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.
Enduring memories include 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. And Rich navigating the canals in a small boat near the university town of Leiden, Netherlands.
I watched 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 and measured herself against a giant turtle. I remember her siping icy-cold coconut milk from a straw in the shell while I enjoyed a beer as we watched an amazing show of acrobatic birds diving, tumbling and climbing in unison over the water’s edge on a Galapagos island.
She he sampled a thick orange soup with me in Quito, Ecuador, sat on an Inca-era rock wall at the base of Ecuador’s Cotopaxi Volcano, and I remember her as a seven-year old quizzing 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.
I’ve run the Bay to Breakers in San Francisco with my daughter and two of my grandsons, and a cherished the opportunity to show them the city I love.
My oldest grandson Smith and I took a a camper-van baseball trip across the USA. We saw games in California, Nevada, Denver, and St Louis, and we visited Salt Lake City, and the Colorado Rockies National Park. I shared the fun of Spring Training in Scottsdale, Arizona with Tallis (the youngest grandson) and visited Disney World with Carson, the middle boy in the family.
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.