From the Beginning, The Book, The Prologue

Header Image banner 976 by 313Before 2004, I enjoyed lots of things in this world, but gallivanting about it for shits and giggles wasn’t one of them. It never occurred to me to search my soul for the reason why. As if somebody asked me why I didn’t watch golf on TV – I simply didn’t give a hoot. If somebody wanted to strap themselves into a cramped airplane seat for ten hours to go see a bunch of castles – so be it.

Donna had a different view about travel. When my wife was 16 she went to Finland to be an exchange student. She returned to Europe twice on backpacking trips. She’d been to dozen countries by the time we met in college. When I first saw her dorm room, I found a wall covered with maps and photos of places and people.

We had so much in common – except for this.

She always wanted to take me to Europe and wondered why I resisted something she found so exciting – especially since I was otherwise halfway adventurous. After years of hounding, I finally started wondering myself. Some of the answers came right away, some came during our big trip, and some are still coming as I type these words.

I realized that people who longed to visit other countries were history lovers. I had a tremendous disregard for history. As a kid, I didn’t care about anything outside my lunch pail let alone what other people did thousands of years before me. One glance at those line art drawings in those dusty books and my eyes would start drifting to Becky Turnbull’s mini skirt.

At my Christian grammar school, I’d listen to some pretty terrifying tales about traveling abroad. The missionary kids told exotic stories about watching machetefights and chasing boa constrictors. At chapel services foreign evangelists shared details of torture and murder. It got my heart pumping, but didn’t inspire me to start packing. I was convinced the world was a shit show and the only safe haven was my house or the surface of the moon.

Growing into my teen years, I discovered the most appealing offerings of our society related to sex and rock and roll (drugs didn’t interest me – especially the“trip” part). I seldom ventured outside the little box I called my life. At eighteen I went to Canada (not to avoid Vietnam, it ended five years earlier). Vancouver was less than a two-hour drive from my house in Seattle. Ted Nugent was starting a tour up there, the drinking age was only eighteen, and I’d heard the Canadian girls were foxy. These were strong enough reasons to cross that border, which was about as challenging as ordering a Breakfast Jack. While there, my friends and I stayed under the radar –I took my box with me and remained inside it.

My attitude toward travel sustained. Then after 14 years of marriage and three kids, Donna proposed that our gang of five take an extended trip to Europe (I use the term “trip” loosely). It was more than a proposal. She ratcheted her intention up a notch and it was clear she was serious.

Damn serious.

NEXT: Screw The Camcorder

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