Some might call it wander-lust but I have always though of my desire to experience new places as no more than heightened curiosity. It began in childhood although I was never more a few hundred miles from home until I was 19. Previous to that age my visits to interesting and exotic places were only mental excursions while reading about them. Finding adventure in books was and still is a favorite diversion. As a boy my dreams and fantasies rescued me from the turmoil around me. In my adult life I am very grateful to have been able to take the child within to visit many of exciting and fascinating places once only dreamed about.
As resources would allow I began in my 20’s to branch out and experience the world. First time out of the country was to Cancun, Mexico when all area roads there were still dirt. As far as the eye could see there was one resort to stay at. Meeting people from all over the world at that Club Med was an eye opener, not the least of which was the clothes optional beach. Seeing the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza was an incredible experience at a time when few visited the site. Much that was open to visitors then is not longer accessible to the public.
Jamaica was the next experience. One of my first memories after arriving was being asked “do you want to buy some ganja mon?” just outside the airport. Being the summer/off season we were two of only four vacationing guests at our little hotel. However, this journey turned out to be a magical experience for my young wife and me. The establishment was owned by the American Consular whose daughter was getting married the week we were visitors. Outside of us tourists the remainder of the hotel was occupied by guests for the daughter’s wedding that we ended up getting invited to. Upon arrival we discovered the Saturday wedding was a big deal. The ceremony and reception was held at a large and beautiful mansion and attended by the Jamaican Governor along with a who’s who of island dignitaries. What an experience!
Over time my life was blessed with more visits to Mexico on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Nassau was a vacation destination at least three times and Canada many more times than that. In the 90’s there were business trips to Western and Eastern Europe and between then and now I have visited Europe for vacation nine or ten times.
In the good ole USA, I have been in all but two states (Utah and Alaska) and have lived in nine states. My travels have included visits to just about all major cities in our country. From New York and Chicago to LA and San Francisco; from Dallas and Miami to Minneapolis and Seattle; from Phoenix and Philadelphia to Boston and Baltimore and many more, I have been there. Just making that partial list causes me to pointedly see how lucky I have been. I am grateful!
In more recent years I have visited Costa Rica several times and at one point thought it was going to be home. Life took other turns, but who knows… maybe someday.
I have enjoyed no travel more than the trips with my son that we call our “grand adventures”. The year after his Mother and I separated it began with a two week trip to Peru. That is when the photo at the top of this page was taken. We could not see all the major Incan sites in one visit and ended going back. Our visits to South America included several countries with time spent in everywhere from the Andes Mountains to the Amazon Jungle and many places in between.
My son and I have since branched out to experience grand adventures in Europe, Canada, all around the United States and more. I am so grateful that even at the age of 28, my son still enjoys traveling with his “Pop”. We have great fun and there is no one I enjoy being with more than my boy! He’s cool, smart, well educated, very funny and entertaining (plus five years of Spanish has made the journeys to places with Spanish as a native language even more enjoyable). There is vast thankfulness within for my son.
Now as I am writing this day’s episode of the GoodMorningGratitude.com and focus my thoughts on my travels, I am immensely touched by gratefulness for all my good fortune. I am VERY lucky! Not only have I gotten to see and experience many wonderful and diverse places, I have also done so safely and without incident. While I am an experienced and seasoned traveler, it is multiple strokes of luck that no bad experience cast a shadow on any of my travels.
The trip I am most grateful for is the one when the photo at the start of this blog as taken. My then 17 year old son and I stayed a couple of days at Macchu Pichu. There is something mystical about that lofty place which I can’t explain in specifics. Many others I’ve talked to who have visited there say they too came away changed by the experience. The longer I take stock of things in my life to be grateful for the more of them I find. What a good life I am having!
The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. Saint Augustine