Kid Free Travel

My Wanderlust Beginnings

My travel addiction started early. I think its common now to start traveling when you’re a child but back in the day, we’re talking late 80s here, it was more unusual. See, I was a military brat. And at the tender age of 8, I was off to see the world.

I was born on the east coast to a Navy family and for the first several years of my life I grew up in Virginia. My father got transferred overseas to Naples, Italy around 1988 and that’s where the adventures began!

Bay of Naples 80s

Looking out onto the Bay of Naples with Mt. Vesuvius in the background. Late 80s

Ahh…Bella Napoli!

Even though we were a military family, being a young black girl in southern Italy was quite unusual at the time. Luckily my mom was all about us seeing the world, experiencing different cultures and she didn’t let being a minority in a foreign country stop her. She took us everywhere! Seriously. She’d get my brother and I ready, pack up the car, and we’d be off. Making our way onto the tangenziali, and destination unknown…Bari, Sicily, the Amalfi Coast, Pisa…you name it, we went. It was an amazing experience and it has influenced my love of travel more than anything else.

Exploring Italy in the 80s

My brother and I in Italy in the late 80s

I was lucky enough to also be in a school program that took us on trips throughout Italy as well. We traveled with chaperons to Venice, walked the streets of Saint Mark’s Basilica, rode in gondolas, and explored the various islands. I still have some souvenirs from that trip 20+ years later: ceramic Venetian masks and glass figurines from Murano.

If you have children, I encourage you to start them on traveling early on. Even though they’re young, and may not truly appreciate the experience, traveling will leave its mark. They’ll be more well-rounded, more tolerant, and will become more worldly as they interact with various people and cultures.

Ruins of Pompeii

Visiting the ruins of Pompeii on a class field trip in late 1980s

If you’re young yourself, I’d start traveling as soon as you can! Remember, you don’t have to be rich to travel the world. Save up a bit of money, book well in advance, stay at B&Bs or even go the Airbnb route. Much of the world can be seen on a budget so don’t let a lack of funds stop you from getting your wanderlust on.

What about you, what inspired your wanderlust?

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