Yesterday I heard something that made me a little sad. We are currently living in Norfolk, Virginia, USA. It is and has been historically the largest naval base in the US, actually the world. It is a lovely city and part of the Hampton Roads area with about five other cities surrounding it, making it a metropolis of approximately 1.7 million people. So really a large country city!
Just out of our window at night you can see the lights of the “Pearl Necklace” one of the longest bridge/tunnels I have ever driven, adorning the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay. It is the fourth longest bridge tunnel in the world. Veerry impressive!
It is 23 miles long, or 37 kilometers for those who use metric (the rest of the world other than the USA!) It boasts a combined 12 miles (19 km) of trestle, two 1-mile-long (1.6 km) tunnels, four artificial islands, four high-level bridges, approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) of causeway, and 5.5 miles (8.9 km) of approach roads—for now. This may change shortly with additions! So all up a pretty impressive sight and experience to drive over it and feel as though you are in the middle of the ocean. Driving it is one of my nightmares – being on a causeway surrounded by ocean and not being able to outrun an incoming tide!!! But I do love the thrill of crossing it each time – especially in my daughter’s mini with the top down!
The bridge replaced ferries and takes you on adventures to the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and an alternative route to Washington and New York or other coastal areas further north. The Eastern Shore has woodlands, bird havens, barrier islands and meandering waterways moving through grassland swamps. It has some incredibly quaint little American townships where you feel as though you have stepped back in time. One such little place is called Cape Charles, a step back to the era of grand style beach retreats.
It is a haven for sailing ships and day trippers as well as summer holiday makers, and antique hunters and seekers of all things art.
So all this detail to say what I thought was a really sad comment. We were coming back over the bridge and discussing the fact that many of our daughter Naomi’s friends, who have lived their whole lives in this area have never crossed the bridge! Our friend working on our daughter’s house, again who has lived in this region his entire life, has also only been on the bridge, never across it. None of them had been to Cape Charles or north. I found this sad. Such an engineering marvel within easy distance and historical explorers dream-towns barely an hour away and they have never stepped out and crossed over!
I have to ask the question, why? Do they not find one of the longest bridges in the USA on their front door, or history, and nature over the bridge, compelling enough reasons to move? Do they become so consumed with their everyday lives that they don’t look around them (figuratively and physically) to explore their worlds. I don’t know, but it is fascinating to me that people will not venture out of their comfort zones to explore their world around them. This to me is sad. Sad because they miss so many amazing sights and experiences and adventures, not to mention meeting amazing people along the way.
We miss so much in life when we fail to look up and look out. I loved Facebook for being able to follow friends’ photos as they explore their worlds. It might be the park down the road, the nearby city, their state, state parks, a nearby country or a far away county (my friend recently travelled to Iceland and I stalked her mercilessly watching her journey. Others went on an epic trip from Finland to Italy). Others explore their city and we see through their eyes things we might otherwise miss.
There is so much to see and do in this amazing world in which we live. Don’t be too scared or too consumed with daily activities to crossover whatever bridge you need to cross to get to the next adventure!
Have a great day crossing a bridge!