Someone once asked me if money were off the table, what I would want to do with my life. Likely due to the accidental fashion in which my life had unfolded to that point, I had never put any serious thought to that question; though, in retrospect, it seems that everyone SHOULD ponder that very query with heartfelt rumination (though that would be the topic of an entirely different type of blog).
Being put on the spot to formulate a thoughtful response, I decided at that moment that being a travel writer / photographer would combine three of my favorite pastimes into the perfect occupation. While I can’t very well give up my day job in pursuit of this ideal, after a year and change of contemplating this epiphany along with some gentle encouragement on the part of some of my friends and, even some virtual strangers, whom I’ve met during my travels and travel planning (more on that later), Wanderfulltravel was born as an outlet for my interest in wandering the world with my camera and pen in hand.
As time and funds are not unlimited, I’m certainly not the most seasoned traveler in the world. That being said, my passion for travel is surpassed by few. I didn’t realize what an indelible impression my dad’s love of travel and exploration had upon the formulation of my travel obsession and the subsequent manifestation thereof. A little background… My family traveled the U.S. extensively (in a very unscheduled fashion) from the time my brother and I were tiny children, as my dad’s self-employment allowed us to spend a month at a time during the summer scouring parts near and far from our home base of Wisconsin in our Midas RV or by benefit of a flight to somewhere beyond logistical sense for a land only trip. My dad later extended our travels beyond the borders of this fine country of ours, taking us to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, (just barely) into South America and to Europe.
Travel back in the old days of my childhood wasn’t as easy to plan to the tiniest detail that is so readily accessible these days by virtue of the many online resources we now have at our fingertips. Because travel research was so much more cumbersome, and due to my dad’s adventurous nature, by the time he expanded our family’s travel horizons across the pond into Europe, our travel planning consisted of little more than inbound and outbound flights as bookends to the rental car awaiting our arrival. Upon landing in Frankfurt, we’d hop into the rented VW mini-bus (since my brother and I would have killed each other had we had to share a row of seats in a vehicle during our month long visits when I was 4 and 6 years old during my first two trips to the old country) and hit the road with nothing more than a paper map and sense of adventure guiding my dad’s way, family in tow.
To this day, I so admire my dad’s embracing the wonder of a wandering travel experience, eager to discover what lies ahead, without the benefit (or detriment) of a defined schedule or even destination. Without much more than “zimmer frei” in his foreign language repertoire, my dad would forge ahead toward anything that looked interesting and would park the car at the end of an amazing day seeing the sights wherever we found ourselves, whether it be in some tiny village in the Schwarzwald or in the downtown of a city in whichever country we arrived by nightfall.
My dad’s style of traveling by the seat of his pants, combined with my OCD tendencies dictating my need to research and plan, have intertwined into what has resulted as my personal travel philosophy, as intended to be demonstrated in this blog’s tagline. To me, travel research and planning enriches the overall travel experience, giving background, history, a game plan and anticipation for the upcoming trip in question. By the same token, travel is travel, and one can never expect what is planned to transpire according to an exact schedule. You never know what kind of happenstances can throw a wrench into the best planned itinerary. Those types of encounters are what makes travel unique and memorable. I’ve learned to embrace these accidental occurrences and have learned from experience that my travels to date would not have been as rewarding, had my plans not veered off course and taken me to points previously unknown.