So how did this love of travel come about? And all the other things?
As usual, it starts with my parents.
We were encouraged to explore, and we took driving vacations each year to visit my grandparents (10+ hours in a station wagon, I had to stake out my own space from my 2 brothers). But we went well beyond that – to New England, to the beach, to Cape Hatteras, up into Canada. By the time I was 11, we’d been to all the states in the Northeast, plus Virginia and North Carolina.
Heck, Dad sometimes just drove us around the DC Beltway as a Sunday drive – 60-ish miles… back before the Beltway was so clogged with traffic that it’s a frustration rather than fun. Or maybe up to Winchester, VA – for lunch at the old Holiday Inn (the building is now nearly vacant and abandoned). Sometimes we’d stop at the old dairy school at University of Maryland in College Park for fresh ice cream (to this day, ice cream is weakness of mine… oh, I wish Gifford’s was still around).
But the travel bug really took off when my parents decided that I was old enough to go with my dad on an airplane (or two) as he settled affairs following the loss of my grandfather. I got my Junior Pilot wings and everything!
In the Boy Scouts, we didn’t just pack up and go to the local camp. Oh, no, we took one “fun” trip a year, and one “work” trip a year. Most of the dads were used to travel, many were ex- or active military, so we went places like Disney World as our fun trips.
Well… one thing led to another and the travel bug hit me bad. Yeah, we would watch the planes from the observation deck at National Airport, but I wanted to be up there ^ going somewhere. A car was but a mere substitute. So now, decades later, I’ve owned several cars and driven them all over 100,000 miles, I learned to fly and owned my own airplane for many years, been to all 50 US states and dozens of countries (more still to go)…. and then there is the hoard of frequent flyer miles I’ve accumulated (and are burning through now).
I like to think the “bug” is in my genes because my dad loved to travel (he joined the Navy in college as an officer and saw the world during and after WWII), but realistically it was probably the environment in which I was raised.
There are so many stories, but all in due time. My message to those raising kids: encourage them to explore. Find that last Calvin and Hobbs comic strip – and embrace the idea of exploring.