Your early travel influences

Just for fun. What silly adolescent influences programed you, early on, to become a European travel junky? Books? Hemingway and Fitzgerald and the lost generation? Upton Sinclair's Lanny Budd Series? Books by John Le Carre? Maybe it was a T.V. show? "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.", "It Takes a Thief"? Julia Childs "The French Chef"? a movie: "To catch a thief" with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly? "Roman Holiday"? "Sound of Music"? James Bond? Music? From classical to ABBA to Gypsy Kings? Hearing Dino croon "On an evening in Roma"? I myself confess to being a recovering Hemingway fan (more the hanging out in French café' parts than the other stuff.) I also liked those old spy shows that were so often set in what --to a kid-- seemed like exotic, romantic locations. What was it that caught your attention at an impressionable age and helped turn you into a European travel addict? Maybe it was the Rick Steves shows? Maybe it was making the acquaintance of an experienced traveller who was loaded with good stories. One of my friends' dads had served under General Patton and was a treasure trove of exaggerated stories that all seemed true at the time. Also: What is out there today that is igniting young people's desire to see Europe? Eeegads, rereading this I realize how dated I sound! Anyway, any memories about some of the things that influenced you on your way to becoming a a European traveller? Just for fun.

Posted by Cary
Hayden, ID
196 posts

great question----look forward to reading replies

I saw a movie "Good Queen Bess" when I was 8 yrs old which ignited my interest in QE I and British history. English lit (except 17th & 18th C) touched me more than Am lit. Big surprise: I majored in history (all European except the basic required U.S. courses), English and drama. The three fused nicely.I was 42 when I made my first trip over the pond to England where I was overwhelmed seeing places/things I'd read about for so long. I particularly remember this intensity of emotion standing by the water steps at the Tower of London where Elizabeth I is said to have refused to get out of the barge when Mary imprisoned her and when I was standing in front of the portrait at Windsor Castle of the 13 yrd old Elizabeth in a red brocade gown that is in many biographies about her.

My medieval history prof sparked another area of interest as did courses in Renaissance and Reformation Europe. My high school Latin teacher instilled an interest in word origins, Roman history and mythology as well in addition to the basic grammar and vocabulary that were the textbook lessons. I hope she was able to visit Rome and Pompeii.

Posted by Corinna
Krems, Wachau, Austria
386 posts

What a wonderful question, Thomas! I look forward to the answers!

I will stay out of it and read along, because, of course, as a European I have a totally different angle to this.

Posted by Laura
London, UK
356 posts

As a European I can't comment on what made me become "a European travel junky". I don't remember any early influences which made me interested in travel. I come from a fairly poor family so didn't grow up knowing anyone who went on holidays abroad. I guess it just seemed an obvious thing to want to do to want to see different places and experience different cultures. My father was an immigrant so I suppose I was exposed to a different culture which made me realise there were places where people were different to us. As I got older it was seeing glimpses of places in books, films and TV that made me interested in seeing them.

The odd thing I find is that it isn't necessarily the obvious things that have influenced me. E.g. I have admired many travel TV programmes, but they have not made me necessarily want to visit those places. But just one scene in a film captures my interest. What first made me interested in visiting Tokyo was seeing grim-looking blocks of flats in Japanese horror films!

Posted by Gretchen
Andover, MA, USA
448 posts

The National Geographic Magazine!

I used to look at each and every photo (when I was too young to read the articles) every time it came in the mail!

Posted by Maureen
1357 posts

I'm looking forward to the discussion on this, too!

For me, it was my mom. She was a teacher before she had my sister and me, and she would openly admit that she decided to be a teacher so she could have the summers off to travel. She (and a friend or 2) would leave as soon as school got out and come back just a couple of days before it started. They went all over the continent and had tons of stories about their trips. She remained life-long friends with her travel buddies. She had TONS of pictures and slides of her travels, and looking at those gave me the bug. Since I was a kid, it was a goal of mine to travel.

We didn't have a lot of money growing up, so we didn't go overseas as a family, but she always found a way for us to travel in the US. Even if it was just a long weekend somewhere close by, we had a family vacation every year. I'm so grateful that my husband gets flight benefits, so we're able to take our kids overseas. Now I get to pass the bug on to them!

