It’s been a while since I last had an opportunity to sit down and write a post, but it’s for a very good reason. It really is, I promise! My wife and I have been in the process of moving to a whole new place to start a new chapter for our family. She’s gotten her dream job and I’m in the process of looking for mine (and will, hopefully, find it very soon). I’ve noticed over the last few weeks that I’ve been thinking about my family, my roots, and all of the different turns in my life that have brought me to this point. We’re excited about the opportunity to relocate and explore a whole new place, not as tourists, but as locals. We are both very alike in our love of travel. Happiness for us (when we’re not at home with our wonderful pets) is traveling to a new place and experiencing it as the locals do. That can mean eating foods that you’ve never heard of, sleeping in a room rented in someone’s home, or just getting lost in a new city and finding those great local places to eat and relax. Needless to say, we are excited about this move and the many opportunities to explore that it’s going to provide.
As I’ve already made clear, I love to travel. In the first part of this series of posts, I told you about my wonderful and dearly missed grandfather. He played a very important part in shaping my travel philosophy, but he was definitely not the only one. In this part, and in honor of Father’s Day, I want to introduce you to another person who is sadly not with us any longer, but who still managed to shape the way that I travel and my life: my dad. My mom always told me from the time that I was very young that my father always wanted a son. She would say that I was his pride and joy. According to her, he would come home after working a long day as an x-ray technician and would immediately scoop me up in his arms to spend time reading to me, playing, or just holding me. My mom has tons of pictures of my dad and I together, but the sad thing is that I don’t really remember them being taken. In 1983, my father was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease and, in less than a year, he died. My mom was left as a widow who was both mother and father to me. She’s an amazing woman who’s given me so much, but I’ll be featuring her in my next and final post for this series. This post is about my dad.
I’ve heard many stories about my father from my mother and they have had a huge impact on the person I’ve become, particularly when it comes to travel. From the time he graduated from high school, my father traveled as much as he could. Not long after graduation, he hopped on a plane to Venice and backpacked through Germany, the Netherlands, and eventually ended up in London. This trip was an inspiration to me when I was growing up. I would always think that if my dad could do that, I had to try it too. Within a year of returning from Europe my dad was off to Hawaii to tour Honolulu and walk around the volcano called Kilauea. After they were married my parents would take two weeks each year (usually in October) to drive across the country in my dad’s little white pickup truck to visit his brother in California. Along the way they would stop at the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, and many of the other wonderful places to visit across the United States. They continued this tradition until the year before he died.
Our parents are there to guide and direct us as we grow, helping us to become the best people we can. I feel that they’re also there to provide inspiration to us. They can inspire us to take up a certain hobby or to study a particular subject. For me, it came from hearing about past travel experiences and dreaming of having my own adventures. I certainly didn’t grow up during the age of exploration, but there’s still plenty of adventure to be found when traveling. I’m so grateful to my father for taking the travel photos that he did, bringing home the knickknacks that speak of the places he visited, and for being such an integral part of my life. Even though he was only alive for the first few years of my life, he has and still continues to be my dad.