My parents seemed to love to travel. Even with my father’s poor health when every summer came around, we would hit the road. When my siblings were out of school and yes even me, we would try and plan a trip of some kind. Before I was born, my parents made a long road trip to California and back. I have discussed this trip in my previous books. After I was born we took that ill-fated trip to Mexico where I drowned and was revived and where I also got deathly sick from the water. No matter what happened in these trips it did not seem to dampen the desire to travel and see new things. After my mother remarried, she continued to travel in her RV. And when that became a little too much for them, they switched to taking cruises. On my mother’s 80th birthday we took her to Nashville, Tennessee to see her beloved country stars preform in the Grand Ole Opry. It was the last major trip she took. Later on, she and my sister did make a few short trips to visit my brother Robert in Georgia to visit him when he was feeling poorly.
I guess I was bitten by that travel bug as well. You know about the trips I took when I was a child and teenager. Even though our destinations were somewhat limited for a while, it was still nice to get out on the road. Despite the fact that we just went straight up north and back for these familial visitations, we did see a few interesting things along the way. I even did poke my nose out of my books to look out the back window of the Winnebago to see the countryside once in a while. Besides, we did have to get off the main highways occasionally before we could connect to other highways. My mother even stopped at a scenic overlook once in a while when she needed to stretch her legs out some. Since she did about 95% of the driving on these trips, we were on her time schedule and at her mercy.
I guess my desire to see the country took full blossom after I purchased the following set of picture books. I would pour over these books for hours. I would fill them full of bookmarks for places that I wanted to see. These books made it on quite a few road trips. To my untrained eye, the photos looked amazing. Now that I have been photographer for many years, the photos have aged a bit. However, I honestly believe these two books really made me into the traveler that I am today.
Over the years, I bought more travel books and videos after I bought my first four-head Emerson VCR. What a piece of crap it was. Eventually I was able to afford to buy my JVC VCRs, two of which I still own to this day. In answer to your question, I still have those travel tapes and those VCRs still work. I also still have my double deck tape player and recorder and my turntable. My two Pioneer Receivers still rock the house when I watch my movies. Old habits are hard to break.
Back to travel stuff. I still remember my first plane flight like it was yesterday. It was on United Airlines and I ate a hamburger and fries for dinner on the trip. Don’t forget that United winged pin that made me an honorary pilot. It was even pinned to my small chest by a pretty “stewardess”. They were still call stewardesses back then. It was a direct flight from Rochester, NY to Birmingham, Alabama. Airlines back then had a lot more direct flights not like today where they are less common. You also got meals on these flights not snacks or lunch boxes that you have to pay extra for. I have made dozens of flights since then. In one very bad year, I made a total of six plane trips to Florida because both my oldest brother and my stepfather died and my mother had surgery for breast cancer.
I guess you can say that travel has become a major part of my life. My garage is full of all kinds of goodies for outdoor and adventure travel. I also have several cameras and lenses dedicated to travel. Of those cameras, two are set up for for underwater photography. I have also lost track of how many suitcases and duffel bags I have either owned or still have. I now have two web pages full of travel photos, and I am currently writing a travel book. The biggest thing I have taken from my travels is my memories. Luckily, at least for now I still have them but when even these start to fade, I will be able to look back at my photos. I will reminisce about all the good times I had with my family on these travels. I will also be able to go back in time and relive all those adventures that I enjoyed. Which reminds me that I need to get off my ass and digitize all those rolls of film and slides and upload to my web pages.
I hope you have enjoyed my travel book. It certainly was fun working on it. If I am lucky you will find all the information I crammed in it to be of some use. God Bless, take care, and be safe on all your journeys.