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
7736 posts

First and foremost my parents. They didn't have a lot of money, but we would always travel somewhere even if it was only 50 miles away....often the family would just jump in the car and follow a few random roads for a few hours. National Geographic Magazine, Shortwave Radio, BBC series Great Railways journeys, Michael Palin, international soccer, Rick Steves of course, and the Amazing Race.

Posted by Molly
Everett, WA, United States
42 posts

It's a Small World, Disneyland, 9 years old. I loved all the different costumes and I listened to the album afterwards incessantly. I probably drove my parents nuts.

Then in high school, I took French, Spanish and German language classes. I also would go to travel agencies and pick up their travel brochures. Most teenagers probably had pictures of rock stars on their wall - I had a huge collage of the sights from Europe!!

I traveled to Mexico after high school and then I finally went to Europe in my twenties, armed with my Rick Steves 'Europe Thru the Back Door' book, and my Eurailpass. I spent a year there, before importing an ex-husband back to the States.

Life goes on... twenty years later... finally going to back to visit the land I have been homesick for since then. I feel like an excited newbie again, plotting and planning - looking at those pictures of Europe (digitally this time). Glad Rick Steves is still here to help with that process - and thanks to Thomas for the question!

Posted by Mme Eli
1170 posts

I remember exactly waht made me yearn to see the world. My uncle was a Captain on board a passenger ship and he would come back and tell us stories of all the places he had been to. Plus, he would bring back lots of interesting souvenirs. That did it for moi!

The first thing I did was to try and acquire as many pen pals as I could from around the world. You guys do remember that before the internet, Facebook, and boards such as this one, there were pen pals, right? LOL

Anyway, my first trip was to Austria for a summer! I paid for the entire trip by babysitting, doing odds and ends for neighbours, and saving every penny for a couple of years. This was right after high school. I've been hooked ever since.

My parents had taken us to the Caribbean several times before that, but I was more interested in Europe.

Posted by Susan
Marin County/San Francisco
4034 posts

My Dad was in the Army and my family and I lived in a town right outside Paris from 1960-1965. We traveled all over western Europe every chance we had and my love of Europe started then. We also shopped in town and in Paris at local stores and outdoor markets, rather than just the Army base stores like most Americans. My sisters and I also went to French school instead of the American school on base. This was long before Rick Steves but my parents had the exact same philosophy for travel which must be why I like Rick so much. My family would go back often even after we moved back to the US, and I moved to Paris by myself when I was 18 and lived and worked there for a year. I've been going back often ever since and talked my husband into going to Paris for a month in '89 - he had no interest in leaving the US but after a month in Paris (and travel in the UK) he fell in love with Europe as well. I've been taking my son since he was 11 and now he loves Paris and Europe as much as I do. Having grown up there I feel like Paris is in my blood...I just wish it weren't so far away!

Posted by Tyler
San Francisco, California, USA
446 posts

I am good at foreign languages and studied Spanish (my major) and French in college. When I got a draft notice from the Army during the Vietnam war, I decided to enlist in the Air Force instead (you could do that). I was stationed in what was then West Germany.

It was easy and cheap in those days (1960's) to get around in Europe on the trains, and my duty location was only about four hours from Paris. That did it. I was hooked on European travel.

Posted by BG
SF Bay Area, USA
1646 posts

I don't recall any strong early influences for going to Europe other than a general desire to see it, particularly Paris and London, that I probably got from reading fairy tales. No one in my family went there, a couple of friends did. But it all came together in middle-age when I started watching the Rick Steves travel shows on PBS. The inspriational photography, Rick's personality and most of all his accessible and sensible travel philosophy really resonated with me, and convinced me going there was easy. It was! I signed up for one of his tours in 2001, and have gone to Europe virtually every year since then -- taking along family and friends who have become European travel junkies too.

Posted by Cindy
Moreno Valley, CA
153 posts

I grew up in a poor and abusive home in Southern California. I hid from life in the library...classic literature, biographies and books on history were my best friends, but the idea of going to Europe never even entered my mind as it was so out of reach. I ended up marrying my high school boyfriend when I turned 16 and he entered the Air Force.

