I come from a big family, and we traveled a pretty impressive amount for our large numbers. When I was little, we owned a Volkswagen bus that my dad had taken the benches, rotated them 90 degrees and bolted back so they lined the sides and faced each other. The VW symbol was flipped upside down.
We went to the Outer Banks in North Carolina frequently and once a year did a trip to Florida, typically to Disney World. Once the first minivan came out, our trips got upgraded and we hit the Florida Keys and did ski trips. I also got to ride the train and do at least an annual trip to Washington DC or New York City. This sense of wanderlust was ingrained in me early. I remember one thing that I really loved the most was when we’d travel far enough that the weather shifted or that the trees/scenario changed. I loved trying new foods and remember my first tastes of raw oysters on the half shell, sea conch soup, a real Ruben sandwich, and on and on.
I started working around 16 and saved my money and started going on solo trips. I do appreciate that my parents let me fly, take the car or ride a train solo throughout high school. As long as I checked in, paid for it myself and didn’t have any problems, I was allowed to keep doing these trips.
When I reached college and needed to pick a career, I knew I loved to travel. I tried to come up with a career where someone else would pay for me to travel the world. I wanted to see it all. So Political Science with a concentration in International Relations seemed the most likely. During college, I got to study abroad in France and did a humanitarian trip to Honduras. Immediately following graduation, I headed to Europe and backpacked for three months and went to 15 countries. My wanderlust has only grown and spread since then.
When I take a moment to slow down and appreciate my life, I feel so spoiled. I live in Belgium. Last week, I spent part of it in Italy, and now I’m on a plane to the US for a few days. It never gets old. Even returning to the same races or same places doesn’t feel redundant. I get excited about a little reflection of familiarity that’s mixed in with the hope of a new restaurant or adventure.
One day this will all slow down, and I want to be a place that I embrace that when it happens. Until then, I’m going to go big and always say yes to the extra glass of local dessert Sicilian wine that the waiter tells me I must try or extend one of my work travels by a day or two (which rarely happens but I aim to do it when I can!) to wander around and explore. More is more.