As far back as my memory goes I have dreamed of traveling the world. And I am glad to say that I have truly been blessed to have been able to achieve many of my travel goals. But I am not done traveling yet, in fact, I am just beginning a new phase of travel that I will be sharing with you in future posts.
But I’d like to start with a little background.
I grew up in a rural area of the United States during the early 1960′s. A much different time in every way than it is today. The Korean war had ended, and Vietnam Was just beginning..
My father was an immigrant, and my mother was 1 generation removed from immigrant grandparents. Traveling was not something that was common to them. They came from a very working class background. All they knew was work, and save. From sun up, to sun down, it was work, work, work. Money was not the driving force, it was all they knew.
And it’s not that my my parents were poor, traveling was just a “foreign” concept to our family… Remember, this is over 50 years ago so things were much different than they are today.
For me, my desire for travel was spawned from a gift I received as a child. It seemed like everything changed when I was a young boy and I received a little AM Transistor radio for my birthday. Now, for those of you who don’t know what a transistor radio is let me try and explain. It is basically a plastic box a little larger than a pack of cigarettes. There is a small dial on the front (tuner) and a small speaker. The item is powered by 1 or 2 batteries, in my case a square 9volt battery that would last just about forever. These little radios were amazing at picking up signals from long distances away, especially at night. We didn’t have ipods, cd players or walkman – they had not even been invented yet. We did have an old style record player, however, the only records were Christmas carols and a few dean martin albums. This little radio exposed me to so many things and also did this – it made me realize there was a huge world out there waiting for me to see. And I wanted to experience it. I wanted to experience what the singers in the songs were experiencing.
That little radio was the motivation. It started a burning desire in me to do everything I could to find a way to make my dreams a reality. To see what was out there. To taste it. To feel it. To experience it.
Every chance I had to go into town I would head over to the dime store and to the magazine rack. I would look at the pictures and read a few of the stories. These images gave me another motivation, and I would keep the images in my mind and picture myself in them as part of the scenery.
It opened up the world to me. Back then, we were isolated from the rest of the world. We didn’t have 100+ channels of tv to chose from. No one did. Our only connection to the outside world was either by radio or the newspaper (which I only had access too when I traveled to down which was infrequent as a child).
Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t an unhappy childhood by any means. In fact, it was quite the opposite. My brother, sister and I thought we had it made, and looking back, we did, only in a way that people really dream of.
As I grew the desire to travel became stronger. And as a family, our position was improving as well.
During my early years we worked as a family and virtually everything we earned we re-invested back into buying more land. At the same time our area was becoming more popular and land values were steadily increasing. By the time I was in my early teens our family was actually in an enviable financial position. Developers were buying land from us and we were selling small parcels and re-investing in larger ones. This success had finally given our family the luxury of being able to take some time off and vacation as a family.
It started mainly as one or two weeks to Florida in the winter, and eventually grew, and grew each year. My Father still had many family members in Italy where he was from, and we used that as an excuse to take a month long trip to Europe which I will remember forever. We would spend most of the early part of the year planning for the next years trip. My mom would arrange all of the details and at night we would discuss the options around the dinner table. Later in the year after we had gone on vacation we would spend looking at slides, photo’s and home made movies. It was truly wonderful. I still look back on those days with fond memories.
As I grew older, the desire to travel remained strong, and dreams of more exotic adventures filled my head, fueled by those early transistor radio days.
These are my stories, I hope you like the adventure.