I'd love to say I was always a traveller, born with a backpack and jetting around the world from a young age, a multicultural polyglot with worldy penpals and different schools like a military brat. But my life didn't start that way at all. I grew up in a relatively small city in the Southern United States to parents who, though they travelled quite a bit themselves as time went on, never really took me anywhere exciting in my childhood or formative years. We'd take those precious two weeks of vacation to visit either set of grandparents, a journey that involved either a nine or fourteen hour car ride in either direction. Just them, me and the dog.
So it might surprise you to hear that the who in my inspiration story are these two people. They made up for it all later on in life, my father taking me to Europe for the first time when I was 19. It was incredible. I'd never been anywhere so cultured or fascinating before and I became instantly hooked on the continent, a place where I would eventually come to live. After that, the travel tap flowed: I went to Singapore to spend a couple of months with him while he was working there and we went to Thailand and Indonesia together. My mother and I took trips to California, France and the British Virgin Islands. Dad and I spent almost three weeks in Spain one year as well.
But they inspired me long before they took me anywhere. My father's work took him all over the world when I was growing up. He did long stints in places I didn't even know existed: South America, Turkey, China, Saudi Arabia and the state of Washington. Of course, the older I got, these places did eventually hit my radar; as a teenager I was determined to get out in the world someday and see it all. He'd bring me t-shirts, leather goods, jewelery and souvenirs from every place he visited and I kept a collection of global trinkets in my room, many of which I still have today.
My mother also loved travel, more in her later years but it was never too late. As a child she had moved around the United States quite a bit and chose a more settled life when I was growing up. But as soon as I went off to university she was suddenly out in the world, flying to Europe and the Caribbean or her beloved California. By the time I finished school I had itchy feet as well, picking up and moving over 4,000 kilometres from Miami to San Francisco where I didn't know a soul. My nomadic adventures had begun.
A third person who inspired me to travel is my husband. I met him on a practically spur of the moment trip, the first international trip I'd ever taken without my parents. I took a break with friends to Crete, where we were supposed to spend a few days and then head to Germany for Oktoberfest and on to Italy after that. John was our roommate in the dorm we'd been assigned and he'd travelled and worked all over Europe on his own before ending up by himself at the same hostel as me. The rest is history but his entertaining stories from the road and some of the other people we met on that fateful trip (my first real backpacking experience) really got me thinking about how much was out there that I hadn't seen yet - and who!
A post to inspire you: Are Some of Us Meant To Wander?
Any little thing can get me interested in a place. Sometimes I read about a quirk of its people like Icelanders believing in elves, or a dish I taste that's from somewhere exotic and it makes me decide that I have to go there. Reading really gets me motivated to travel because today so many people are writing about destinations and with the internet we get to hear from voices beyond just guidebook authors and the usual travel columnists. I'm also inspired by other forms of media like television: watching nature shows has made me determined to get to Africa someday.
A post to inspire you: Ascending the Beast: What Our Volcan Villarrica Climb Reminded Me About Life
France. Somewhere along the Rue Mouffetard I decided I just had to spend more time in Europe. It was probably something I ate or a conversation I had with my father over dinner about this or that. I can't really remember. But Paris and the visits that followed to other parts of the country really set my imagination off. It's probably the food or the passionate nature of the people, or perhaps the gentle humming of the boats along the river Seine. I think the most intriguing places are those for which you just can't put your finger on the reason why, n'est-ce pas?
A post to inspire you: A Day Out In the Swiss Alps
Now. That saying "today is the first day of the rest of your life" might have come from a sketchy 1960's drug rehabilitation program, but you don't have to be in crisis to believe in it. I may get inspired by the places and people of my past but that doesn't sustain me for very long. I feel I've only scratched the surface with the little travel I've done and my only concern about completing my destination wish list is how much time I have to see all the places on it. I'm always on the lookout for a chance to travel. It's in my blood. I hope this post has inspired you to start thinking about it and get out there too.
A post to inspire you: Bozcaada: Turkey's Island of Wine
This post is my entry for the easyJet Holidays Inspiration Initiative.