When I was a kid, I used to love summer vacations.
Nothing used to excite me more than the countdown to our (meaning my parents) destination of choice for the annual Rehors doing their best Griswold impression family vacation. Most of the time, the journey would take us into the north woods of Minnesota to catch fish, battle the deer ticks, and take in mother nature in all of its glory. I loved every second of it.
Now that I'm a little older, I still get that feeling, but for a different destination.
Nothing gives me the same feeling of excitement about going somewhere than the journey to Green Bay.
Having lived in the Chicago area my entire life, I've been fortunate to experience one of the great cities in the world over and over. The downtown area, with its majestic skyline, historical significance, and never ending activities is truly something that everyone should experience.
However, along with the glory of living in one of the largest metro areas in the world comes the worst traffic in the US, not so great air to breathe, and a never ending stream of everybody trying to get somewhere faster than the next person. It has made me a little jaded, a little bitter, and always wanting to go somewhere else other than where I am right now.
That place is always Green Bay.
From the moment I leave my house with the destination of Northeast Wisconsin on my mind, all the worries of my every day life are left at home. The reminder of what awaits after a short three and a half hour drive is constantly on my mind. The feeling of excitement for summer vacation of my youth returns.
It starts the moment of departure. From the drive up I94, through Milwaukee (which, and I'm sorry to have to say this, rivals Chicago on the suck factor due to construction right now) all the way through cities like Sheboygan and Appleton, I am reminded of the inner kid that resides in us all. The remnant of our youth which comes out at the best times, and helps us remember what it was like to not have to worry about things like bills to pay, meetings to attend, and getting the car fixed. All the worries disappear during the ride up, because I know they will still be there when I get back.
Exiting on to 172, I know it's close. Just a few more miles until destination central. The last few miles are when it really sets in. Soon I will be what feels like "home", the place which calls to me. If you're a Packer fan, you understand what I am talking about. Closer, closer, closer...
Holmgren Way to Oneida. Turn right. Almost there. Just up the road a little bit.
And there it is. Destination achieved.
It is difficult to put into words the feeling of getting out of the car at Lambeau Field. The best description is getting out of the car at the lake of my youth and wanting to jump in to the water. That's what I want to do, only now I want to run into the stadium, take a deep breath, and think about the history of where I am standing. That, and go shopping in the Pro Shop of course.
As I get ready to journey up to Lambeau Field for the day, I can't help but get that feeling of anticipation. In just a few hours, the struggles of everyday life are left behind, and I remember what it was like to have the pure excitement. I hope I never lose the ability to feel this way. To be able to hold onto just a little slice of youth for the rest of my life would be nice. Yet I can't help but wonder if I am the only one who feels this way when they also make the trip to Green Bay. Am I the only person who feels a sense of anticipation on their way to Lambeau Field?
Chances are, probably not.