My Passport Envy
am addicted to travel the way some people are addicted to chocolate. I
love it, I crave it, and the more I have the more I want. From
the time I was a young child, my answer was always a resounding "yes!"
to the question, "Do you want to go?" ~ rarely waiting to find out what
the actual destination was before I was out the door.
surprise, then, as an adult, that I have never shied away from the
opportunity to see new sights, to embrace new adventures. I have always
envied those who referred oh-so-casually to their "trip to Italy" or
"we saw this in Brazil" or "when we went to Greece last summer". I
always dreamed of the day when I might own a passport filled with
unusual stamps in strange languages from far-away places, with all those
flavors and experiences and stories to tell.
And now I have that
opportunity. We are early retired with an eye to travel, and it is
what's on the menu for many days each month. I am fast becoming an
expert at living (comfortably) for weeks at a time out of just one small
suitcase, turning those hundreds of airport and airplane hours into
productive time well-spent, and even ferreting out a healthy meal or two
on the way to our destination.
It is our custom to take a
month long trip in the spring, and another in the fall (give or take a
week or two, depending on the country).
international trips, we travel extensively in the US. Even local
destinations can be exotic, as we try to see each city with fresh eyes,
looking for what makes it unique, and what makes it's personality shine.
Our philosophy of travel is simple. We would rather see less
and experience more. We don't want to just stick our toes in the
water, we want to dive fully in. We don't rush. We try to make a
connection, not just get a check-mark. We like to eat local cuisine at
local bistros with the people who live there (Florence /
Prague / Kyoto). We linger over our morning coffee (preferably on the
street somewhere) and people-watch before plunging ourselves into the
fray for the day (Venice / Sydney / Vienna).
We would rather spend a day in the jungle with the elephants (Chiang Mai) than be focused on what some travel list or book or blog or show said we should be doing.
We love to wander the local markets. We also take a
cooking class in each country, so we can share that culture with an
international dinner ( Italian, Thai, Hungarian, and Japanese) for
family and friends back home. Food speaks delicious volumes about a
country, and one of our travel rules is to eat local cuisine as much as
possible ~ even if it is strange for us to see salad served at breakfast
(Japan) or after the meal is finished (Italy), or to have a huge dill
pickle stuffed with sauerkraut (Hungary) served with every meal.
book everything ourselves, 'cause that's half the fun for us. We find
that we are well acquainted with our destination through all that
research, and our trips are completely customized to us ~ and, as a
result, we have an amazing time, every time.
But whether big or
small, at home or abroad, I just have to see what's around the bend in
the road, what's over the next mountain, what's just beyond the border ~
almost within reach, but not quite. It calls to me. It sings to me.
I'm addicted to the adventure we call travel.
So grab your
passport ~ or just borrow mine! ~ and come along ~ come travel with
me! We'll head off to distant horizons, where there are saffron
sunsets and elephants to ride, where three generations of family have
been serving succulent roast pig at a little outdoor cafe every single
night for more years than anyone can count (Tuscany). Where you can put
your toes in the sand (Hawaii), enjoy some delicious fresh local
cuisine (Everywhere), and try to figure out how in the world those
toilets flush (The Golden Triangle of Thailand / Laos / Burma).
To sensational destinations where the people are warm and wonderful, the
customs are unique, the signs are translated into various degrees of
hilarity, and the ripe fruit of adventure is just waiting to be plucked
from the vine. Come travel with me ~ I'll take you there!