In a very loose sense, one could say that I’m a world traveller. At least, my parents and friends think so..I certainly never set out to be and I didn’t shy away from seeing the globe-I simply never thought of it when I was a kid. Those were the days when all a girl thought about was how old she would be before she met Mr. Right, and which career to choose-teaching or nursing. Things today have undoubtedly opened up for women and trekking across Europe alone or lending a hand in a third-world recovery projects are a matter of course but for me, taking “trips” just sort of blossomed once I got married. The logical question here would be-was I running away from my spouse? Haha-no.
It all began when I had finished 2 grueling years of teaching special needs students in an inner-city school and I was burnt out. These kids had extreme emotional and behavioral issues and I was wiped out that summer. I hadn’t seen my older brother in quite some time, and as he was living in Japan teaching english, my husband thought that a visit out of the country would do me some good. What I didn’t know at the time I booked my trip was that my brother was going to be in Canada for most of the duration of my trip and that I would be alone in a foreign country. I have to say, that this was a MAJOR roadblock for me. I had always let others lead and take care of me. I didn’t know if I had what it took to survive the unknown and I was really scared. Once I arrived and realized that I had to be my own advocate, I started to rise to the occasion. I traveled around the main island, visiting major cities and landmarks, temples, gardens and staying in hostels while waiting for my brother’s return. While there, I learned the culture, took part in customs and ceremonies and really just expanded my horizons. From there , I went to Hong Kong and a took a short trip into China- a real eye-opener and very different from Japan.
That trip, where I had to rely on my own ability to communicate in a foreign country-namely through gestures, opened the door to a wanderlust that hasn’t really stopped. The island vacations began and although I really enjoyed them, I didn’t think I was seeing the world. I have recently abandoned tropic vacations ( Cayman islands tops my list as the trip of choice) and replaced them with exploration of many of the major cities in the world-Barcelona, Rome, Paris, Munich, Vienna, Nice, Athens,London, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Dallas, Atlanta, and San Fransisco among others. As my taste for vacation type has changed, so too has my interest in what the vacation has to offer. I would now opt to visit the Masters in the major art galleries of the world ( and I have seen many famous works) as well as visit opera houses, historical estates (Blenheim palace-WOW!) and tour the city by foot, to glean the flavor of it’s people-their spirit, their energy and vision. The beautiful thing about life is that you never know how a profound experience can affect subsequent choices and had I not been “forced” into relying on my own strengths and abilities in a strange country without family or friends to guide me , I never would have developed the trust within myself- that I had everything I needed to weather 2 months alone. I feel that I must someday return to Europe and spend a significant amount of time there, especially in Britain- land of my ancestors and one that holds a strong and soulful connection for me. And my life would not be complete without an extended visit to Australia and New Zealand.
Oh, I can’t wait-I just need to run down to the corner and buy myself a lotto ticket and make my future travels a reality!
First up in my travel series…the Cotswalds of England.