When I was a young child, my family wasn't exactly wealthy. I started my life in a couple of small apartments and mobile homes. Considering my young adult life it isn't unusual to live cheaply when you first enter adulthood, only I did it without children. My parents worked very hard to give me and my brothers a good life. I look up to them for how they raised us while working hard and going to school. One thing I am very thankful for is that even though we didn't go on elaborate trips to Europe, we were pretty much annually going on some kind of family trip in the summer. They were always to someplace we could drive to though still out of state. These trips started with close-ish places like the White Mountains in New Hampshire and Lake George in New York. As my brother Jon (who is 4 years younger than me) and I got older we expanded our travels. Destinations then included Washington D.C. and Disney World in Florida (still always driving).
In 1994 my youngest brother Ben was born. I don't remember if we did anything that year though I doubt it. But the following year when he was just one year old, our parents decided to broaden our travels even more...to Canada. Of course Canada wasn't that much of a stretch for us. It is an easier drive to Quebec and Montreal than it is to D.C. and Florida. And back then, we didn't require passports to cross the border. But it was our first time leaving the country. I've now been to Canada nine times (including Quebec(x2), Montreal(x2), Toronto(x2), Niagara Falls, Vancouver(x2), Calgary(x2) and Banff National Park), but I probably take it for granted since it is so close. I'm realizing right now I never count Canada when considering how many times I've left the country (17 times not including Canada, 26 total). I've never thought about that before and I'm just a little shocked. I have been very fortunate to be able to travel like that. Yet, I still get jealous when I see other people who get to travel more. I've got that bug, and I've had it for a long time.
I'm gonna go off on a tangent for a moment. I just became interested in the stats of my travels, since I like statistics. My first two international trips were in 1995 and 1996 (Quebec/Montreal and Montreal again). After that I didn't leave the country again until 2000. Here's a few numbers to put things in perspective for my travels.
In twenty years since 1995...
- 4...continents visited
- 7...times I left the country in 2014
- 7...Couchsurfers I have met up with in other countries
- 8...most countries I visited in one trip (Europe 2012)
- 14...foreign national capitals visited (includes 2 city-states)
- 12...people I've traveled out of the country with more than once
- 15...calendar years in which I spent time outside of the country
- 23...countries visited (25 if you break UK into England, Scotland and Northern Ireland)
- 26...trips outside the country
- 44...people I traveled with on personal trips (does not include work colleagues, tour
group attendees, classmates during class in London or people who lived where I traveled)
I could go on and on with statistics, but these are the easiest ones for me to think of without spending too much time on it.
Anyway, the whole point of this is that if it wasn't for my parents I might not have caught the travel bug so early on in my life. It all goes back to that first international trip to Quebec and Montreal. Below is a picture of my brother Jon and me overlooking the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec. Since Canada is included, Jon is the person I have been on the most international trips with (5). That amuses me since he isn't too interested in travelling (as evidenced in the photo below). But four of those five trips were with the family to Canada.