My aunt Linda arrives in New Zealand today for a two-week trip with a high-school friend.
Linda has always been a role model. She received a Ph.D. in political science from a major research and had a successful 38-year career as a professor at another university. During her tenure, my aunt established the university’s women’s study program; served as department chairman and associate provost; and educated more than 5,000 students.
Linda’s willingness to travel is one of the many things I admire about her. Growing up, I loved hearing about the foods ate and towns visited while in Germany, England, and France. She and her son/my cousin spent a summer vacation driving around Nova Scotia. She was present at the end of East Germany and the reunification of Germany. Linda has gone on an African safari, cruised the Egyptian Nile, and ate paella in Spain.
The photo below is of a mural in the town square of San Jose del Cabo in Mexico where she and I spent a week together last year.
According to Linda, she has visited 24 countries and yet never seems to take them for granted. The numerous trips have given her a respectful perspective towards the places visited, applying her academic research skills to understand the cultures, peoples, and politics of the new places.
I think I understand that. Growing up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, though decades apart, we were motivated to cross borders to experience something new.
When international travel was impossible for me, I was happy to see the United States, feeling more secure in my cross-country adventures knowing Linda had just spent a month across the Atlantic. In college, I chose internships in Atlanta, Washington, DC, Chicago, and New York City. I endured two years in chilly Boston and then drove across the top of this country to the freshness of Seattle where I lived for 16 years. My career there with a regional nonprofit kept my travel tank full by traveling throughout the Northwest. Now I am living just three hours north in Vancouver, BC, with plans to use this as the base for international travel with my husband.
Linda travels the world and brings the invaluable gift of inspiration back. We chat on the phone (or all too infrequently in person) about her trips. Her journeys travel through my eyes and ears, up to my brain, down to my heart, and makes my feet move forward. I can’t wait to hear about this trip.