Around this time, the story of Rocky Dennis was in the headlines (at least in SoCal) and for some reason I felt a connection with him. As soon as the movie of his life came out (Mask, with Cher and Eric Stoltz), I had to see it. In the movie, he has a map of Europe that he puts push-pins in to mark where he plans to travel. He says one line that made me break down into tears and I've never forgotten it, 'I wanna go to everyplace I've ever read about.' It sounds silly, but it affected me greatly. I honestly began to imagine going to Europe.

Amazingly, within months of seeing that movie, my husband was given orders to Spangdahlem AFB, Germany. My dream was becoming a reality! However, it turned into more of a husband was an alcoholic and abusive and my two baby girls and I ended up virtual prisoners on base. I think the furthest I traveled was to Weisbaden. I was enthralled with the German people, though...if it weren't for the family we lived above in Sehlem and my supervisor at the base restaurant I worked at...I don't know if I would have had the confidence to leave my husband. Unfortunately, that meant returning to the US.

My dream to travel Europe never went away. I married a wonderful man and had two more children. He knew how badly I wanted to go back, so he sent me and my three girls on a 3 week trip in 2004. This August, I will show him and our son my beloved Europe in person.

Posted by Carroll
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
1607 posts

This is fun. As I was reading some of the answers, I was thinking "Me too!"

I first got the travel bug reading a National Geographic article about Pompei in 4th grade (still never been there). My interest deepened when I took Ancient History in 7th grade. I sent for travel brochures all through high school and made a collage on my closet doors with pictures from those brochures. It was awesome! Neither my parents nor my sisters have the travel bug, so I don't think it was genetic.

p.s. I loved your story, Cindy!

Posted by Susan
Marin County/San Francisco
4034 posts

I loved your story too Cindy, very touching. I've enjoyed reading all of these...great question Thomas!

Posted by Joann
Dartmouth, MA, USA
138 posts

Like many of you, my parents didn't have a lot of money, but we always did a family vacation every summer to Cape Cod, New Hampshire and other places within driving distance. But my biggest influence was reading. I was one of those nerdy kids that actually entered the summer reading contests the public library would put on and my imagination just ran with all the exotic places I read about. My first trip was to Ireland where I fell in love with the people. I've only been a few of the places on my long list due to a husband that has no interest in travel, but I've already brought my kids to London & Italy who now are infected with the travel bug. So hopefully I'll always have a travel buddy!

Posted by Charlie
Honolulu/Seattle, HI/WA, USA
2317 posts

I could say "see BG from SF post". Living in Seattle, watching RS give talks at the UW and on PBS, going to Edmonds for classes, gave me the desire to go to Europe so in 2001 at the age of 55, I went to Europe for the first time and took one of his tours (BofE). I have gone back every year and this month I will take my 9th RS tour (Turkey). As R says: "Happy Travels and keep on Traveling".

Posted by Pamela
New York City, NY, USA
4632 posts

I grew up with my English born grandmother living in our house. My parents had a postponed honeymoon in Europe and one of the cool things we did was to look at their slides and hear about their adventures. It included taking off from then Idlewild only to be turned around because they couldn't land in Gander. They stayed at the George Hotel in Edinburgh. My sister and had tea at the George in 1977! They went to London, Paris and Switzerland. I remember that the London pictures has war damage. This was in 1954. When I visited Germany in 1973 I was struck by the fact that East Berlin still had war damage. One of the reasons I went to Lawrence was because I could study in Germany and be a science major!


Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
9476 posts

Born just outside Paris, to Canadian praire girl and Frenchman she met in Paris while working for an insurance company.

We moved to Canada when I was only an infant. First trip back I was 10, stayed with mom and sister at grandmothers for summer. Liked it, but we were pretty insulated , being young, being with our mom,, and my sister and I having each other to talk to in english. We didn't have many issues with culture shock though,, I had been eating snails since I was a baby,, and expected watered wine for birthday dinners..LOL

Parents then sent me back solo, at 13. I was flown into Amsterdam. I remember being very excited, and not the least bit nervuos. I remember my grandmother and I were at the train station in Amsterdam,, and thats when "it" happened. The travel bug bit.

