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Why I Travel

The first trip that I ever went on was to Disney World. My grandparents, parents, and I all piled into the family motorhome and made the (what should have been) seven hour trip down to Orlando from South Carolina.

According to family lore, from the moment I was buckled into my child seat to the moment that we stopped in Orlando, I yelled, "Out! Out!"

Clearly, I hadn't learned road trip etiquette yet. I was two. 

Luckily for me, my parents weren't deterred by my hideously poor behavior, and we continued to take family road trips for the rest of my childhood. From that first Disney trip to my 18th birthday, we went to California, Pennsylvania, the Florida Keys, Maine, Canada, the Bahamas, Mexico, and back to Disney World (for more times that I think my dad cares to remember).

Fort Sumter, South Carolina, circa 1994. What's more awesome about this photo: my mom's fanny pack, my gigantic white shorts, or my sister's rockin' rainbow pants?!

We weren't some crazy rich family. We didn't stay in fancy hotels or eat at gourmet restaurants on these trips. We managed the trips because my parents valued our yearly trips, so they were a priority--more than eating out, more than new toys, more than bunches of new clothes.

Outer Banks, circa 1992. I loved that purple Mickey fanny pack and wore it for YEARS. Oh, the travel necessities of yesteryear...

Travel at that stage in my life taught me how to focus my goals. My parents would tell us when we were going on our trips, and my sister and I would save our birthday money from our grandparents and the money we earned doing chores around the house. 

When I was a senior in high school, my parents gave me the best present ever. (No, not a car.) They took me to England over spring break for my graduation present. I chose England because I was more than a little obsessed with British Literature, and I couldn't imagine anything cooler than going to the place from where Shakespeare, the Brontes, Wordsworth, Dickens, and Keats hailed.

At that moment, the world opened up to me in a way that I hadn't ever experienced before. Our trip to England built upon all of the other traveling that I'd done, but it made me realize how much I hadn't seen, and how much I loved going, moving, visiting. 

Travel became an elusive key to adulthood, to the secrets that could only be unlocked by someone with more time and pocket change than a rising college freshman. I was hooked, and I couldn't imagine a life without more adventure. 

Despite the fact that I was nearly penniless throughout most of my early to mid-twenties (yay for being a professional student!), I managed to study abroad in London (one of the single most amazing times in my life), and visit Key West, Paris, Andros Island, and Disney World (I have an incurable addiction!). 

My friend (and roommate!) Nicole and I on the steps of the Abbey Road Studios in London

Travel became another way for me to learn. I've always loved learning, but experiencing the Concierge and Versailles just after I'd read extensively about the French Revolution took my education to another level.

Musee Rodin, Paris, 2005. Despite looking particularly chipper here, I hadn't slept at all in what felt like ten years. The joys of trans-Atlantic travel!
Even now, I see my opportunities for travel as opportunities to learn--about a new culture or an area's history or a local author's life or a new food. 

Since I graduated from my M.A. program and got married, I've initiated my husband into the world of travel. We've wandered near and far--from Savannah, Georgia all the way to Scotland

Showing  little Clemson spirit on our 2011 Scotland trip

I hope I never lose my love for travel, and I hope that I will be able to instill a love of travel and adventure in my daughter as she grows. (Though, if we skip the screaming-in-the-car-seat phase, I won't be too sad.)

In Savannah during Christmas 2013 on Britton's first trip ever!

I travel because I want to learn, because I want to see as many of the people and places that this world has to offer up.

Why do you travel? What's the first trip that you remember going on? What's been your favorite place to travel so far?