Travel the World from Your Doorstep

Wisconsin’s first public school teacher, Electa Quinney.

Traveling is a real pain in the tail. Even people who love traveling don’t like the moving part. Planes, trains and automobiles are a necessary part of traveling. Without transportation you can’t get from here to there.

People claiming to enjoy travel really are saying they like to experience other places and new people. Not me. I hate the moving part and I’m always a bit uncomfortable in strange surroundings. Believe it or not, people make me nervous!

All this said, I travel waaaaaay more than I care to. I travel for business mostly. In the last five years every trip from home had a business purpose except for the eclipse this summer. That’s it. This blog has increased my travel to record levels! And as soon as I was given an excuse I cut loose and ran.

Now I’m planning Camp Accountant. Yes, it means I’ll be traveling again. But at least I have control over the flow. And when it overwhelms I’ll find an excuse to crawl back into the hole from whence I crawled from.

When I do travel I am a keen observer. While people make me uncomfortable, I find the creatures entertaining as they scramble through their lives searching for something they’ll never find.

I AM a social animal, however. It never takes long for me to roll up my sleeves and start a conversation. My work requires I know my client. My habit is to know people. I ask lots of questions and tell lots of stories. Thank god you guys reading this are only a computer screen where I can talk without the nervousness of an alien environment.

And when I talk (and sometimes listen) I notice something strange. It’s clear to me the people talking to me don’t even know what they are saying! When visiting a new area Mrs. Accountant and I check out zoos and museums. Sometimes we hike the outback or some other mentally stimulating activity. When I mention our plans the most common response is, “We’ve never been there.”

Say what!

It seems locals rarely enjoy the advantages of their own community. Travelers visit and enjoy all the good stuff a community has to offer. Yet the locals are aware of the institutions and entertainment venues, but rarely imbibe.

Call Me a Crazy Local

My ideal vacation is a twenty minute drive from my home or office. When I’m done vacationing at the end of the day I want to sit on my own couch, read a book and sleep in my own bed.

Here is the best part. There are so many things to see within striking distance of my home I couldn’t see it all if I took a five year sabbatical! And I live out in the boondocks! I can only imagine what’s available for you, kind readers.

Here is a short list of things twenty minutes or less from my home or office (and I only scratched the surface):

High Cliff State Park, Brillion Wildlife Area, and the Killsnake Wildlife Area for the outdoor lovers. My office is next to Heckrodt Wetland Reserve; I hike there several days per week; it’s an awesome park. The Gordon Bubolz Nature Reserve is about a half hour drive from the office. If I want a day trip (an hour drive) I can enjoy the massive Horicon National Wildlife Refuge and the Kettle Moraine State Forest. Both have plenty of hiking trails. Kettle Moraine contains a large section of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

There is a historical society in many of the small towns of the area with plenty of interesting stuff to examine.

Appleton is loaded with museums. Several are a part of or next to Lawrence University or the UW extension. The History Museum at the Castle, Hearthstone House (the first central hydroelectric power station to operate in the U.S. invented by Edison operated here), The Trout Museum of Art (my oldest daughter’s favorite) and the Barlow Planetarium are among my favorites. The Weis Earth Science Museum is next to the planetarium; both are worth the price of admission. Weis is free to students and once upon a time to everyone. I still swing the admission fee because it is so worth it.

Zoos are less prevalent. Menominee Park Zoo in Oshkosh is a 40 minute drive and the New Zoo north of Green Bay is awesome. It’s like living in a big city without big city problems. Mulberry Lane Farm is one of many petting farms in the area where the kids (and mom and dad) can experience farm animals up close. They also have a pumpkin patch for family picking each autumn. We live less than five miles from Mulberry.

Heckrodt Wetland Reserve next to my office. I haunt the grounds often.

Then, if you search hard enough, you’ll find the downright strange facts about your community. Cemeteries are a wealth of information, history and pride. Two miles from my home is Portland Cemetery where Civil War veterans are buried. Portland is an old graveyard next to an old currently unused church. The land to the west of the cemetery belongs to my family. I grew up working the land next to Portland. It’s always held a special spot in my heart. I am humbled when I walk past faded gravestones of children who died after only a few days or years of life. At those moments I reflect on how lucky I am and how easy life is today.

