Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California.

How to turn errands into history adventuring

I've always like this story: Three men on a construction site are asked what they're doing. The first says, "I'm earning a living", the second says, "I'm laying bricks", and the third says, "I'm building a cathedral!". That taught me everything I needed to know about point of view.

I like asking people what they're doing, and mostly I hear "going to work" and "doing errands". And I often wonder how these people could live in such a drab world. Luckily, I've known people who are adventuring, and I've learned a lot from them.

My favorite role models for this have been James Bond, and my brother who lives in California. They're always adventuring! Yes, they're doing their jobs, and from a certain point of view doing errands, but they're doing with style, and really living. If you can't see it, I'll see if I can explain. I'll start with going to an airport.

Like most people, my first thought about airports is "uggghhh". It's just waiting in line, and more waiting in line. Then you crush into a plane and hope that your luggage isn't lost. But the first time I flew on a plane I was James Bond. And by that I meant that I was adventuring, flying away to an exciting and glamorous place (I think it was Burbank) filled with exotic locales, beautiful women, and vodka martinis (actually I prefer gin-and-tonics). And the first time I went hiking with my brother from California I really saw everything from his point of view. Everything was so beautiful, the sky, the mountains, and I saw my Arizona in a fresh way. Yes, I saw Monument Valley, and the Grand Canyon, but even my little suburban neighborhood looked better.

Yes, by all means tell people what they want to hear if they're just looking for "misery loves company". Tell them how much you hate your job, you hate where you live, you hate your life. All my life I've tried to chime in with this conversation, and it's really the vast majority of people in the world. But I've always been a secret adventurer, which I now call "history adventuring" and isn't that much of a secret anymore, because I write about it here. I see an amazing world, even in my own neighborhood. Every errand I run is an adventure, every step I take is in a world that I share with other people who understand, like you.

Thank you for history adventuring with me!

Image at the top of this post: Driving north on the Black Canyon Freeway in the 1960s approaching Camelback Road, Phoenix, Arizona. I see interesting cars, not traffic.

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