As a child I read A LOT — novels, magazines and newspapers. I love my shared set of encyclopedias. Between that and my Great Aunt Millie and Uncle Stanley who traveled to all types of exotic places, I always dreamed about traveling overseas. I wanted to learn French and Spanish and speak like a British person. I dreamed of going to all four finals of the Grand Slam Tennis tournaments, the Olympic Games and even occasionally caught World Cup Soccer fever, because what teenage girl isn’t swayed by gorgeous, manly exotic foreign men? Yeah, I still don’t know what’s really happening on the field.
My first trip across the ocean happened when I was in my 20s. But it wasn’t to a foreign country; it was to Hawaii. My first trip to a foreign country finally happened in my 30s. I was late to the travel party for various reasons: lack of money, lack of time, frequently working multiple jobs, anxiety and depression. My financial and work life never seemed to level off long enough for me to join my friends who were having these experiences or had been since they were young. I was losing hope that it would ever happen. I began to feel that I would be too old to travel and made a plan to at least go to the places my family came from. And I’ve done that. I still have that feeling of urgency. To not miss the opportunity to travel while I’m still relatively healthy and can walk without problems.
And then new inspiration came to me. My Mama.
My 70ish year-young mother, who had been to the Caribbean via a couple of cruises, but who had never flown on a plane her entire life, traveled with me to visit her family in Barbados. I have no idea how she was feeling inside but as it turned out she is a better flier than I am or at least seemed calmer. She rolled with the annoying parts of travel, like a plane with a busted engine, the madness that is Miami International Airport customs chaos and rude people.
I’m still going to try to do as many places as I can in the next 5 years, but my mother gave me renewed hope to keep going. I have plenty of time. You’re never too old to try new experiences.