When I was a young child, my father, who was in the U.S. Air Force at the time, was stationed in Panama. So of course, my mom, my older brother and I moved with him and made our home in the country for over three years. Because he was in the military, my father was able to book “hops” on these huge windowless C30 military planes for about $10 or so per person, and so my parents realized that it was the perfect opportunity to expose us to travel at an early age. During our time in Panama, we traveled to various countries in Central and South America including Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. It was such a great introduction to the world.
When we finally moved back to the U.S., my parents continued the tradition of traveling with us during our annual family vacations (they would take their own annual, adults-only vacations too while we stayed with our grandparents). During our summer vacations, we were able to explore and discover so much of the U.S. Each day after time spent sightseeing, going to museums, etc., my parents would quiz us about everywhere we visited and everything we learned that day. Those experiences offered us such a great education about life, people, and cultures outside of our home in L.A.
It’s funny because now that I’m married, my husband and I are avid travelers, and my parents always ask us when we plan on staying put. It always baffles me because they’re the ones who inspired and encouraged me to travel in the first place!
So, the time we spent traveling during the “Panama Years” as I call them, and my parents’ insatiable wanderlust, definitely rubbed off on me in such a profound way, and I truly believe that travel is now a part of my DNA.