I blame it all on my Mother; my love of travel, desire to wander, and need for escape from everyday life. Right from the start she made me believe that all dreams were attainable if one worked hard enough, and she helped me fall head-over-heels in love with the world.
Growing up, we didn’t have the money to take big overseas vacations, and with an age difference of six and a half years between me and my younger brother, travel wasn’t always easy. Instead, we focused on exploring our native country with road trips along the East Coast of the United States. Sometimes along the way, we’d make a wrong turn or get a little lost, and my Mom would always say, “Don’t worry, we’re not lost, we’re on an adventure.”
Those words alone were enough to inspire the wanderer inside of me, but it would be many more years before my wandering of the world would begin.
Instead, at a very early age, I was encouraged to explore the world I lived in and to use my imagination and creativity. My parents signed me up for art lessons, dance classes, singing lessons, and drama classes. I played soccer, basketball, tennis, and was a cheerleader. I learned how to ski, snowboard, rollerblade, roller skate, and for years, I lived on my bike. I tried it all and was constantly curious.
And, my curiosity grew with each trip around the country that we would take. We visited the early settlements and battle fields, the White House and museums, explored Boston, and were always in New York City. My thirst for knowledge began to grow, and I wondered what was outside the world I lived in, and I yearned for the chance to explore foreign lands.
I didn’t want to listen to lectures about the Roman Empire, I wanted to see what was left of it. I didn’t want to watch videos about Ancient Egypt, I wanted to see the pyramids with my own eyes. I didn’t want to read Shakespeare, I wanted to see where he lived when he wrote his famous plays and sonnets. I couldn’t just sit in a classroom and understand the world outside of America, I wanted to be there. I wanted to experience it.
Eventually those opportunities came, and with each one, my parents encouraged me to go out into the world. Seeing travel as providing invaluable knowledge, they were my biggest cheerleaders. They still are. Even when people think I’m crazy, my parents could not be more proud of my desire to see the world, and when asked if they are worried about me, they know that I can take care of myself because they taught me how to. They taught me not to be afraid. And, they taught me that there’s nothing wrong with getting a little lost along the way.
And so, when it is my time to start a family of my own, I plan on raising children who will also have a love of the world. I will encourage and support their goals and dreams, and I will take them around the world with me because I truly believe, even as a teacher, that there is no better education than to see the world and learn about what life is really like in other countries. Travel can reduce stereotypes, eliminate fears, and enable one to grow. With those as just some of the results, who wouldn’t want their children to travel?
For me, travel has been life-changing. I have a better understanding for the world around me and a deeper appreciation for all of the cultures of the world. I have fallen completely in love with the people and countries on this planet, and that’s all my Mom’s fault for showing me that life is nothing if it isn’t an adventure.
This post is part of BootsnAll’s Indie Travel Challenge 2012.
Week eighteen’s topic: This week we’re talking about family travel – and in particular, your memories of traveling with your family when you were a kid. What is your earliest childhood memory of traveling with your family? Did your family encourage travel? Did any of those family trips inspire your adult life as a traveler?