Twenty-some years ago, when I was a college student, I was lucky enough to win a fellowship from The Poynter Institute to study ethics and leadership in journalism in St. Petersburg, Florida. Poynter flew us in from around the country, put about 30 of us up in a swank hotel near the water, gave us a stipend, and guided us to discoveries I’ve never forgotten. I felt like I’d won the lottery, and I had, just not in the way I’d imagined. The experience had a profound effect on my career.
The evenings were largely ours to enjoy the city as we pleased. We got word that Rick Springfield was playing at a nearby bar and restaurant one night, with a cover charge of $3, and tickets day-of were still available. Some fellows went to the performance, while some of us determined that $3 was too much to see a performer who had long fallen off the charts. Besides, I wanted to walk in the sulky Florida air and see what there was to see, rather than something I’d seen throughout my teen years on MTV and soap operas. (All photos of this experience are currently in storage. I took a lot of pictures. I remember one fellow remarked, “Why are you taking so many pictures of us? You’ll never remember our names.” He was right, but I don’t regret capturing it all on film.)
Today, I am reflecting on that. I’ve found out that Rick Springfield will be in concert at Treasure Island Casino, about 1.5 hours’ drive from the Twin Cities, where I currently live in Minnesota. Perhaps, predictably, tickets have gone up considerably since the $3 cover charge.
So what is it about the passing of 20 years that makes us willing to drive and pay more for a nostalgic experience? What is it about time that makes us value our youth more? I’d like to say it’s that I’m older and wiser, but truth be told, driving 90 miles and dropping $300 on drinks, an overpriced hotel room and a concert ticket now, compared to $3 and short stroll then…doesn’t seem wiser. It seems wistful.
Funny how life brings us back to the roads that we once didn’t care to walk, only to find the timing was wrong…we needed other journeys first, before we could see the value of taking that road.
Rick, if you can hear me, I’m working on it. I’ll be there at the casino with the rest of the screaming middle-aged ladies. I just need someone to be my partner in crime.
Charish Badzinski is an explorer and award-winning travel and food writer. When she isn’t working to build her blog: Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World, she applies her worldview to her small business, providing strategic communications, media relations and writing support to her clients.
Find Charish on Twitter: @charishb
Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World by Charish Badzinski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.