A family friend likes to tell this story of when I was a young child:
Adults were relaxing around the dinner table after a lovely meal. All the other children had run outside to play, but I remained seated, attentive. At some point there was a lull in the conversation, whereupon I stood up and announced to the table "I'm going to travel the world!"
- A night in rural New Zealand, arriving at a hotel only to find it closed for renovations. The caretaker informing me there was nowhere else to go and no grocery or restaurant open at that hour. Then saying: "Well, we've got some friends coming and we're about to throw something on the barbie; why don't you stay over and join us?"
- Taking shelter on a door stoop during a deluge in Sweden, with no money for transportation and a four mile walk ahead to the ferry. An elderly woman opening the door, comprehending my situation despite not speaking the same language, walking me to the subway with her umbrella, putting a coin in and pushing me through the turnstile as she smiled and waved goodbye.
- A young cabbie in Iceland who was so enamored with my 78 year old, Icelandic-speaking mother-in-law, that he invited us to his house for dinner. When we told him it was our last night, he insisted we come back and stay with his family on our next vacation.
Amongst all the beauty and wonder of travel, the simple, ordinary encounters have been my most memorable and inspiring.