Why I travel...and watch out for Robin Hood! (Pete)
One great thing about being a kid is you don't know that your dreams may never be reality. I grew up in Bradford, a small city in northwestern Pennsylvania known for Kendall Oil, Case knives, Zippo lighters and, of course, snow.
Growing up there when I did was a special time. Those younger days were spent playing baseball with friends, swimming at the city pool and eating frozen Reese’s peanut butter cups, and riding our bikes miles and miles away from our neighborhood. The only restriction: Be home by dark, a rule that sometimes was broken.
Those were also days of dreams. What did I want to become? What was my future to bring, and where did I want to go? That last question was helped by my voracious reading habit. From fiction to science fiction to non-fiction, it seemed the words on those pages took me from my hometown to locations around the world. At that time, though, travel was not something my family did often. Vacations were always local with an occasional trip to the relatively close by Adirondacks but never much farther.
The travel bug, however, never left. After graduating from college I started my first job as a reporter for a small newspaper in Chambersburg, Pa. Even though it was just 200-some miles from home, it showed me that the Commonwealth was a very large and diverse state.
My first airplane ride was in 1976 on a charter to Las Vegas where I covered the filming of the TV show Almost Anything Goes. (Boy, does that date me!) The team representing Chambersburg won the national title and I got to report and photograph the event. Because of the time difference I stayed up all night after the filming to get my story in for the next day and to catch the flight home. One of my most vivid memories was wandering at 4 a.m. through the casino at the hotel in which we were staying and seeing someone lose about $15,000 on a roulette spin. At the time that was more than I made in a year! Some experience for my first travel adventure.
After that, life led me to new jobs in new cities, to the woman I love and with whom I share my life now, and to two sons. All those combined to keep travel a goal just a bit out of reach. Until Oxford.
In 2001, I was nearing the end of my work for my doctoral degree from Duquesne University. As part of the program, my cohort was invited to participate in an international education conference at St. Peter’s College, Oxford. Ellen and I went over several days early and stayed in London before heading to Oxford.
When we got to London we were, as could be expected, jetlagged and a bit disoriented. We decided to take a walk while waiting to check in at our hotel. As we walked along a street, we were amazed at the huge wall along the sidewalk. We kept going…and so did the wall. Finally we came to its end, turned left and there it was…Buckingham Palace. We had been walking beside it without knowing. Standing in front of an iconic building I had seen so many times before in books, magazines, TV shows and movies, it was exhilarating…and cemented my desire to travel.
That trip, that pivotal moment, started what has been years of not just travel but of adventures and misadventures. We have crawled into a pyramid, rode a gondola in Venice, climbed Mt. Vesuvius, wandered the siege tunnels of Gibraltar, walked through the bottom of the Coliseum, sailed near a pod of killer whales in Alaska, stood under the gaze of four presidents at Mt. Rushmore, and stood reverently in the awe-inspiring beauty of the Sistine Chapel.
As magnificent as those were, they were made even more special by the fact that I did each with Ellen. None of the thrill of being in any of those locations could compare with the thrill of seeing them not only though my own eyes, but through the joy in Ellen’s eyes. She is also a seeming expert on wherever we go, much to my benefit by making each trip just a bit easier. Of course, there was the time at Warwick Castle in England when she got into a “discussion” with the archer demonstrating the power of his longbow. The result: Never, as I learned then, argue with Robin Hood!
When we started this blog and website, we talked about what we wanted it to be and what we wanted to call it. We settled on Two to Go to indicate, in general, what it is. We added the tagline “Travel from here to there, with a bit of life thrown in...” to show that it is more than just trips and sites and adventures. It is the world and slices of life that we hope you enjoy because we enjoy sharing them.
Stay tuned for the next adventure…and watch out for Robin Hood!