This is the second in an ongoing weekly series of short interviews with Go Questing Community members. The goal here is to help introduce members to the rest of the community—a bit of a “get to know you” that helps make it easier to start conversations in the future. If you’re interested in participating, shoot me a quick note and we’ll get you on the list.
Scott: When we first met, you seemed pretty skeptical about the whole idea of quests in general.
Jeff: Oh, yeah, absolutely.
Scott: You didn’t really see them as your thing. So what didn’t you like about them back then?
Jeff: Well, because I think sometimes society emphasizes quantity over quality. And so to me, some of the quests seemed like you’re just focused on checking off the boxes as opposed to enjoying the boxes. And that the focus ought to be enjoying the boxes, not checking off the boxes. And I didn’t get that. So that was where I was then.
Scott: So what made you decide to actually adopt one and give it a go in spite of those initial reservations?
Jeff: Probably because of social media…and my friends on social media who had adopted quests and who looked like they were having a lot of fun. And not only that, but there’s a sort of a feeling of accomplishment, obviously, that goes along with it as well. I love to travel. I’m retired as you know, and my life is really about traveling and going places and doing different kinds of things. And so I thought “that looks like fun.” And I think that was where my mind started to kind of shift.
Scott: Gotcha. And the quest that you chose was the California League of Minor League Baseball? Is that what’s called?
Jeff: Spoken as a true baseball fan there…
Scott: Yeah, clearly (laughs)
Jeff: Yes, you’re correct. It was the California League, which is the Advanced-A league in California. There are eight teams—four in the south, four in the North. I love baseball. I love California. I thought, “wow, what a cool quest that would be to go to all of those in one season.”
Because I was sort of thinking, “well, what what kind of a quest would I do?” And I kept coming up with things where I’d think “nah, I don’t want to do that part of it,” you know? But that one I thought, “hey, every single part of that would be fun.” I know I would enjoy that. And so I committed to doing it.
Scott: Did you end up giving yourself a deadline? Or was it just kind of open ended? Or did you have to do them all in one season?
Jeff: For me I wanted to do it all in one season. Because it’s doable. For example, if I had another quest for all the major league stadiums in the United States and Canada…well, that would be really hard to do in a year. But certainly you can do eight in California.
I started in April, it was really cold. The first one I went to was like 48 degrees, which for California is cold. I was freezing out there! And then at the end of the season, I was in Lancaster and it was 102. So I had to go from one extreme to the next.
And I got to see some interesting parts of California. I’ve lived here my whole life, and think I know the state well. But I saw some parts I’d never seen—and would have never seen without having taken on the quest. So that’s another really cool aspect of it.
Scott: And so you added on other things to those trips that they weren’t just ballparks, right?
Jeff: Correct. But they were primarily about the ballparks. But yeah, I hadn’t spent any time, really, in any of those little towns. And then when I went up north to do the ones in Santa Jose and Stockton, my wife and I decided to turn that into a family trip, so we saw a family in San Francisco, Pacifica. And then we also went to see the San Francisco Giants play in their stadium, and also stayed at a nice hotel in downtown San Francisco for four nights. So it really was a nice vacation in a lot of different ways. But it also accomplished a part of the quest.
Scott: So by the time you finished, it sounds like you had changed your opinion of a quest…
Jeff: Very much so.
Scott: How do you feel about them now?
Jeff: So I am a guy who likes to return to my favorite places. But I like to discover new places, too. I’m trying to think about another quest (after I’m done moving). What is it that I would like to accomplish that would be really fun like the one was last year when I went to the ballparks—because literally every part of that was just a treat. It was really fun. So I’m still thinking about what that might look like. As well as, for example, I’m doing all of Route 66 in May—that’s kind of a quest, in way.
Scott: Definitely similar, yeah.
Jeff: That’s an example of something I’ll be doing. I’m thinking about other things, as well, because I think they’re good motivators. And again, I think they will take me to places that I would never otherwise go—places that I find interesting and enlightening and fun. So, you know, that’s a key part of the whole thing, too, Scott.
Scott: Yeah, that’s a big sense of it for me, too—that I wouldn’t make it to a lot of the places I went to (and had great times at) if I wasn’t kind of forced to because I had the quest I had to complete.
Jeff: Right, I wouldn’t even know about some of those places, you know what I’m saying? So that’s really fun.
Scott: So were there any other aspects of it that kind of surprised you? Or that really stood out as being something you liked best during that quest?
Jeff: Well, of course, it was just fun going to different communities and different baseball games. But what was really interesting was talking to people—like personnel working at the stadium or whatever—and telling them what my quest was, and having everybody go, “Wow, that’s so cool! I’ve gotta do that!”
It was kind of like there was this camaraderie and there was an appreciation from the people who work there, that what I was doing was kind of a neat thing. And so they were really helpful, and I think people went out of their way to be kind to me after they found out what it was I was doing.
I got emails from the ballparks later asking me how my experience was, and wanting to know about my blog post on it. So there was a real feeling of community that created as a result of it. I wouldn’t say I felt like a mini celebrity, but I certainly felt appreciated by the people who thought it was a cool thing. So that was kind of fun, too.
Scott: That’s awesome! Well, those are all the questions I had for you. Is there anything else you want to chat about related to this?
Jeff: Well, I really am thrilled about the [Go Questing Community]. I think it’s a marvelous thing. I think it’s going to give me more ideas. It’ll also give me an opportunity to share about some places I have been and maybe help some people out. Because I have done a lot of travel and I love it.
And so I think it’s going to be a marvelous group of folks who will take on lots of different and interesting kinds of quests. Some of which may be stimulating and motivating to me and inspiring me about what I want to do next. So I’m thrilled about participating with the community of folks that you’re generating there, Scott. So thank you for that.
Scott: Awesome, I appreciate that!
Thanks, Jeff, for telling us your story!
And also for your excitement about the Community.
Have any follow up questions for Jeff?
Add to the conversation in the Go Questing Community.
Photos credit: Jeff Hubbard