I am one of those strange people who is infused with energy simply by the act of traveling. I enjoy airplanes and airports and my campervan. I enjoy sitting in parks and watching and meeting people. I enjoy conversations with strangers in coffee houses and pubs.
I enjoy walking the streets of cities with my eyes open and my ears tuned in so that I can soak up the sights and sounds of new places. I enjoy surprises and spontaneity, wandering and exploring.
I particularly treasure traveling with my grandchildren and watching them experience places, people, sounds, sights, smells and food that are entirely new to them. They seem to quickly migrate from apprehensive observation to eager engagement.
An enduring memory from last summer is of watching my son-in-law Rich play cricket with his boys in Hyde Park, and my daughter paddle boating with them in Regent Park while we sipped wine in the Boat House Café.
I have had the joy of watching my granddaughter Hunter dance with tribesmen and women in Kenya, and greet children in the Nairobi slum of Kibera and at an orphanage in the Rift Valley.
I was with her when she grieved over a sick baby seal in the Galapagos, measured herself against a giant turtle, and drank icy-cold coconut milk from a straw stuck through the shell while we sat in the shade on a Galapagos island. While she enjoyed her coconut and I sipped a beer we watched an amazing show put on by acrobatic birds as they dived, tumbled and climbed in unison over the water’s edge.
I was with her when she sampled a thick orange soup in Quito, Ecuador, sat on an Inca-era rock wall at the base of Ecuador’s Cotopaxi Volcano, and when she quizzed a ranger about the formation of a new volcanic island in Hawaii’s Volcano National Park. I snapped her picture when she posed like a fashion model in Paris, and watched her enjoy food that is foreign to her in the five countries we have visited together.
Later this week my grandsons will join me, my wife Kennon and daughter Suzanne in San Francisco for a run in the Bay to Breakers and time to explore the city I cherish. We will also journey down to San Luis Obispo and work our way back up the coast through Big Sur.
Later this summer grandson Smith and I will do a campervan trip across the USA to take in baseball games, and in late fall Kennon and I will be in Australia and New Zealand. Like Robert Louis Stevenson, my destination doesn’t matter to me as much as engaging the journey, particularly when I can do it with the people I love.