For me it started back in middle school, when I traveled with the local 4-H Travel/Exchange Club and it continued through college as I studied abroad in Switzerland. While that is where for most the story typically ends, mine just began.
After graduation, I moved to New York City and got a stable job where I found an even more stable boyfriend. In fact, we ended up getting married 4 years later. These first few years happened to be the same time as the financial crisis which made travel costs plummet, and since we were lucky to have kept our jobs, we took advantage of the situation.
My husband liked to joke that we were backpacking through Europe one weekend at a time. For us it wasn’t about lying on the beach or drinking fruity cocktails under a palm tree – what we were interested in was culture and adventure. When we were there we didn’t stay in name brand resort on the Champs-Élysées or a 5 star hotel overlooking the Colosseum, we stayed in a converted monastery on Rue Cler, an old sailors hotel in Copenhagen and Amsterdam, and an actual convent in Rome. After exploring Europe for a few years, we started to yearn for more and eventually found ourselves in Africa, Asia and South America.
Travel is a drug. It reboots reality, tweaks the senses, and becomes addictive.
When my wife and I first started traveling the only place I wanted to go was Europe. I loved the culture, food, and history. I loved how easy it was to get around and between cities. I loved how you could have breakfast in Paris, and lunch in London. I loved having that first cappuccino upon arrival in some little cobblestone square. We quite literally backpacked our way around Europe, one long weekend at a time, all the while living in Manhattan and working full time. Planning was essential to maximize our short amount of travel time. I would spend hours, sometimes late at night, reviewing train schedules, museum times, and restaurant write-ups all in the name of maximum travel efficiency. And I loved every minute of it.
Eventually new European cities became harder to find and we branched off into other corners of the globe. But while I loved exploring Angkor Wat and the Serengeti, I’m still a Europhile at heart.
Good traveling is half art and half science.