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Travel access, opportunities not to be ignored

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. --

Possibly one of the greatest and overlooked gifts we have in the military is our ability to travel.

More often than not, we are stationed at bases around the world where we have the access and opportunity to travel and see the local sites. However, it happens way too often that we ignore those opportunities. Suddenly we receive orders to change duty stations, and we're left with the thought, "Oh man, I should've done this while I was stationed here." After that, we're lucky if we even get to do half the things we wanted to do.

This happens more stateside than it does overseas. Why you may ask?

I think it's because we have the tendency to see the U.S. as one big lump. What sometimes can go ignored is that the country is divided into regions for a reason. Within each of those regions is a subculture of America waiting to be experienced. It is like good food to be gorged upon.

Before I was 25, I visited 43 of 48 states in the Continental U.S. There is just so much out there to explore. Being stationed at Luke we have some great opportunities that are not just in the Valley. With just a weekend trip, we have access to Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles, Tombstone, the Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater and the list goes on. I've done all but visit Tombstone since being stationed here.

It's easy to get wrapped up in the weekly routine, and by the time a long weekend comes, it can be tempting to just sit around. Too often routine can dictate life and things get forgotten, experiences are pushed off, and eventually a person can become apathetic to taking trips. The Marines have an elegant solution to this problem -- hydrate, stretch and suck it up.