I grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana; and while my family did some vacationing over the years, a majority of it was just to Gulf Coast beaches, Gatlinburg, TN or Disney World. Those vacations were great fun but there were always 2 family trips that really stuck out to me.
First was a road trip all the way to Colorado (before GPS maps… or required seat-belts etc.) where we did hiking, waterfalls, desert sand dunes, Pikes Peak, a dormant volcano and so much more. The second was a time I got to snorkel a coral reef. Even today memories of those trips are so vivid, I think its because of how unique those trips were among the larger life experience data set that I had. Don’t get me wrong, relaxation on a beach is great, but when 80% of the trips are similar the exploration, seeing and experiencing of things are what stuck for me.
Fast forward to mid/late 2004, I was graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi, and like many college graduates, I didn’t know where I wanted to work or live, what I wanted to do. A college buddy of mine (who was Mississippi born/raised) got into a joking conversation that went something like:
Friend: “You should live/work here in Mississippi, this is the best place there is.”
Me: “How do you know its the best place ever?”
Friend: “Trust me, I just know it is”
Me: “I’ll need to verify it, just to be sure; so you stay here in Mississippi and I’ll go check out the world just to be able to compare it and will let you know…”
There was obviously a lot of jest in our conversation at the time on both sides, but that conversation had always stuck with me. Many of my family/friends at that time had a “born here / die here” mentality, but I didn’t, I was willing to move around for opportunity, I really wanted to see what the world had to offer, almost wanted to make the final line of that conversation my mission statement.
After I got my first “real” job, I saved up money for a flight/road trip idea. Powered by a love for the game of baseball, in 2005 I was on my first ever airplane to get quasi-cross country to Baltimore in order to start a 9-day roadtrip to 7 MLB games + Cooperstown. It was a LOT to do and take in because we did tours of almost every city we were in before/after games, but it was so much fun.
I wanted to track it all for myself after the fact so I bought a United States fold out map, and put it on the wall with pins for all the places we hit, (just as many people do, I’m not going to claim that anything I did/do or post is unique). But I needed a way to show the map and trip pictures to the many friends/family not near me because my first job actually took me to Baton Rouge. Email attachments wouldn’t do, MySpace wasn’t really capable of that at the time, Facebook wasn’t really a thing yet and thus that’s where the website came from. I uploaded pictures here from the trip and of the map.
What was most interesting though was how the vast majority of friends/family were astounded by the quantity of what were able to do with our budget and time, or how many treated it as “I’ll never be able to do something like that.” So that became the inspiration to change the domain/space from a web file server for pictures to an actual website.
From the inception, the website centered around that conversation in college. It was never about me and showing/bragging about where I’ve been. In the original version of the website there was never even a picture of me on it, just pictures I’d taken of things I’d seen/experienced, which was really the point. Here’s a thing I saw/did, you should check it out too…
So many people dismiss the opportunity to do/try things be it travel or experiences because of the predetermined thoughts about being:
- too expensive
- not convenient/timely
- too hard to do
- too hard to plan
- can’t commit
- impossible to do with kids
- too scary
- nothing out there worth doing
So this website just became a way to show otherwise. I was poor, I knew nothing, I had relationships to maintain, I had no knowledge of many things, I had work commitments, so did my then girlfriend/now wife, but we still found ways to do things, so the website was a subtle way of just saying: “no excuses, go do things, here’s some things we’ve done you might want to try, here’s some ways we’ve done things that might help you with your plans.”
Thankfully Google Maps eventually came out with a personalized feature so I could maintain a digital map people could see much easier, and in 2008 I posted my first video to YouTube to go with the pictures, and just kept adding pages of info, blogs and pictures for all the pins in the map. Just trying things, keeping track, and sharing.
Sadly somewhere around 2013/2014 the webhost I was using had a catastrophic failure of one of their servers which just happened to be the one with this website, so it disappeared overnight. They tried to restore what they had backed up but much of the code no longer worked.
I never had ads (made money) from the website, my wife and I just had our first child, and the company I was working for was in the middle of getting acquired, and frankly more than all that, the internet had come a long way in that decade: tons of travel sites out there now, many blogs, YouTube to show you things, etc. and with so much else going on I just shelved the website, but I kept the domain, just in case…
Which brings me to 2019, why bring the site back? I’ll get into much more detail on this adventure in other posts but in the last 10 years one of the things I decided to try out was running as a way to get/stay fit. Signing up for the occasional 5K, then 10K and eventually a few half marathons. I had fun but eventually got bored of just running on pavement around some streets at the crack of dawn. Since I want to keep trying new things and have fun doing it, in 2019 I decided to sign up for my first ever Sprint-Triathlon and also my first ever Adventure Race.
I have many friends/family who do running, races etc. so I thought surely they’d join in, but I was totally surprised by the fact that almost none of them are willing to give this a try along with me: “that’s way too hard,” “I would embarrass myself,” “I could never do that,” etc. That same light bulb clicked for me…
So I decided to document my adventure, because let me be clear, I’m a terrible swimmer, I’m not the greatest runner, but yet here I am, doing a sprint triathlon and having a complete blast doing my first one, so much of a blast that I’m already signed up for more.
So I wanted a place to document it so people could maybe find it when researching their own thoughts about trying it out and think “hey this guy managed to do it, maybe I can too” so resurrecting PPIAM seemed like the perfect place to do that. While that adventure itself is not “travel” I totally intend to bring travel stuff back too; all of it: the map, experiences etc. anything that someone can try.
My hope back then for PPIAM is my hope now: that you can come to this website and read/see something that inspires you to try/do something. Just trying to check out the world and share it with people so they might get inspired to do the same.
Thanks for visiting, reading, watching etc.