Monday, January 15, 2018

Not well traveled

It is not a joke when I say my mother thought if you went two towns away you fell off the edge of the earth. We were on the same street as the country club where we played golf and swam (I waded). The Quanapowitt Players put on three plays a year and the Reading Symphony would satisfy any classical musical urges.

I was not allowed to go on school trips to Boston (12 miles away). I was an adult before I walked the close by Lexington/Concord battlefields, where my country was born. Some of my classmates thought I had a heart condition which prevented me from going on the bus. In reality it was a neurotic mother.

My freshman year of college at Lowell, MA I was under a half hour away. When the boy I was dating wanted to take me to meet his parents in Attleboro, it was forbidden. That would have taken about an hour by car.

A year later to the day, I sailed on the S.S. America to join my new husband (different boy) for his Army stint in Stuttgart, Germany.

I didn't fall off the edge of the earth. I discovered the world I thought was out there really was there. He was in an Army band, a public relations unit, and we played fashings and fests in cities and villages around Germany. Wives were encouraged to go. I need no urging.

My ex wasn't much for travel when we returned to the States, but we did go to Niagara Falls to see his sister, D.C. to meet up with friends and NH.

The year we separated I took a trip alone to London. I tried to visit Europe at least once if not two to three times a year after that. When my daughter was nine she began to go with me at least on some of the trips.

There was a point I realized that she'd been to Europe five times without ever seeing her own capital. We made sure she saw D.C.

Eventually I found a way to live in Europe (about 800 C.V.s mailed across the Atlantic) and between business and pleasure trips, I explored the European countries. I knew life had changed when I HAD TO GO to London on a business trip and I wanted to spend a weekend at home to catch up with laundry. If I could have kicked myself for resenting the trip, when once going to London would have been a miracle, I should have.

Though I've been to Turkey, Iceland and Syria too,  I now know I am not that well-traveled in comparison to many of my friends who talk about their trips to India, China, Japan, Bali, Thailand, Australian, Mauritius, South Africa and most places that one can find on a world map.

Even school children (public and private) get to go on school trips that once were only a fantasy nothing like Lexington and Concord which were down the road from Reading where I grew up. Imagine skiing in the Alps or building a school in Tanzania  or giving a play in Jordan as part of your curriculum .

I am not complaining nor am I jealous. I've come/gone a long way from being that "little girl in Reading" that one of my friend's used as a description when he listened to my adventures. He had never been further than Maine.

I don't take it for granted that I am at home in Paris, comfortable in London, happy in Vienna. I also am proud that it is still an adventure to discover some historical event, a natural phenomena that most people aren't aware of off the usual tourist destinations. No matter where I have been, there is something to delight.

I am happy that when I went more than two towns away, I did not fall off the edge of the earth. I am also happy for my friends who have been able to discover even more than I have.

It's a huge world out there...Carpe diem.

No comments: