It started way back in 1980 when my father was in the hospital (one of the dozen times) and he had given my mother a brochure for Holland America Cruises. My mother put it on the pile of magazines and newspapers she brought for him. She had more pressing things on her mind like when was he getting out of there. He said he didn't know but to him what was more pressing was forgetting about his health issues and making a reservation as soon as possible! So she did!
Back then, you couldn't just push a button on a computer mouse to make a reservation, you had to actually go to a travel agency. She did and suddenly that June we were on our first cruise! The cruise line had sold out of larger staterooms and gave us two separate cabins for the same price. The whole trip was like a dream. I was hooked and so was my father. He was already planning his next cruise before we even got off the ship. This is where my fever began.
Travel requires something I often do not have which is money. It is not cheap. You can get a great deal but when you don't make a great deal of money, a great deal is still a tremendous luxury. A luxury that I find difficult to live without. Everyone should travel whenever they can, and as often as they can. It opens your eyes to history, different cultures, and different ways of living. It make you love the world in ways you never imagined and makes you care about global economics and global political unrest. It makes you appreciate the fact that our travel dollars enhance economies, provide jobs, and gives the traveler an education you cannot get in any classroom. I guarantee you will meet people that are so unbelievably kind and humble that you will want to hand them whatever little money you have because you have nothing else to give them at that moment.
I experienced this in a little town in Spain called Ejicia. Ejicia is very small but beautiful. While on a tour of southern Spain, our tour bus stopped at the bus station there.We were given a small map with the points of interest marked on it, told to be back at the bus station in one and a half hours, we were on our own. After walking for quite a while, we were near the Iglesia de Santa Maria when my friend and I realized that we were lost. A man sweeping the sidewalk in front of the church noticed that we were lost. Since neither of us spoke Spanish, we both yelled, "No habla Español" He already knew that. He was trying to get the attention of the woman walking down the street behind us.The man had already explained to her that we were lost and that we were probably looking for the bus station. He was absolutely right! She immediately came over and said "I speak a little English"
She began to walk with us. She did not just point in a direction. She did not just try to tell us in broken English where the bus station was. She actually walked us to the bus station. At that moment, I felt like a complete moron not knowing how to speak Spanish which I had taken in high school for five years. We made the woman stop once we could see the bus station. I tried to give her money. She refused. I begged her to take it .Of course we said "Gracias" a hundred times since that was the one thing I remember from high school, but I didn't feel like it was enough. This was above and beyond. I took her hand and put it in her hand and quickly walked away. I don't even know how much it was nor did I care. All I kept thinking the entire way home was "Gosh I hope there are some New Yorkers like her!"
I doubt it. I am a New Yorker and New Yorkers don't treat me that way!