I’ve known since about age eight that I had a problem with wanderlust. My earliest memories of “farsickness,” as the Germans awesomely put it, were while listening to a vinyl recording of Lady and the Tramp. Funny that a story inspired by a place in Missouri has so many foreign influences, from the Scottish terrier to the Siamese cats to the spaghetti scene in a cobblestone alleyway with Italian-accented musicians playing accordions. I played that record over and over until I probably wore it out.
Besides Walt Disney, it was my mom who encouraged my interest in all things exotic, through books and music and art. And it was her who gave me my first experience abroad. Fifteen years ago, she took me with her to Europe to meet up with my brother who was studying in Italy. Mom, I know I wasn’t the easiest to get along with, but I want you to know how meaningful that trip was for me. I still think that the air smells cleanest in Switzerland, that the best meal of my life was at our little farmhouse B&B in Tuscany, and that my coolest travel story was being homeless for a night in Paris.
I never know what to get people for their birthday, but I hope this little blog post is a sufficient way to say happy birthday and thank you, Mom. Also, look what you started.