It is never easy to define who you are. We grow and change all the time, especially when we are young and just beginning to get an idea of ourselves. When I try to set out who I am, then, I look at what in life means the most to me and what has shaped me in the strongest ways. That answer is not hard to identify. If anything inspires me at my deepest levels, I believe it is the opportunity to see and explore as much of the world as I possibly can. If I do not exactly find myself in these travels, I think I create who and what I am through them.
I have always been fortunate in that my parents instilled in me one message, and from my earliest years: travel is a means to understanding and education, aside from the real pleasures it provides. I know I traveled with my parents when I was very young, if only because of the evidence of photographs of myself in Hawaii. I do not actually remember the experience. I have been told, however, that I enjoyed it very much, and I believe this because later trips excite me in a way that feels both familiar and adventurous. Year after year, we would go to exotic locations, and these I very much remember. We have explored Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Bahamas. We have gone up to Seattle and then sailed to British Columbia. We toured Germany, England, and we have celebrated Bastille Day in Paris. When money was tight, we would then “stay home” and investigate all that California has to offer. Somewhere in all of this, the child who cannot remember Hawaii still remembers, and exercises all over again, the thrill of new horizons.
It may appear that I simply love the excitement of travel, especially to new cultures and exotic scenes. What has happened, however, is that what my parents truly meant from the start has become a part of me. That is, I feel I have an appreciation beyond glamorous landscapes and interestingly different locations. What I feel and see is the unique in every place, and this is the real joy of travel for me as these places – whatever they are – excite my mind and my spirit.
Paris is wonderful but, thanks to the exposure I have been privileged to see, I find a kind of wonder in Cincinnati, too. I fell in love with my mother’s alma mater, the University of Cincinnati, and I owe this appreciation to what my parents began teaching me so long ago. When we get away, we set ourselves aside and give into the new horizon. When we set ourselves aside, somehow, we gain dimension and enrich our real beings. This is who I am, I believe, and it is an evolving “who” I hope to be all of my life.