A friend recently mentioned she was going to Cancun, Mexico. I told her that I had been there when the resort first opened in the late 70’s. Knowing I like to travel, she said, “Wow, you’ve been an adventurer all your life!” That surprised me. I had never considered myself “an adventurer,” but, looking back, I guess its true. So here’s my origin story.
My Dad was an explorer. He didn’t go far, but he explored nature to the fullest. He loved every flower, every rainbow, and every mountain. He cherished all wildlife from the tiny pica to the massive moose.
He loved photography and he loved the outdoors. He loved to discover new territory and see new views. I learned to love these things with a passion equal to his.
My Mom also had an adventurous spirit. She traveled internationally only once in her lifetime, BUT, she traveled solo. Pretty brave for a shy farm girl.
I was also painfully shy as a child, but three things occurred that set me on a path to mastering the shyness. First, I voluntarily took a speech class in high school and survived. Second, my sophomore yearbook photo wasn’t too bad; way better than my self-image at the time. And third, as an adult, I became actively involved in my church where I felt cherished, loved, and empowered to act with authority.
The untethered freedom of college allowed my adventurous nature to blossom. As a freshman at a midwestern university, I heard of an internship program in Washington, D.C. Ooooh, that sounded like fun! I applied and off I went – all by myself to a city I’d never been to before.
After college, I read an advertisement for a new resort offering spectacular hotel/airfare promotions – Cancun, Mexico. I mentioned it to a friend and, again, off we went. This was before cell phones or internet. It must have been quite a challenge for my parents to let me travel without any way of contacting me. (I wouldn’t let my kids do that.)
Then there’s the adventure of marriage. Why would an adventurer take the traditional route? I met my husband at a two-week seminar. At the end of the two weeks he proposed, I accepted. I flew back home to plan a wedding and we were married 8 weeks later. (I had to wait 8 weeks for the wedding dress to be delivered).
If that wasn’t adventurous enough, immediately following the wedding we drove from my home in the midwest to San Francisco where we lived until my husband finished his Ph.D.
When he finished his Ph.D., I decided it was time to see the world. We took a 3 week trip to New Zealand and Australia. That was when I discovered my husband does not like to travel – at all! It’s taken 35 years for that fact to actually sink in since it is incomprehensible to an explorer. On his behalf, I must say, he explores the world through a microscope.
After our “big trip”, we moved to the upper-midwest to begin careers and build a home.
Next adventure – raising a family. This may not have included a lot of traveling, but it was certainly an adventure.
Although, once, my husband came home talking about a new colleague from Switzerland. He mentioned it might be fun to go there sometime. That night I booked a family trip to Interlaken, Switzerland.
Apres kids/careers: time to travel with my daughter, who has the same wanderlust and determined sense of adventure as I do: Lisbon, Wales, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Norway, to date.
As a travel geek, I also like flags. I created a display of flags from the countries I’ve visited – 17 so far. It’s a modest start. So many places yet to see.
Pursuing adventure has nearly eliminated the shyness. Though, truth be told, I’d still rather stay home by the fire than go to a party. But put a camera in my hand and I’ll go anywhere and talk to anyone.
My next adventure? I’m not sure what it will be, or where it will be, but I know for certain – adventure awaits.