20 July, 2012

Stamps in My Passport

Photo booth mugshots: A rite of
passage for every traveler!
My aunt Dianne left an indelible mark on my life, the depth of which I'm only understanding with time.  After she died two years ago my family went to sort through the things in her house before it went up for sale.  There was silence as we handled the tangible things she amassed over decades of enjoying travel and art and books and good food...and then laughter as we shared with one another the intangible things we were learning about her in the process.  She was stylish, calm, collected...but then there was that one night that she drank too many G&Ts at a gallery fundraiser and awoke the next morning to discover that she'd successfully bid on a $2,000 art piece!  OOPS...  Beneath that regal exterior was a penchant for adventure.

I kept a number of things of hers that held meaning for me, but one of my favorites is her stack of passports.  Over many years as a buyer for department stores and office administrator for an interior design firm, the lady born & raised in the Midwest covered many miles of this big earth.  She began her career when it was still not entirely common to see a woman moving up in the workplace (cue "Mary Tyler Moore" theme song!); I like to imagine her in those days, globetrotting and holding her own in international boardrooms.  England, France, Italy, China, Japan, and countless other places.  I remember the fire of enthusiasm and memory that would flare up in her eyes when she was asked to name her favorite destination; the answer was Hong Kong.  She was unafraid to be the stranger in a strange land.  I think she discovered strength through experiencing unknown places.  She developed an eye for beauty and a confidence in her own taste.  

There are a lot of ways in which I hope to emulate my remarkable aunt, but one of the chief ones is to follow my travel bug.  She was a relentless cheerleader when I took my first trip abroad five years ago and followed every subsequent trip of mine with the same interest and pride.  As I begin a new phase of life on a teacher's budget, I can't count on accruing quite as many stamps in my passport as she did, but I nonetheless intend to make travel a priority (always asking "What Would Dianne Do?" of course!).  I've decided I'm going to begin putting together my own little series of guides to the places I've already been, and then for other destinations as I gradually continue my travels.  Follow along to collect tips and recommendations AND to learn from my many mistakes as a fledgling globetrotter! ;-)  

3 comments:

Lizbe Smit said...

Ginny, I must say, from what I read here you are very much like your aunt! Xx

CFHeidel said...

She once had dinner in Bangkok (I think). As her driver drove back to her hotel and passed through the street's intersection with the alley behind the restaurant, she espyed a white uniformed Thai-man vigorously applying his meat cleaver to a member of the canine species. Gave new meaning to "doggone it!" and "dog food."

CFHeidel said...

By the way, Gin, this was a sweet and warm remembrance. And a fine piece of writing.