I saw a group of what seemed to be American teens. There was about 4-5 of them and they were sitting around on the floor with their knapsacks around them, with a map spread out on the station floor,, and they were discussing "where should be go next". I waited while my grandmother bought our first class tickets to Paris, but I was so envious of the group of 18-20 yr olds who appeared to be so free. They were discussing their rail passes,, and pointed and arguing for this or that, and I just thought
" I am coming back on my own terms one day"

Finally got over to Europe in 1985 with my best friend from childhood ,for 3 months. Had an amazing time. She died three years later,and the one thing I have of her is an album her mom made of our trip.. ( this was when people used albums, LOL ) That trip was PRICELES,, travel gives you something NO one can take away from you.

A few years ago I told my husband enough of these intermittent trips,, I am going every year from now on. I have and I do. I work just for my trips.

Cindy your story was very touching. I am glad you are free and happy now.

Posted by Anne
Easthampton, MA, USA
23 posts

My parents had wanderlust, and moved to Iowa from New Hampshire when I was 6 weeks old in 1960. Every summer we alternated between driving various routes from Iowa to NH, and going to other places all over the US and Canada.

In HS my French teacher was from Paris, and she took her students to France every other year. Her stories of France were mesmerizing, and I went with her to France when I was a senior in high school. That was the point of no return as far as traveling goes for me! Since then I've traveled to Europe and Asia many times and lived in Japan for 8 years.

I'll always be grateful to my parents and Madame Hopkins for introducing me to the world!

Posted by Jim
Brookings, Oregon, USA
32 posts

I guess having a Grandmother from Greece helped with her stories of the old country. Also National Geographic. Having a wonderful German teacher in High School, who spoke 6 languages and didn't use the "Parrot Method of teaching" And of course the U.S.Navy who's motto of the period was " See the World, Join the Navy" However the world looks really small through a periscope!!!!and even less while underwater!!! LOL. So after many years of dreaming, we leave next Thursday for the R/S 21 Day Best of Europe Tour!!! I would also like to thank all of you for answering my many questions on this truly "WONDERFUL" site! Thanks again Jim

P.S. I almost forgot, I took a class in college Art in the Middle ages, learning not only art but religion associated with art during that period. Seeing the actual paintings and sculptures that I studied in person will be Great!!!

Posted by Cary
Hayden, ID
196 posts

Congratulations, Cindy, for being such a strong woman. I'm so pleased for you that you have made a new life for yourself and your daughters.

Posted by Grier
Carmel, IN
1185 posts

All of the above. When I was in 8th grade, I had the opportunity to take language class in school and I chose French, didn't consider any other. When I was 16, I went to Paris with a school group and loved it. Unfortunately, I didn't continue studying French in college and wish I had! I did study art history and love going to museums and seeing art and architecture when I travel. I took trips to Italy and England/Scotland in the 80s, then in 2005, my college roommate moved to Paris and I visited her for ten days. That was it, I vowed to return to Europe each year and I have so far. My roommate has since moved back to the US and says I was her most frequent visitor! I would love to do extended visits when I retire.

I also love books and am motivated to visit places I've read about and also places I've seen in movies. When I'm not traveling, I love to read about it as an armchair traveler. Also love to watch Rick's shows (and Rudy's Europe programs).

Great thread and I'm enjoying reading the responses. Cindy, I was touched by your story too and hope you have many happy trips to Europe.

Posted by Charlotte
Cazadero, CA, USA
1 posts

Books and movies to be sure, but more than anything else, MUSIC. I took piano lessons for 8 years as a child/young person, and my music books often had bios of the musicians, sometimes with a map, and their place of birth and death.

My mom put a kitchen timer on the piano and made me practice one half hour every afternoon after school before playing outside. (I often played much longer on my own, but she helped guide me to be faithful with practice.) As I played classical music, I mentally sailed in a gondola with Mendelson in Venice, and of course I was always dreaming of Mozart in Salzburg, Vienna, and Prague. I was also given Christmas ornaments with classical music themes, etc.

