The concept of sentiment is one to which people have varying connections. I’m definitely not overly sentimental and have never claimed or pretended to be mawkish.
I do, though, partake in a limited number of activities that allow for personal reflection. Truth be told, my heart isn’t entirely devoid of nostalgia. If you’ve been following this website relatively frequently (it averages 0.0037 hits per day, so I’ll take that as a “yes,” my server is overloaded), you may have noticed a reference to buying “pins” throughout my bike trip. This shall elucidate that reference, which reaches far deeper into the (typically financial) hole of adventure than a single spur-of-the-moment bike trip.
The oddest of these endeavors is a (long-since failed) attempt to collect pins from every national park I visit. Yes, it’s possible that this isn’t too outlandish an idea. But the fact that I attach them all to a costume hat that my parents bought me when I still referred to my age as “[X] and a half,” while simultaneously signifying it with fingers on a single hand, clarifies that this has been one of my life’s longest-standing traditions. If I’m not mistaken, the hat came from a visitors center in Yosemite. Or Sequoia/King’s Canyon. Or some other park in northern California. Or Washington.
Though the hat concept has fallen victim to a variety of tangents since its infantile implementation, including a temporary stint comprised of the purchase of pins from anywhere I traveled, the national park concept has remained the constant throughout.
I’m sure some glorious pictures of this thing atop a crying, miserable, hiking 5-year-old child are floating around my house somewhere. Because I will never find (or look for) those, I will bid you farewell with a picture taken from a visit home after 2.5 months of traveling in 2009.