of Texas. Next month I’m spending eight days in Boston.
As you can see I’m just about obsessed with museums. Quite honestly I’d like to visit every museum I possibly can during my brief time roaming Earth. But the question I often get is “Why?”. Why do I want to travel to different cities of the world just to go to museums?
I’ll tell you. That’s where all the history lives. I’m not saying there aren’t bits of history scattered throughout cities and historical places, but for what is typically a nominal admission fee you’re granted access to hundreds, thousands, and in some cases millions of pieces of individual history. How great is that!
You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate the opportunity museums give us. We’re allowed to learn about cultures, eras, wars, and movements because people behind the scenes have usually devoted their lives to preserving history and historical artifacts of all shapes and sizes.
I love museums because I’m only one person in one era living one life experience, but I’m so eager to learn about the things I haven’t and won’t be able to experience. Museums are time machines. And who doesn’t love those?