As long as I can remember, I’ve dreamed of “faraway places” — like the ones Mother told me about when I was a child. Escaping into the fairytale world I visited in my mind was my way of dealing with real life.
“Going to China, or maybe Siam, I have the whole world to see,” she would sing in her less than perfect soprano voice.
We didn’t travel much when I was growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina. My mother was a nurse anaesthetist and worked long hours, often on weekends. My father was a merchant and took only a one-week vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as I can remember. So as soon as I was old enough to travel alone, I took off. First stop, New York City to visit my favorite Aunt Rose.
Aunt Rose was one of those “bigger-than-life” idols to me. A 1937 graduate of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Pharmacy, and the only female in her class, she was fondly known as the “May West of Chapel Hill.” We bonded during my first trip to New York. I could see that, even at 50 years old, Aunt Rose was a dead ringer for the Hollywood queen — from the perfectly coiffed blond hair, to the long false eyelashes and blue eye shadow, to the buxom figure.
Aunt Rose owned New York — or so this sixteen year old ingénue from the Carolinas assumed. With only one day dedicated to sightseeing in the city, Rose drove her car from Jamaica Estates, parked it, and handed me our tickets for the Gray Line City Tour. That was my first lesson. Take a guided tour of the new place you’re visiting. Do it on the first day. A tour gives you the highlights of the area and helps you figure out where you want to return to explore. A guided tour also makes it easier to understand a city map and to get your head compass oriented.
I learned my second travel lesson that day : wear comfortable shoes. After leaving the guided tour, we walked for miles through Chinatown and Little Italy. Fortunately we stopped along the way, popping into noodle shops and cafes with Italian pastries.
Before the day was over, my senses were on over-drive. I was hooked. Right then, I made a pact with myself that I would visit the “real” Italy and China .. and more. My unquenchable quest to see the world had begun.
The Barefoot Blogger is a solo female, retired from a career in corporate marketing and divorced after 40 years of marriage. Three years ago, on a whim and following a dream, she moved from South Carolina to Uzes, France.
Travels for work and play have taken me through Europe, into parts of southeast Asia, West Africa, Central America, the Caribbean, Istanbul and Nepal.
“Life is an adventure” and I want to explore as much as my body and my budget will bear.
Please join me as I learn about the world and myself. Especially, stumble with me through France where I don’t speak the language. I promise you fun along the way … and we’ll all learn a lot.
If you’d like, share this blog with your friends and we’ll all travel together!