Saturday, April 16, 2011

Travel's contagious

I love to travel. My theme song should be "On the Road Again"

Happy Birthday, Willie!

I count myself so lucky that I have been to a majority of the United States. My favorites have been Colorado, California, and Massachusetts.  I get the itch to travel about now and it lasts until about November when I get too cold to want to go outside.

There is something about going somewhere else that makes me so happy. I love that feeling of seeing something I have never seen before, like a new kind of tree or something famous that I have only read about and imagined in my mind. Boston was like that. I had this image of what it would be like and it was really different. I had forgotten about the harbor. Jamaica was like that too.

I feel like I am a more tolerant person because I have been other places than my own backyard.  People have different concerns and issues in other parts of the country. Poverty is greater in some areas and less so in others. Attitudes about politics, religion and food are different everywhere and I have really benefited from being exposed to those that are different from mine.

Traveling comes naturally to my kids. They never complain about the trip and it is so amazing to point things out to them, such as the difference in the terrains of Tennessee and Texas (trees are shorter). They do not blink when boarding an airplane or subway and one of them is a master at reading maps. As they have gotten older and come home with stories from dealing with other kids, I realize that I am raising compassionate, tolerant children. I credit traveling for part of this.

Climbing the trees at the Texas state capital...pretty sure it is frowned upon.

As a kid, I loved it when my parents took me somewhere new. My parents were divorced, so I got the benefit of traveling with different personality types. I saw lots of quirky places and lots of national parks. Slept in tents and motels and loved every second of it. Seeing a saguaro cactus was just as exciting as filling the ice bucket at the Motel 6. I loved it all!

As an adult, I see these things a little differently. Motel 6 does not hold the same excitement that it once did (more like eww factor now) and I rarely sleep in a tent due to have a bad back. However, I am so excited whenever we go anywhere, whether it is a new city or a "resort cabin" in North Carolina. I still love it all. Having kids brings back some of those memories of being so excited to stay in a hotel. Mine go bonkers when we enter a hotel room, being so excited about the notepad and the television as if they have never seen one before.

My husband and  I decided before we got married that we would not have a big fancy house or  fancy cars . Instead we decided to travel. Life is a little different than we imagined and raising two kids changed our plans somewhat. We still don't have a fancy house or fancy cars.  But we do  try to squeeze travel in as much as possible and hope that our kids get that same wanderlust that we have. So far, so good.

On our fridge is a list of places we want to go called Dream Trips. Everyone  in our family has contributed to it. There are places as exotic as Chile (husband) and Scotland (oldest). But there are also place like Mackinac Island (me) and Colorado (youngest). We have collaborated on, dreamed of and planned for lots of family adventures together. I hope this continues even when my kids are grown.

We are biting at the chomp to hit the road...  and we will soon be heading to the beach.. and we will finally be...on the road again...

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