Impetus to Travel

TheWineBarPanamaCity

Whatever you want to classify “it” as,  I have most definitively got “it”- the thing known as  “the travel bug”, “wanderlust”,“itchy feet”, “peripatetic-‘itis’”.  I would undoubtedly be considered a late bloomer when it comes to “destination traveling”, having only flown on my first plane at the liberated age of 21 to Tucson, Arizona-one of my favorite haunts in the Southwestern part of the U.S.

You see, growing up with 8 brothers and 1 sister inconveniently and oftentimes severely handicapped my parents’ ability to move and roam about the country.  Like clockwork, every July, my parents packed my nine siblings and I in our chestnut brown Oldsmobile and headed due North to our birthplace -Chatham, Ontario, Canada.  We knew what to expect, for my parents rarely deviated from the stated itinerary- Kingston Park, Fairfield Museum, Farmers’ Marketplace, ending with an all day excursion/treat to Niagara Falls. Although I was grateful for my parents’ ability to provide some summer recreation other than the public library, I became endlessly bored with those so-called summer getaways.

I longed for something more than the routine city tour, something more than the routine local highlights perfunctorily performed by some disengaged tour guide.  I imagined myself to be like many of the characters from my childhood literary infatuations.  I wanted to inherit the independent and survivalist mentality of Robinson Crusoe from The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. I wanted to be pragmatic and resourceful like Gulliver of Gulliver’s Travels.  I wanted to be carefree and free spirited like Mr. Kerouac from On the Road.

In particular, it was Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, that deeply resonated with me and prompted me to want to gallivant and explore uncharted territory beyond the boundaries of my hometown, Harford, Ct. Maya’s elementary school teacher told her that “Stamps is just one place in Arkansas. Arkansas is just one place in the U.S. The U.S is just one place in North America and North America is just one place in the world”. I knew that Hartford, CT was just one place in this vast universe that had something of import to offer me.

That insatiable thirst for things peculiar and unknown, for adventures and misadventures “off the beaten path”, for the unmarked and “less traveled” road has landed me in some quite spectacular places in the last 15 years, but at the same time has allowed me to develop a remarkable sense of otherworldliness.  I have camped out in a ger (pronounced gair), trekked across the sand dunes in the Gobi, consulted with shamans, drank camel’s milk with a herdswoman in the outer reaches of Mongolia.  I have eaten braised pigeon, rowed across West Lake, hiked up the Great Wall, dined with education dignitaries in mainland China.

WestLake

I have climbed an active volcano, visited ancient ruins, advised school age children in Guatemala.

Guatemalagirls

I have taken Samba classes in Rio, sat in Hemingway’s favorite speakeasy in Havana and honed my palette for wine in Provence.

Hemingwayshangout

These diverse array of experiences have molded me into whom I am today- a prudent “risk taker”, whom you will not catch cliff jumping off La Quebrada Cliffs in Acapulco, Mexico or bungee jumping off Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown, New Zealand, but whom you would definitely find nestled in a quaint wine bar in Panama City, Panama sipping on a glass of tempranillo.

TheWineBarPanamaCity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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