We all have moments when the travel bug strikes. Even if we didn’t have a background in going places, we still get these wanderlust ideas in our heads. If I really think back, I know I would’ve loved to visit the Crayola factory that Mr Rogers featured in Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, or who wouldn’t love to see go to Sesame Street, whether on the TV set or to debark on a quest to find a real Sesame Street?
Dreamy wanderlust really struck me when I watched a Jane Goodall documentary. I was determined to be just like her, wandering in the depths of Africa observing animal behavior (I’d be the elephant watcher to her chimp observation title). Turned out science wasn’t my field, but the wandering in Africa, and everywhere else, was something that stuck with me.
I grew up taking family trips, too. Every summer my dad would round up the family and we’d shuffle into the motorhome and head off on a road trip to somewhere to create family memories and take lots of snapshots — Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, a whole list of landmarks, parks and popular tourist destinations. As we did this, we’d also add stickers of the contiguous US states that was proudly displayed on the spare tire cover on the rear of our big RV. All very cool, and all something that shaped my idea of getting out and seeing things first hand.
But when was the key moment when I really fell in love with travel? That’s a toughie because there was a progression of events. It’s probably my first time out of the country.
A Trip Across the Pond
When I was 14 and my sister got a scholarship as an exchange student in Germany, I had the opportunity to join my parents to visit her on her little sheep farm in Bavaria. It was incredible.
Everything about Germany was so different, but in some common themes of humanity, so similar to what I knew from my own pocket of the world in New Mexico. In addition to Deutschland, we cruised through Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France and Monaco. At the time, I was clueless of the schedule – what we were doing and where we were going for the most part. But it didn’t matter. I was there to observe and experience.
Everything amazed me. So much so, that I collected sugar packets and straw wrappers, simply because they were written in a foreign language.
Wow – I’d think. This straw says Trink Coca Cola instead of Drink Coca Cola, or this sugar packet says Zucker! Thrilling.
I’m not sure everyone gets as excited about these little details, but I sure did.
And of course, there were many more things that caught my eye in amazement. Delivery trucks saying “established in 1595” rather than the plumbing trucks I was used to seeing that boasted “Est. in 1979.” What a perspective change!
And there was also the most obvious things I couldn’t get enough of. The landscapes (the French Riviera really made an impression), the foods of Germany, the narrow cliffside roads en route to Monaco… the parades, the festivals, the mix of cultures. Love, love, loved it. So that’s the start of my adventures. And the many more to follow are what really made the impact. I’ll be sharing those with you soon!