This is the last edition of the ‘A world of Inspiration‘ series. For twenty straight weeks, this series has featured inspiring stories from some of the most talented travel writers around. This week’s edition is brought to you by Dee Anne White who is a modern day nomad on Jimmy Choo stilettos! 🙂 Dee Anne’s story is certainly one I can relate to. My Dad was also a ‘King of Wanderlust’ who inspired me in so many ways. I hope you enjoy this heartwarming final edition.
The King of Wanderlust
When Keith asked me to contribute a piece to his “World of Inspiration” series, about an inspiring person I’d met while travelling, I thought of the many people I’d met both far and wide. There were so many interesting people, and so many possible stories. In the end, I realised I need only look towards home, and to my father, for the person who’s been my inspiration to travel. In the same vein as an article I recently wrote about my grandmother, who inspired both my outlook on enjoying life and LiveTheCharmedLife.com, it seemed only fitting to share a bit about the person who continues to inspire my wanderlust.
My father was born in a very small town called Duplex, Texas. Texans are notorious for believing there couldn’t be anywhere better, but he wasn’t the norm. He went away to Arizona in the army, and fell in love with the desert. He lived in Japan for business, and embraced the culture. He visits my stepbrother in Venice often, and is learning the language. He has an insatiable appetite for learning about other countries and cultures, and is always looking for the next travel adventure.
My father came into my life when I was four. He adopted me, and took me under his wing. It might not have been the most conventional father/daughter relationship, but he has given me guidance in so many things. He taught me about math, sport, and how to face down my fears. He wasn’t one to coddle, but he made me believe I could accomplish anything. He wasn’t extremely affectionate, but I was taught that the world was my oyster, and that it was full of adventure and interesting people.
Even now he encourages my love of exploration. When I decided to visit South Africa for the first time, and others were uncertain about my choice, Dad encouraged me to go, and instantly had a contact for me in Cape Town should I need assistance. I wouldn’t be the capable woman I am today without his insistence on being independent, and living an exceptional life.
During his first career, my father travelled often, and he was always one to make the most of a business trip. Rather than sit in a hotel room after meetings, he would go exploring whichever city or country he was in. This helps to explain why his favourite oyster bar is in New Orleans, his favourite ice cream shop is in Michigan, his favourite city is Tokyo, and his favourite travel experience was flying over the Alps.
At times he couldn’t tell us where he was going on a trip, due to the nature of his business, but when he came home he’d have souvenirs and stories to share. I would daydream about the places I would visit when I was grown. I wrote short stories out of my imagination about Paris, London and Russia. My school projects were always on a foreign land, and I was mesmerized by Africa and South America. I even considered going into the diplomatic core, to live a life of people and travel. As I sit here in Rome, having recently embarked on a year of travel, I’m struck by how those dreams must have been lying in wait to come true.
When Dad retired from his chosen field, true to his promise to never completely retire, he began searching for his next career. It was no surprise when he chose the airline industry, to take advantage of the travel benefits. His love of travel and adventure have now become almost legendary. He loves Puerto Rico, believes Austria to be the most beautiful country, has hiked Cinque Terre, had his thumb bitten by a shark on a fishing trip in Mexico, wants to visit Kyrgyzstan next, and is still planning to run with the bulls in Pamplona.
He also has in mind a trip to both circumnavigate the globe, while flying both as far north and as far south as possible. In other words, he has no intention of slowing down, or of letting the adventure end, and this may be the most inspiring thing of all.
About this week’s guest writer
Dee Anne White is a girl adventurer, traveller, aspiring expatriate, and lover of cricket, golf, wine, Jimmy Choos and life. Dee Anne shares her experiences on Live the Charmed Life, a site which “shares the ways I’ve built a life I love, because somehow I’ve become the person others come to with those sorts of questions. I’m the girl many call if they want to plan a trip to London, get the name of a fantastic restaurant in NYC or Las Vegas, pick the perfect bottle of wine, find out the score of the Laker game, throw a memorable backyard party, or get a perspective from behind rose colored glasses.”