Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Travels Past

I traveled a bit when I was a boy. We had family vacations in 1970s East Coast America, and later we moved on into 1980s East Coast America and Eastern Canada. They were usually brief but painful exercises in trying to do as much as possible in a short a period of time while minimizing spending. My first vacation, remembered through stories of it and tickets saved in a scrap book, was to Lake George. A sylvan locale in the far reaches of New York State, it offered easy access to the New York Thruway, numerous motels, and a lake with a paddle boat, called the Minne-Ha-Ha. I'm sure it was lovely. I was two, and I have always had a fondness for this place, although I don't really know what I did there.

Afterward, we took a family vacation to Disneyworld. This would have been in the summer of 1975, I think. I was four. Summertime in Florida was hot and wet, and the lines in Disneyworld were long. This was the first time I took a plane, and the only time I ever traveled on a plane with my parents or sister.

I began to take trips on my own shortly thereafter. I walked to and from school, and rarely took the same way twice. This was challenging, because there were not many variations available using traditional roads. I was forced to resort to creative use of the yards of the neighbors. Over or under fences, inspecting gardens and rabbit hutches, occasionally fleeing from people who shouted out their windows at me, meeting dogs and befriending them, finding treasures in the trash cans, picking up intriguing sticks... And then having to explain to my mom how it had taken me 45 minutes to walk three blocks. Travel has always been broadening.