I've been to Europe 8 of the last 10 years. I'm hooked, and all because of great parents with a love of culture and a kitchen timer! It was such a joy to go to Salzburg with my mom, and also renting a little apartment in Vienna for a few days with her, and later to the same apartment with my daughter after she graduated college.

This was my daughters third time to Europe. She back-packed previously as Rick Steves recommends for young people, to help them get a better understanding of other peoples and cultures.

I'm also thankful to my husband who is so supportive of my love for Europe and the world.

My son has traveled more than any of us in the US Navy, and has literall "seen the world." I now have a lovely daughter-in-law and grandson in Japan. It's amazing how the love for people, travel and new experiences is "genetically" transmitted!

Posted by Ceidleh
Boston, MA, United States
1423 posts

As a kid, my mother had me read a series of books she had enjoyed when she had been a child that were about kids from different countries around the world, mostly European countries. It all sounded fascinating to me.

Then I saw the movie "A Little Romance" with Diane Lane when I was 11 years old and I wanted to go to Venice badly. I was in luck because we have relatives in Italy, so I got to go shortly thereafter with my mom & sister. The movie probably inspired me too much because I woke up early one morning and left the hotel to wander Venice on my own and see the Bridge of Sighs. My mother was actually not too concerned since we had previously been to Rome and she let me go off with my 16 year old sister who got lost and I was the one who figured out how to get us back home. So my mother knew I was a pretty good navigator even though I was very young. Because of this, when I was 17 and had graduated high school, I got to go back to Europe and spend some time with my relatives, but then go off solo and travel on my own.

Posted by Pamela
New York City, NY, USA
4632 posts

Reading all these responses has reminded me that another influence was a book on children around the world from the UN that my mom brought back from a NYC trip. Also, there was a wonderful world game that we played growing up. I remember always wanting the European destinations as I knew them! And then of course how could I have forgotten French lessons starting in fourth grade! And AFS in High School! We had Kitty from Norway, Gerda from Austia and Heinz from Switzerland. I was heartbroken that I didn't get chosen to be an AFS student myself.


Posted by Sherry
Colorado Springs
54 posts

National Geographic, Pink Panther Movies, and a wonderful art teacher in the 7th grade. These are the things that influenced me to want to travel to Europe when I was younger. I also loved seeing other people's vacation slides - while everyone else was yawning, I was asking questions and always wanted to hear more stories about what they did on their trip. I dreamed about going to Europe for years and finally went for the first time in 1999. A friend and I couldn't convince our husband's to go, so we decided to go with each other. We had such a wonderful time that the funny thing is that our husband's caught the travel bug after we got back. So now I get to go every couple years and this time I get to share my love of travel with my husband.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
5072 posts

All of the above influenced me to travel to Europe, directly or indirectly: my father who was part of the successive waves of the "cross-channel" invasion in 1944, a couple of dear influential friends and foreign language teachers and professors in college, obviously books and movies, and, above all, good fortune. I became aware of Europe since I was in the 3rd grade but could not even imagine myself going over there and getting around, seeing the sights, etc...maybe just in England. My father did mention his observations of England and France when he stationed there, all of which played a role in arousing my curiousity. Even in high school in the mid-1960s, I felt that going over and the cost was still beyond my imagination; in college thanks to the influence of a couple of close and dear friends it slowly dawned on me that I could do it too, at least, linguistically. It was 1971 and I was 21 when I made my first trip solo for twelve weeks on a charter flight, armed with a Eurail Youth Pass, 2nd class for two months, doing the hostel route, meeting other European and American youth travelers,

After that trip I knew I would be going back...I was hooked on going to Europe and have been able to do 15 trips up to last year. Another trip is this summer too. As regards to memories, the first trip is the most impacting...the one that stands out in recollection.

Posted by Evan
South Glens Falls, NY, USA
105 posts

When I was in High School, we took a trip starting in Switzerland and stopping in Rome, Florence, Nice, and Paris. That 10 day trip was all it took me to become hooked on being a Europhile. Lately, it's been where in Europe can I go and get the most bang for my buck!

