When it comes to sharing the joys of traveling, I must begin by expressing my gratitude to my lovely mother.
My mom is a remarkably strong lady. She overcame a childhood of emotional and psychological abuse by a father who probably was not shown much love in his own childhood. Her joyful spirit and kind, generous nature-as well as her faith in God and higher love-strengthened her to endure years of living in a stressful environment.
Breaking the cycle. That's what my mom was all about. She set the power of her mind to also break the cycle of poverty which was the backdrop of her upbringing. Instead of rebelling against the negative influence of her father in a self-destructive way, she put her energy into studying and working hard in school, devoting herself to musical projects and studying Christian principles like love and forgiveness, which she continuously chose to apply to her life. She studied for hours until it was too dark to read (her father did not allow use of electric lights after the sun went down). She earned a scholarship and pursued higher education at the University of Florida, where she lived in a dorm to save money and worked part time in addition to studying. She disciplined herself to live frugally-that means within her means, not spending money on frivolous items that were not necessary-and kept her standard of living low so that she could save money and sidestep the trap called debt.
She was determined to give her children the opportunities that she never had, which means she invested the hard-earned money that she exchanged for years of her life's energy into college tuition programs, wedding gift funds and gifts of many forms-academic, leisure and travel. The greatest of these gifts were travel.
Not only did she take and send us-myself and my sister, Rebecca-on trips to beautiful places like Canada, Mexico and Yellowstone, she instilled in us the value of living within one's means, saving one's resources for the most important goals in one's life and living in financial freedom.
The subsequent trips I have made over the course of my life would not have been possible without the tutelage and guidance of my mother.
My strong, beautiful, wise, patient, kind, gentle, loving mother. This and all travel posts to come are dedicated to her. Thank you for teaching me the value of living within my means, mom. Thank you for teaching me not to use a credit card unless I could afford to pay off the entire amount spent right now. Thank you for taking me to amazing places when I was young, even though I didn't appreciate or see the significance of what you and it was doing for me and my life. I appreciate it now and evermore, more than I can express. Thank you.