The Colonel drove us to my Dads’ wife’s cousin’s farm outside of Kaunas, where I was greeted with a warmth and enthusiasm that was touching. And overwhelming. The only English speaker was the eight-year-old, and she was also the only shy person in the whole family. So, things were a little chaotic for my jet-lagged brain to process. And even more so once the bottle of vodka was opened, the Euro-techno music started playing, and the dancing began.
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There is a lot more to my dad outside of his travel biography, but I really don’t know that much about it. And, if you asked him about me, I am not sure he would be able to tell you very much.
A focal part of my relationship with my niece and nephew is reading.
Sure, we do a lot of tickling, and kissing, and hugging, and chasing, and shoulder rides, and laughing. There are water slide parks, and cheeseburgers, and musicals…and other things, too.
But, every time put them to bed, we read.
So, it is no surprise that traveling with them involves books, too.
I think of Mongolia on a daily basis, since I have named my dog Gobi. She looks just like one of the dogs my sister and I met and adopted for the duration of our stay. Like my dog, my memories of Mongolia are never far from my heart.
I don’t remember not traveling. I started earning frequent flier miles when I was 8 years old. I vividly remember the year my sister and I got matching Snoopy suitcases for Christmas. Nothing else we got that year even came close to being as cool as those suitcases!
After my parents divorced, and my mom moved my sister and I across the country, my sister and I flew alone cross-country several times a year to visit our dad. And, my sister and I went on great holidays with our dad to Mexico and Jamaica, and with our mom to England, Florida, New York, D.C. and Australia.
But, even more common than flying were the road trips. With our dad, we took trips to Wisconsin (the Dells), Indiana (the Dunes) and Michigan (some kind of Lithuanian summer community). With our mom it was all about the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite.
I learned about history, culture, politics, and life. Not through the filter of television, but by actually traveling and seeing it.
I started this blog in 2012 to explain what travel is teaching me now, or key lessons I learned in the past. My hope is that you enjoy reading it a fraction as much as I enjoy learning it!