One blog I read is NomadicMatt's and this month he is asking people to answer some pretty basic questions about why they travel. I figured I'd answer them here, so that my readers, rather than his, can learn a little more about what drives me...
•Why did you start traveling?
In 1993, I went to Dublin to see U2 play two shows there. I went with a friend from college, met two U2 "penpals" (this was before the internet, we wrote each other with pen, paper, envelopes and stamps for 6 months before the show) and then I met an really nice Irish guy who kept tempting me back across the pond for some ten years after that.... So I blame U2 for this!
•What’s your greatest travel moment/memory?
This is the most difficult question I've ever answered! If I had to pick just one? It's probably either watching my Mom turn on all the water faucets for the homeless dogs in Pompeii; they ended up following her all over Pompeii! Or finally seeing Vermeer's The Girl With the Pearl Earring in the Rijksmuseum in The Hague with my sister; she completely snuck up on and surprised us!
•What’s the worst thing that happened to you while traveling?
My grandmother died while my Mom and I were in Florence. We got the call early morning, and by then it was already too late to leave that day, which is just a horrible, helpless feeling knowing that the people at home needed us. We had to spend another day in Florence scrambling to get tickets home. Once we had the tickets sorted, we went up to San Miniato to hear the monks sing vespers. We walked up there in pouring rain, but as we came out of the dark church after, the sun had broken through the grey sky. It was as if Gram was there with us.
•If you could tell a new traveler only one thing, what would it be?
Forget everything you know about home. Forget face cloths, ice cubes and that everyone here speaks English. Where you're going may not have any or all of those things. But that's why you're doing this. Keep your eyes and mind open and adapt.
•What’s the one travel thing you can’t live without?
I love my new carry-on, after years of having one I hated because it was so inconveniently designed, this one finally works for me. Second would be my new iPod.
•What’s your biggest travel regret?
I was in Ireland and Scotland the week Princess Diana died. I was scheduled to fly home out of London the day before her funeral and really contemplated staying to see the funeral. I allowed myself to be talked out of it, and once I got home and saw the procession on tv, I really, really wish I had stayed.
Have a travel question for me? Post it here and I'll answer. Maybe! ;-)