If passion for travel is genetic, the only people I possibly could have gotten it from are my Oma + Grandad, especially Grandad. His first trip abroad was during WWII to Okinawa and it was certainly not his last. As a geologist for ARCO, he traveled and lived more places than I can count on my fingers.
When I turned five years old, their birthday gift to me was a flight, by myself, to visit them. Most five years old would have been a bit nervous, but I had been annoyed for at least a year at this point that my parents had to accompany me on flights. This was just the beginning of our shared passion for people and place.
When I was in third grade, they took us to Disneyland. During our first ride on It’s A Small World it became my goal to visit all of the countries they portrayed. (My fascination with international travel began the year before when I realized that many shoes were made in Thailand.)
Once he retired, he and my grandmother went everywhere from Australia to Europe and everywhere in-between. One of their favorite spots to visit was Italy and they were thrilled when I studied abroad there. So it was not a surprise that no one was more excited than Grandad when I headed to Hong Kong for several months in 2009. He wanted to see every picture and hear every story. Our family still makes fun of him for the hours-of-videos that he shot of Kowloon Harbor.
Africa is the only place on his list that he didn’t get to go. His cardiologist just wasn’t confident his heart could handle it. When I went this past summer, I went for both of us and it was like he was there right there with me. And again, he wanted to hear every last detail.
This morning Grandad passed away peacefully surrounded by those he loved. I miss him already, and I’m jealous that he is off getting to see something new that I haven’t seen before. Today’s post his dedicated to his memory and our mutual love of discovery and love for each other. I love you, Grandad!