I find it marvelous and amazing that just steps outside our new home, I can embark on an adventure by subway, train, or airplane with such ease and affordability.

My first solo travel adventure began yesterday as I traveled to Venice by train to meet up with old friends who are on a sightseeing trip in Italy.  There’s nothing like childhood friends- time has aged us (and definitely fattened me!) but I can remember like yesterday the clever retorts, the intelligent repartee, and the sheer fun of time spent doing nothing but hanging out. 

In our youth, we were intellectual equals and the banter and good-natured competition made me comfortable with discourse (some would way ‘arguments’ or ‘stubborn insistence on a position’) that served me well in a fairly male-dominated world of high stakes mergers and acquisitions corporate law for the past 31 years.  We are all shaped by experiences we’ve had in our past, aren’t we?

The ability to simply walk out our front door and to then transform our surroundings into an exotic or new location reminds me of our first international trip we took as a family.  It was the summer of 2001 and the girls were 8 and 10 – some think those are ages that are too young for kids to travel, but I disagree.

Is it an age that is too young to play sports, to learn to enjoy a library, or to learn how to play a musical instrument? I don’t think so. Aren’t these experiences really opportunities to learn how to appreciate something that can grow into a lifelong love of such things as athletics, reading, or music?  Isn’t it the dawning of habits and passions that can be imprinted on us for life?  I think so, and I think the same can be said for travel.  While historical facts or even particular places might fade from a child’s memory, the joy of seeing a completely new place, hearing people talk a different language, observing how families interact or engage in their own expressions of religion, and the realization that the world does not revolve us can’t help but broaden a child’s perspective of their own place in the world. Some Americans say you shouldn’t travel abroad until you’ve seen all that America has to offer.  I agree that we should experience America and its geographic and cultural diversity too.  I just don’t think it needs to be sequential.  I’m so grateful that we could experience world travel as a family together starting at our daughters’ tender ages of 8 and 10, and I think it shaped who all of us became.

These adventures remain for me the source of some of our fondest family memories.