Talking of cemeteries, Wisconsin’s first public school teacher, Electa Quinney, is buried in an Indian graveyard a few miles from my home. I find these facts intellectually stimulating as it connects me to my roots.

You Don’t Have to Travel far

Immanuel Kant is one of history’s greatest philosophers. My Stoic and minimalist nature is drawn to his strict daily routines. Kant was born in Konigsberg, East Prussia and never traveled beyond the city limits during his 79 years on this earth.

Electa Quinney is buried here. Notice you have to drive through a farmers yard to get to the cemetery.

You don’t need to travel the world to be worldly wise. Kant proved that. While I have a toxic reaction to traveling, even I am willing to travel beyond the city limits! But not by far. Maybe ten, perhaps twenty, feet or so if the weather is right.

You can see the world right in your own backyard! You can sit on a plane all day and experience less history than you could if you opened your eyes where you stand.

When Jim Collins visited Wisconsin earlier this year I was willing to travel an hour and a half for Conclave. Carl from 1500 Days and his friend, Brandon, joined us on that wet and cold weekend. On the way in they found a cemetery deep in the woods a short walk from Jim’s place. It was an interesting afternoon of learning local history of the Lake Michigan shore community of Oostburg. It seems I’m not alone in these local adventures.

We close with my favorite travel of all; the kind of traveling I can’t get enough of. Best of all there are no airports or highways.  I enjoy this kind of travel nearly every day with a warm beverage. I travel thousands of miles and more and even through time to speak with the greatest minds the human race has ever known.


Keith Taxguy, EA

Keith started his tax practice in 1982 and went full-time in 1989. An enrolled agent (licensed tax professional) since 1992, Keith has focuses on helping businesses and individuals pay the least amount of tax allowed by law.


  1. Mike at Balanced Dividends on December 8, 2017 at 7:04 am

    Interesting point re: travelers hitting the sites vs. the locals who usually do not. It’s likely the same in most places. I live in downtown Chicago; we go site-seeing when family or friends are visiting. I spent 2 weeks in London for work last year, and my UK colleagues walked by castles and other places that are hundreds of years old every day without ever being in them.

    Your local list of places within 20 minutes of your home is still impressive. And agreed on your last point – books remove the time spent moving. Overall, it’s funny how the quicker modes of transportation are often the least comfortable (at least in terms of space): fly in a plane for 20+ hours in a small seat or take a ship for a few weeks to get to the same place?

    • Keith Schroeder on December 8, 2017 at 8:24 am

      Mike, my impressive local list only scratches the surface. Every community has oodles of stuff to see and do. No traveling required.

  2. Jover on December 8, 2017 at 7:18 am

    Staycation for the win! Helps that I live in a place that other people save all year to be able to come visit (Fort Myers, FL). I’m a 2-3 hour drive from pretty much the whole Florida peninsula (excluding the Keys). So much to do and see, without popping $$ for the flying school bus.

    • Keith Schroeder on December 8, 2017 at 8:24 am

      And you’re not exhausted before you get there, Jover.

  3. Joe on December 8, 2017 at 10:56 am

    We visited many local attractions when we first moved to Portland. After 4-5 years, we saw most of them and slacked off for a long time. Now that we have a kid, we’re starting to visit the local attractions again. It’s fun to show our son all these things. Long distance travel is fun too, but we usually only go once or twice per year. I agree, long distance transportation sucks.

  4. Jeff on December 9, 2017 at 6:45 am

    “Killsnake” … what a name! Haha.

    PS. I bought a copy of Hit Man off eBay.

    • Keith Schroeder on December 9, 2017 at 7:56 am

      Yes, Jeff, I grew up on a road called Killsnake. The creek running through our family farm is also called the Killsnake. I was honest about living in the Boondocks.

      Bodies better not start showing up.

  5. Andy on December 9, 2017 at 7:48 am

    We spend a lot of time in Minocqua Wisconsin in the summer. We fish, swim, kayak and bike. We enjoy the tourists that come from all over the world. We’re looking forward to it already.

    • Keith Schroeder on December 9, 2017 at 7:57 am

      Andy, I love it when people travel to see me! It’s the reverse I am reluctant to do.

  6. Margin of Saving on December 9, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    You make a great point. When it’s close by, you feel like you can go whenever, so you never do. But if you’re paying thousands of dollars to travel somewhere, you want to get your money’s worth.

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