One of my first travel memories is from when I was 2 years old. My mom took me on my first plane ride to visit my great-grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins in Rhode Island. Living in Las Vegas, that’s a cross country trip- probably about 5 to 6 hours direct at the time. Honestly, I don’t remember if it was non-stop or direct. I do, however, remember being on the plane. The sun was shining through the windows and casting an orangey glare across the seats. I remember standing up in my seat, binky in my mouth, and playing with the friendly gentleman sitting behind me, who had brown curly hair and a mustache. Once in Rhode Island, I remember playing in the grass. The weather was different there. It was warm and sunny, the perfect conditions to play outside, and actually enjoy being outside, unlike the excessive heat waves that keep desert dwellers locked inside with the A/C cranked up.
Though those memories are vague, but still prominent, the ones of the summers following that brought me back to Rhode Island, are the ones that stand out the most. Obviously, every year, I was getting older and able to experience more and, of course, remember more. Like how the houses were built, and the backyards all kind of ran into each other. There were forests and ponds in the middle of neighborhoods and my cousins and I would leave for the day and not come back until the sun went down. We would swim in the pond and try to catch turtles. Sometimes we would get to ride in the speedboat, or hang on to an inflatable tube while being dragged through the water. Dinners would consist of cook-outs and clam bakes. Everything happened outside. I wasn’t used to this. At home, we were not allowed to roam around the neighborhood on our own. It was too hot to go outside after 10am, so we had to get our outdoor playing done in the early hours of the morning, or once the sun went down in the evening. Sometimes, it was even too hot to swim in our pool. We would BBQ for sure, but dinner was eaten inside at the dining room table. Though I didn’t mind it, I also noticed there was a distinct difference in life in a city versus life anywhere else.
School was another huge influence on my interest in life and other worlds outside of my bubble of Las Vegas. The more I learned about history and art, the more I couldn’t wait to see it all in real life. My French classes just made me itch more to get out and see as much as I could. In 6th grade, we started learning about Anne Frank and World War II. I couldn’t get enough about the conditions of war, how people lived, how this could truly happen and why. It wasn’t enough for me to just read about it, I needed to see it. I had to be there first hand to witness the historical remnants of what was left. I had to stand where Anne Frank hid, and look out the same window into the world that was no longer hers to explore. I needed to see that these Concentration Camps and Works Centers were real. I wanted to be where Hitler marched his troops through Berlin. I wanted to see the Berlin Wall! I was fascinated by the fact that a simple wall kept people out of the Western world and only 12″ from freedom. And, where was this magical palace of Versailles and the Place de la Revolution where Marie Antoinette was beheaded? This naked statue of David? The roots of my religion in Jerusalem, and the head of the church in the Vatican City? Greek and Roman mythology also intrigued me to the point that I was curious if Ulysses left anything behind that I could discover. The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Mona Lisa’s smile, the Eiffel Tower, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace? And, stop me with the museums! I wasn’t going to settle for pictures in books, I wanted to take my own.
Because of this intense desire to see the world, I had to travel. Lucky for me, my parents had taken me to many places along the East coast at an early age: New York City, Boston, and Providence, and all over California, Arizona and Utah. In high school, I had opportunities to visit NYC and Washington, D.C.. At graduation time, when most of my friends were planning a Senior trip to Mexico, my parents quickly put the kabosh on that idea. So, I presented them with one offered through my school. A 17-day tour through the south of Europe. Starting in Madrid, Spain, and ending in Athens, Greece. I would miss some of my most desired destinations like Paris, London, Amsterdam and Germany, but I would be in Europe. Physically standing in Europe. One of our school counselors would chaperone the trip, and I would be exploring Spain, France, Italy and Greece with one of my best friends. It turned out to be one of the most amazing trips in my life, and the travel bug bit me even harder. I couldn’t wait to get back.
One of the reasons for choosing the University of San Diego for my college experience, was for the strong study abroad program available to students in good academic standing their Junior year. Again, I couldn’t wait for my chance, and this time, with a minor in French, I was headed straight to France. What I thought was unfortunate at the time, Paris was not offered as an exchange program. I was forced to take my semester in Aix-en-Provence, in the South of France. This changed my world. The provencal life in Aix was exactly what I needed to cultivate my need to drink in all the culture of the French. A slower, personable, more laid back lifestyle awaited me. Lavender fields, followed by sunflower fields, lined with olive groves painted the most picturesque atmosphere you could imagine. The food was divine. The people were beautiful. Since we were so close to Marsaille, I found a travel buddy and took advantage of our long weekends to travel everywhere we possibly could. The next summer, we met up in Europe again, and conquered the rest of the map, including East Germany, The Czeck Republic, Austria and Hungary. I made it to London several times as well.
Since I have been married, my husband and I travel as much as we can. Not as easy as it was now with the added burden of financial responsibilities and our growing brood of 4. He also understands the importance of travel in my life, and how I want it to be a necessary factor in my children’s lives as well. When we first met, he took me to Telluride, Colorado. I had never been, and didn’t think I was much of a mountain person until I spent time with him there. We also road tripped through Nevada, stopping along the way to photograph the unusual and rural life that I had never really seen or noticed before. We visited his great-aunt’s home in Lake Tahoe, another great aunt in Roswell, New Mexico followed by a quick overnight stay in Santa Fe. My parent’s purchased a second home in Dana Point, California, where we have spent many summers and off-season months exploring Laguna Beach, San Clemente and visiting friends in San Diego and Los Angeles. As a new couple we would visit Hawaii every Spring. Our honeymoon found us in Bali, Indonesia and throughout Thailand for three weeks. My 30th birthday was spent on Anguilla in the British West Indies. A few trips to Cabo San Lucas sprinkled in between. As you can see- we married the right people. Our kids have been to some pretty impressive US cities, and we have more planned for them. I love taking them as much as I can to as many places as possible. I want them to be bitten, too.
Now, I’m approaching 40, and though I have seen many places, I still have a pretty extensive Travel Bucket List. Some things, if I don’t make it there, I will still be able to reflect on my life and say, “You done good.”. Others, I will feel the regret. So, am finally putting my list out to the universe. I am making it even more real by giving it a place to live on my site. It is organized by “Need To Go” and “Would Like To See”. I figured I have another good 20 years to start crossing these places off my list where I can really enjoy and explore. OK, maybe 30. It’s my goal to see as many of these places as I can within the next 30 years. What’s on your Travel Bucket List? Do you have one?
One way that helps me dream and plan my next bucket list trip is to live vicariously through some of the world’s best travel writers and bloggers. Click below to see if any of the locations made your list.
Wednesdays Wish You Were Here : Savannah by Hines-Sight Blog
La Prince Maurice in Mauritius – Paradise for Kids- Constance Hotel Review by Luxury Travel Mom
Desert Safari in Dubai, Anyone? by Chamorrow Chica
Experiencing the Magic of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland by Skimbaco Lifestyle
The Amazing Taj Mahal :: Old Jerusalem :: Why I Hated My Trip To Egypt by Where’s Sharon
Hogmanay for Families with Young Kids by Travel Turtle
Scottish Castles are a Dream Vacation for Families by Tips for Family Trips
Cuba from the Heart :: Tea and Geishas by Mira Travel Blog
Visiting the Heart of Burgandy’s Wineland by Wandering Educators
Walking Through the Streets of Philadelphia by Travelogged