32 Years ago I left the continent of America for the first time. I was 20 years old and I had saved half of every paycheck, for over a year to go see all the places that existed on the world map in my childhood bedroom. Some I had already visited in my collection of encyclopedias and National Geographics. In the early 1980’s we did not have the Internet, TV shows or video documentaries to learn from, so the written page was my window to the world.
I am not sure why I always had such a strong urge to travel. I think some of it was the amazing people I grew up with. Aunts and Uncles and Parents who had a thirst for adventure and a quest to make the most of life. Ironically, some of it may have been my lack of academic strength at the point in my life. I am dyslexic and I did not know it until much later in life. This put me in a position of not really having a great shot at college. But I liked people, I liked to work, and I was insatiably curious. In a way, this was my freedom. Unlike other young men I knew, I did not have to map a plan to what I wanted through something else. I simply choose what I wanted and did it. And what I wanted was to see the world.
I landed in London and after a brief, properly rude British reception at customs; I was given a mere six weeks to explore the UK. After boarding a train to central London I found myself on a street corner, all alone with nowhere to be. It was exhilarating.
A young girl came up to me and asked me if I needed a place to stay and I said yes. She took me to a hostel in South Kensington called Astor. I only stayed a few days before I ventured off to Scotland, Ireland, France, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Morocco. I decided to return to London for Christmas and I went to the hostel where in the first five minutes I met Wendy. We have been together ever since and now we have returned for the first time. London has changed and so have we, but the journey remains.