I’m getting ready to vacation in Portugal this fall, and preparing for the trip is sending me back in time to my first travel adventures. Here’s how it all began…
When I was younger it seemed that I would never leave the confines of the southeastern United States. I grew up in the deep south- Athens and Atlanta Georgia. We didn’t get out much, and the furthest I had traveled until into my early twenties was middle Florida. That was very distressing to me as I have a very adventurous spirit.
Fortunately, that was all to change as my interior design career took off. I worked first for a small firm in Atlanta that designed and installed fast food restaurant interiors. Not exactly the job I had dreamed of in design school. It was a place to start and the US was in an economic down turn and times were tough in the design field. Being a turnkey company, I got to see all the aspects of many projects, from design to the final result. These themed restaurant interiors were installed all over the eastern United States.
My first professional solo adventure was driving a step van from Georgia to Michigan for the delivery one of the fast food restaurant design packages. I thought I had arrived. I date myself by telling this part of my story, but this was life before cell phones, and communication on the road was via CB radios, handles, and 10-4’s. Funny, CB’s were big then and had become a culture. Remember, I didn’t get out much. My handle was ‘Georgia peach,’ which did get me down the road with some fun attention. I had a great adventure, except for that small mishap in a parking lot and having to go into a restaurant and find the owner of the car I was wedged against. That wasn’t fun! Not much damage though, just being honest and asking them to move their car so I wouldn’t do more damage.
When I landed what I’ll call my first ‘real’ design position with a firm in Richmond, the doors of my professional life opened wide, as did travel opportunities. The small firm had big commercial projects all over the US and some international work. My first trips were to New York, which of course is the design mecca of the US. I was in awe, and could hardly contain my excitement.
As my career blossomed, so did my exposure to the world, and with it amazing traveling opportunities. The firm landed a project in Japan, and I treked there over a couple of years and stay for a few weeks. It was an amazing experience, both personally and professionally. A true travel bug was ignited.
I do believe exposure is important on many levels. It helps open our eyes to other cultures and belief systems. If we embrace others with an open heart, it helps to realize that the American way is just the American way. Ours is not the universal standard for living which should be adopted by all.
People of other countries have their own rich traditions, customs, beliefs, and mores. Our unique differences makes the world richly interesting and worth investigating. Besides the cultural exposure of travel, nature’s beauty is found in the expected and not so expected places, further fueling my obsession. I am so grateful and fortunate to journey across most of the United States, Hawaii, Canada, much of Europe, China, Japan, and Indian. In addition to the personal enrichment, I bring those rich experiences into my design work as they are applicable to each project.
Adventures in Portugal coming this fall…
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