I am a traveler by spirit. I grew up on a 300 hundred acre ranch in a very small town in Montana, without a street light. The nearest hospital and McDonald’s were 60 miles away. During the summers, I used to camp out in the backyard in my tent, by myself, and daydream about far away places. I used to imagine my big wheel was my airplane, and take it on adventures around the neighborhood as young as age 3. Top Gun, Romancing the Stone and Indiana Jones were my favorite movies. I had a horse and used to ride it 7 miles to town on my own, across the wide open spaces. When I was in the 8th grade, for career day, I had the local travel agent come and give a talk about her occupation, because I thought her office was SO cool with a wall size map of the world and brochures of all of the places you could go. When I graduated from high school, I took a trip to Mexico that forever changed my perception, and expanded my horizons. While going to college, I continued to explore Mexico, one year joining the local outdoor recreation club, on a 3 week driving and camping expedition from Montana, down The Baja Peninsula, and across the sea of Cortez by ferry and back up. My friend bailed on me at the last minute, and it was just me and 9 German foreign exchange students, the group leader and TWO tapes. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and Paul Simon. It was an epic adventure, and I was hooked on Mexico. The next break, I talked my roommate into riding the greyhound bus from Montana to Mazatlan, because they were having a special, anywhere in the USA for $80.00. We rode the bus to Nogales Arizona, and then walked across the border, hitched a ride to Hermasillo with 2 locals who offered us a ride. Probably NOT the smartest of choices, but this was before Mexico got a bad reputation for being dangerous. We took the local bus from Hermasillo to Mazatlan, and had the best 3 weeks of break. We were supposed to take the local train back to the border, but missed it, so we had to bus it back eating top ramen the whole way. 56 hours in total with no shower. We arrived back in the dead of winter, to a snow storm. The temperature was -33 degrees below ZERO! It was in that instant that a light bulb went off in my head, and I realized I had the whole world to explore. I didn’t have to live where it was cold any more, and I was officially an adult, and I could do as I pleased. I chose to go out and explore the world.
(Eventually I did make a career in travel. I took any job that I could get some free travel out of the deal. I worked for a timeshare company for a summer in Puerto Vallarta never actually selling anything, a student travel company in Cancun for a summer, was a nanny in Miami, San Diego and Germany, until the mom went to rehab, a resort in Guam for a year as an “ambassador of fun”, one of the largest tour companies in Hawaii (Pleasant Holidays), United Airlines (until their bankruptcy), where I abruptly cashed out my stock options and took a year off and lived in Tanzania on the beautiful island of Zanzibar, AAA Travel as a domestic and international travel agent, Delta Airlines for over 4 years, and finally, one of the finest hotels in the world booking $10,000 a night luxury villas and sending toilet paper to guests rooms at their request. Hawaii is my home base for now.) But will soon be off to Tanzania. Did I mention I love Islands, and hope to leave the cubicle nation all together sometime in the near future, to explore more distance lands.
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