Travel has been a big part of me—well, forever. I was born in Salisbury, Maryland, a moderate size town on the Eastern Shore, surrounded by fields of tomatoes, corn strawberries, and squash—‘truck farm country. We lived in a small comfortable house on about an acre of land on the edge of town that bordered pine woods stitched together by lazy creeks. It was a 45 minute drive to the Atlantic ocean’s broad sandy beaches, which for many years were my favorite place in the world. These are my first memories, from about 3 years old.
It’s a short memory, because at 4 my father was transferred to the big city of Baltimore. We traded our open spaces and agricultural setting for a brick row house with a tiny yard, and a hundred neighbors. It was all new—we walked to a little shopping strip with a bowling alley, sandwich shop, hobby shop, small lunch counter, and a couple pharmacies with soda fountains and twirling comic book racks. We were 100 yards from a main street where an electric streetcar glided and jerked you to downtown through a dozen different-looking neighborhoods to Baltimore’s giant skyscrapers, gilded age office buildings, large, comfy department stores, and a mysterious downtown wharf.
At four, I learned that life in one spot would not be my world. We returned regularly to the land of endless truck farms to visit family friends, driving for hours, even crossing the Chesapeake Bay on a new, suspension bridge that soared 200 feet over the water. It was a good contrast, leaving the row houses and shopping centers and electric streetcars behind.
My mother had two brothers, who lived with their families, just outside Washington DC, about an hour away. We made many Sunday trips there. I enjoyed staring out the window of the big Chevy 2-door sedan, mesmerized as the trees of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway whizzed by. I still love looking out windows of moving planes, trains, and cars, for hours on end.
It made me dream of one day making trips all over the world on a motorcycle through the woods, ignoring roads, stopping when I wanted, and experiencing the thrill of the new and different.