Why I Travel
I love to travel.
Travel is my drug of choice. Thinking of a new place to visit, planning the next trip, dreaming up interesting or unusual places is my kind of fun!
Growing up my Dad had 3 weeks off in the summer. Week one was going somewhere, camping along the way. Week two was at a professional conference of some kind – my dad was my high school principal. Week three was coming home. These are the road trips from the 60s and 70s that you hear about with 3 kids in the back seat of a station wagon that hopefully had air conditioning. Sharing the seat with an older brother and younger sister was a constant struggle – for the 3 of us and for mom who tried to ride herd as much as possible.
Neither of my folks grew up with much and didn’t travel a lot. Travel was their way to enhance our education, broaden our horizons and spend quality time together in a station wagon. My mom planned the road trip part, sometimes with AAA help, and worked hard to make sure that we saw a lot of the United States. Do you know how tall Sioux Falls are? Do you know how cold the streams from the Rockies are when you have to go in barefoot to pan for gold? Do you know how strong the winds are in Cody, WY at night? We learned the answers to those and more questions in our years of vacationing together.
With both parents in teaching and three kids to raise most of our early vacations were to relatives. My two grandmothers lived 4 and 8 hours away from Lombard, IL where I grew up. Dad’s two sisters moved: one around central Illinois and the other from Columbus, OH to St. Charles, MO to Gainesville, FL. Needless to say the last move to Gainesville was great because of the proximity to Disney World.
It was with great excitement that we headed west from the Chicago area on a trip that was NOT going to see relatives! Another major point of our vacations was saving money when ever possible. So my parents resorted to camping in a tent. That slept 5. It was tight quarters. Of course neither of my parents camped growing up, so our first campsite was outside Rapid City, SD at a KOA Campground. We went to town for Shakey’s Pizza – a real treat as they had sing-alongs and lots of soda pop – and returned to find out it had rained. Really hard. The tarp that went below the tent was laid incorrectly and all of our sleeping bags and suitcases were soaked. Dad and my brother bit the bullet and slept in the tent. Mom, my sister and I were able to sleep in the dry car. Lesson learned.
After a few years with the tent, we graduated to a StarCraft pop-up trailer. We had more room, could stay dry more easily and carry even more things with us. Like metal pie pans for gold panning. When my parents graduated to a 26’ trailer to pull behind a Chevy Suburban, I told them camping with them was no longer of interest to me as it wasn’t ‘real camping’ – read that as ‘an uncomfortable struggle to enjoy nature’. Mom grew up on a farm and could drive pretty much anything – so she did the campsite driving to position the trailer. She also drove our rig down Lombard Street in San Francisco, CA! Dad was at the bottom taking pictures.
All of these trips developed a sense of wanderlust in me. I loved following our trip on the Rand McNally Road Atlas or the AAA TripTik. Funny town names. Mountains. National Parks. Clear mountain air. Salty beach breezes. The Atlantic. The Pacific. The Rockies. Fabulous. Of course we were kids, so we whined and complained some, but it was exciting to see something new. We had kumquat fights at the Jolly Roger hotel on Treasure Island, FL. We stayed in a dorm at the Colorado University – Boulder campus during a conference. We stood at the corner of Haight & Ashbury Streets in 1970 and thought we were so cool.
Travel teaches us a lot about ourselves. Seeing new places, interacting with new people and once I started traveling overseas, hearing new languages and seeing new cultures helped me to appreciate what I had. Travel taught me to appreciate home. Many trips we would arrive home late at night and we could slide into bed with fresh sheets. Before leaving on a trip, Mom made us put clean sheets on – smart girl, our mom! But it was also nice to slide into our routine at home and hang out with our friends. Travel broadened my horizons. There is always something new to see or learn or do. New friends to make along the way. Once I started traveling overseas, I also deepened my appreciation for the United States of America. How lucky we are to have such a great country!
This website to share my joy of travel and the fabulous places I have had to pleasure to visit. See you out on the road!