As a woman raised by a man, I have a deep appreciation for women and men and the roles they play.  In my eyes (traditionally), women bring nurture and comfort, while men bring discipline. Well nothing about the world we live in is traditional. And while relationships and family structures continue to evolve, both of these roles are critical in developing a person.

As a single parent, my dad played both roles.  However, he didn’t do it alone.  He had a village of  men and women, his mother, sisters, cousin’s, neighbors, friends and girlfriend, to name a few.

What does any of this have to do with travel?  Well, my village seems to span the entire world! Ok, maybe just the USA ( multiple states), that I got to see through the eyes of my village mothers. Lol. For me, this  was MY entire world. These are some of those states and some of my village mothers.

Alabama

My birth mother lived in Alabama where life was slow compared to New York City.  When I’d visit,  I would run through the grass everyday. I didn’t have to go to a park outside my neighborhood,  it was in the back yard… and so much of it.   My birth mom taught me to appreciate space and the smell of nature.  To this day, I enjoy traveling and experiencing both… which most of the time I have to travel for, because I live in the concrete jungle.

Enjoying the space in Lamanai, Belize

New Jersey

My aunt moved to New Jersey with her husband… who was African. I would always stare when I thought no one was looking… mostly I thought if I stared at his lips when he spoke, I would understand his accent.

My aunt told me on her visit to Ghana…

I would always stopped to say hi to the family cow, Betsy, coming and going from the house.  One day when I came back the cow wasnt there. At dinner I asked, ‘Where is Betsy?’ A few people looked down at their plates…

Oh, it was a different world and I wanted to see it for my self. It also made me eager to learn about how families lived outside of “my village”.  I’ve learned that there are more working animals than machines the more I travel.  Like this camel in Egypt along with the flies that worked my nerves…lol

Appreciating the working animals in Egypt 

Maryland and Louisiana

One of my dad’s best friends was in the military and visiting her was always a new adventure. Seeing men and women in uniform during the day and playing volleyball in the evening meant I could play hard after I worked hard. She taught me that women can provide discipline and still be feminine and fun.

Chasing frogs in Louisiana  might be the reason I go to the zoo in almost every country I visit. Every place I visit provides a natural home to a beautiful animal that may not survive in NYC, lol. The elephants in the Bali zoo were apparently saved from being hunted in Sumatra Indonesia. And because I think riding them is cruel,  we fed them like this family from India.

 

More importantly my army mom was the first person I knew who traveled abroad during our relationship, outside of a book or a story, about the past. Bringing this concept to life was everything for me.

Let us know who has influenced your travel… and I’ll share more next time.

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