Posted by Connie
Everett, WA
942 posts

When I was about 9 years old, I read a magazine interview with Audrey Hepburn. There was a large picture of her in the Interlaken area with the mountains behind her. I remember thinking "I will go there someday!!" That was my first memory of wanting to travel. For my sister, she was in elementary school when she read about a city that had canals instead of streets and thought "Someday I have to go to Venice". We have both traveled to Europe multiple times, but in 2008, we went together with our husbands. As we visited the Berner Oberland and Venice as part of that trip, we shared those early memories.

Posted by Michael 1
Phoenix, AZ, USA
1035 posts

For me it was a strong upbringing in all things Irish. This brought me to Ireland. Then France. Then the Netherlands, and Italy, and...... you get the idea.

Probably also lends itself to my indifference towards England and things English.

On the literary side, Paris-based writers of the 1920s ("a moveable feast") have been a major inspiration, although most were writing about other places.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
6567 posts

I grew up in the provincial Midwest. We had one family friend who vacationed in France or Italy every year and I idolized her. She was so much more sophisticated than everyone else we knew. She started me dreaming.

Posted by Joseph
Lansdale, PA, United States
4 posts

Believe it or not it started with a joke. Yes, a joke. As an 8 y/o child, a neighbor had told me an ethnic joke. My parents, who were/are very proud of their family heritage wanted to show me & my sister the true history of what we came from.

In 1978, we flew as a family for a 2-week tour of Poland. Granted, Communism was still visible, but seeing the country (with the help of the US Dollar, I suppose), the generosity of the people started my love of travel.

Another trip when we were a few years older - this time to Rome.

Dad was a high school French teacher, so that helped too, I suppose. :)

In high school, I toured Europe with American Music Abroad which was a 3-week tour playing in a concert band. That was another amazing experience.

No trips to Europe until 2008 - when I returned for a 11 day trip with a small group of adults & Middle School students. This was the first time back, but now, I was with my wife who has always wanted to go to Europe. Berlin, Prague, Switzerland, and finally Paris.

In less than 3 months, we will be heading back to re-visit Paris in-depth as we celebrate 15 wonderful years together.

Posted by Brad
Charlotte, NC, USA
221 posts

I had little knowledge or interest in going to Europe until I started taking art history courses in college. My professors emphasized the importance of seeing the works in person. Before my senior year, I went to The Cloisters in NYC and that really got me interested. After graduation, I heard about the Vermeer exhibit in The Hague and that was enough to get me on a plane.

Posted by Ron
southwest, Missouri, U.S.A.
1620 posts

Hello Thomas. The question that you asked was asked by an other person here, in the year 2009, (or was it in the year 2008 ?). Many people replied to it. And I liked reading the recent replies to your question. I began desiring to go to Europe when I saw a short (5 or 10 Minute) travelogue, on the big screen in a Movie Theatre, in the year 1964.
In those years, short films, such as a travelogue, or a dog show, or the Kentucky Derby horse race, was shown in theatres, preceding the short animated cartoon which preceded the feature film. I think the feature film that I saw was a comedy (it may have been "Disorderly Orderly" starring Jerry Lewis, or "Its a Mad Mad Mad Mad World"). The short travelogue film was of a city in Italy : an American man was riding on a Vespa motor scooter there. He looked up, constantly, to see the sculpture on the fronts of the buildings, high above the street. I desired to go to Europe. Forty years later, I travelled in Italy. Now, my favorite countries in Europe are Austria, Norway, Greece - islands. And I like England.

Posted by Darby
Monroe, WA, USA
151 posts

In junior high my best friend's mom was a french teacher. Being from a small town, the idea of travel to Europe was akin to moon landing. She and her husband went to Paris and I remember them phoning their daughter and talking about sitting in a cafe. I was hooked. This highly influencial lady also talked about going to Europe "through this back door thing".

I finally got to Europe at 29 and am deep into planning my 4th 3 week trip (I'm 35) I think it's a pleasing trend. To my delight, it's even better than I hoped.

Lots of people marvel at my husband and I as we gear up to take our trips, kids and all. I can only say "it's just our thing." We want to go so we make it a priority. It is one of the great joys of our life together.

