each year growing up, my parents took us on a “family vacation”. mostly visiting family & friends in various places across the united states. there was generally a theme. the “east coast” vacation to cape cod via pennsylvania’s amish country; the “capital” vacation to washington d.c. and new york city, ellis island, statue of liberty; the “southern” vacation to arkansas via kentucky, tennessee, missouri; the “western” trip to estes park, denver, and then north to the dakotas to see the corn palace. a “florida” vacation to relax during spring break, and the ultimate finale while i was in college: a christmas cruise that included touring the mayan ruins in mexico, rafting a river in jamaica, and swimming with stingrays. if anything, my parents wanted to show us that the world is so much bigger than it feels.

even though i complained about everything…”we’re not flying, we’re going to drive?!?!”, “i don’t want to eat lobster in maine, i hate lobster”, “if i have to listen to garrison keiller one more time…”, there was this excitement about visiting a new place, seeing different parts of the country, wondering if i’d want to live there someday. it was thrilling. it sparked a desire in me to want to experience life in different places.

during college i visited australia: swam in the great barrier reef, froze in the outback, and discovered the slower pace of life. in africa: saw poverty and the unequal distribution of wealth. in central america: tried to surf for the first (and only) time in my life, ate mangoes, and toured the panama canal.

the smells & sounds & sights are further away now. sometimes i forget to remember them.

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