In the first half of 2003, I visited Washington, DC (for a friend's wedding) and St. Petersburg, Florida (to sit on the beach, relax, and get really drunk). Since then -- all of my trips have been to Europe or Colorado. It's been four and a half years since I traveled to any non-Colorado locations in the U.S. For someone who really loves to travel, that's a bit odd.
From the mid '90s through the early '00s, I visited St. Louis quite a bit. It was always for different reasons -- sometimes friends, sometimes just to get away. It's always difficult to explain my fascination and love of St. Louis. I've had a disproportionate number of friends and girlfriends from the Mound City -- when I've enthused about their hometown, the reaction has invariably been confusion and suspicion. St. Louisians (?) generally seem happy to leave -- they don't get why I'm so into visiting.
I adopted the Cardinals and Blues growing up, because Colorado lacked pro baseball and hockey. I think the fact that St. L had both sports made me think that it was a real massive metropolis. For a long time in my 20s, I really tried to get a job there -- once applying to be the Post-Dispatch's classical music critic, a position for which I was comically unqualified.
My last trip was a tad comical -- this would be, hmm, 2001 or so? I went to a sports bar to catch a Blues game, and realized (after a long while) that it was a very flamboyantly gay sports bar. Later, I went to a Blues game at the Kiel Center or whatever it's called these days, and afterwards, riding the Metro back to my hotel, a child pointed me out to his daddy and said "look, it's Chris Pronger!" (the next day, wearing a Blues jersey as I wandered around (don't judge me) a homeless guy flagged me down by yelling "hey, Brett Hull!")
I also met up with some friends while out there -- one was trying to hook me up with one of her co-workers (it was something of a dry spell). In a classic tactical error, I went out of the way to act as if I weren't simply interested in a one-night stand, which of course was the whole point. I ended up alone at my hotel that night.
Ah, but I still love the place, and maybe it's time to visit again. Good Italian food (I've never been to another city where they have ravioli stands), good bookstores, good music (both Drunks With Guns and Uncle Tupelo hail from there!), hockey, a river.
It's just one of a handful of cities (DC and Chicago are also on the list) that I used to visit at least once a year if not more -- I've fallen badly off the pace. Perhaps it's time to do a little traveling that doesn't involve a passport and inoculations.