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
11073 posts

Monty Python's Flying Circus. As a teenager, I simply had to visit a country that could produce such insane, surrealistic brilliance. I realized this last night after laughing myself silly over the Dead Parrot sketch for the thousandth time.

Posted by Thomas
Snyder, Texas
504 posts

These posts have been most enjoyable to read!

My parents owned a business, and as a result we never went anywhere when I was a child. However, I had relatives who did -- two in particular.

I had one beloved aunt who was sort of like "Auntie Mame". She had been a calculus teacher, but a teacher with a twist. When I was in high school, she took a 120 day trip around the world. We had a big world map up in our kitchen with her route laid out on it. We had pins that we marked where she was that day. It was wonderful just to think about. She rode a camel in Egypt, and elephant in India. She brought a hugh Persian rug from Beirut. From then on, she would say to herself "If I can go around the world, I can do this!." That really gave me the desire to travel.

Then too at the same time, I had a cousin who was a geologist for an oil company. They were sent many different places to live and work, including Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They would come by to see us with stories of their life there -- like putting the garbage over the 15 foot fence at night for the hyenas, who were very efficient garbage disposers. They had wanted me to come and take me to Kenya to see the animals. Before I could go, there was a civil war in Ethiopia. He was captured by Eritrians when his helicopter landed in the jungle. Five people were held moving constantly in the jungle for 6 months. The oil company finally negotiated their release, and they left Ethiopia thankful to be alive. I already had the great desire to travel, but I guess his misadventure steered me to safer destinations. I still have a plan to go to Africa one day though.

I went to Europe the first time when I was 23. I've been somewhere every year since, and I'm 61 now. I've taken all my childen to Europe at least once, and my youngest 3 times with another planned before he graduates college.

Posted by Jordan
United States
40 posts

Though I'm only in high school and just now starting to travel I've had aspirations of European travel for many years. I think my parents really contributed to my desire to travel. They didn't raise me eating only macaroni and cheese or chicken fingers; raising me with a bigger picture of the world. We also watch(ed) tons of travel shows and plenty of stuff from the BBC.

Thanks for posting this topic. This was an awesome idea!

Posted by Cate
Tacoma, WA, USA
668 posts

Hmmm, all of the above? And starting younger. My mom sparked it and having a dad in the military fueled it. We lived in Germany half my childhood, and we traveled Europe from there. In addition, we watched old movies ("To Catch a Thief," "Roman Holiday," "The Man who Knew Too Much," etc) and when we lived in the U.S, we woke early to watch Royal weddings on T.V. Oh, and the parents loved Brit comedies and mysteries. I won't watch the mysteries anymore, though. They gave me nightmares as a kid!

Dad traveled even more extensively than the family as a pilot, and was always sending postcards back from exciting places or even better, bringing back artifacts (a puzzle ring from Greece, tons of stuff from Turkey he actually haggled for in a marketplace). We had friends who had lived in even more exotic places than Europe (Egypy, other countries in Africa, Panama, Russia- military, corporate jobs, diplomatic corps), who told tales of lands that I still hope to go to one day. Oh, and Dad and friends were in Vietnam. I was a sponge for the stories, the stuff, and the pictures.

After my dad retired from the military, his next job had a lot more travel and took him frequently to Asia. He did that a couple more years, and then settled into a position that was less hectic. All the work travel burnt him out, and he and my mom like to take slow train or road trips stateside, for the most part. However, their kids LOVE to travel, still.

Posted by Marilyn
Mentor on the Lake, OH, USA
251 posts

I'd have to say the Mary Stewart novels that I read as an adolescent as well as awonderful French teacher in junior high. Madame Youkarinas decorated her classroom with beautiful travel posters. In college I spent a semester in Paris, while I was ther I promised myself that some day I'd return with the man I love. When my husband and I were married I told him of my dream and now after 30 years we are finally going! We leave in 17 days.

Posted by Sue
Bend, OR, United States
1 posts

My husband and I (at different times) studied English History from the same professor. Both us remember Frank talking about his studies at the British Museum where he stood with on hand on Magna Carta and the other on Lord Nelson's Last Order. Whether this was the truth or not, our first trip to Europe was to London