One by one, he carefully scooped us up and carried us to the car, laid us in the back seat, and covered us with blankets and baby dolls. As the sun rose and peeked through the windows of our cream-colored Chevy station wagon, my younger sister and I would slowly sit up and rub the sleep from our eyes. Suddenly, excitement would build from our toes to the tips of our head... VACATION! It started the same way every year. Dad packed the car in the middle of the night, loaded us in the car and headed out so he could get most of the drive out of the way before we woke up.
No matter the distance or the location, vacation was always a treat. Most years, we would spend time at Table Rock Lake where we fished off the green astro turf-covered dock and swam until our hearts were content. And often, my parents would bring a cousin or three along or a friend so there would be someone to be the tie breaker in arguments between my sister and me. On the odd occasion we traveled further than the lake, driving across as many states as possible en route to our final destination. We cruised the border between the United States and Canada, shot across the country on an Amtrak train and flew to Disney World.
My parents sparked my interest in travel at a very young age. They shattered the boundaries of our city and opened the doors of possibility for me, my sister, and many others. Vacation still makes me giddy and even causes me to lose sleep. I try to venture out of St. Louis at least three times each year. I take one trip with my immediate family, one with my nephew for his birthday, and one with my friends.
This year, my travel bill was booked solid with trips to California, Nevada, Florida, Georgia, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Iowa, Kansas, Alabama and, up next, New York. If I am lucky there will be at least one more jaunt slightly west for a friends birthday in November. And before my lifetime draws complete, I'd like to see the continents I haven't visited yet. Who's with me?