For April, we wanted to get at the heart of why people travel—so we asked, “what inspired you to start traveling the world?” The winning response was from traveler Michael C., whose story about his grandfather perfectly captured the understanding that comes with traveling the world and seeing new places.
“My grandfather’s family was from England originally,” Michael explained over the phone. “They were from a poor family and didn’t have the means to travel. But my grandfather ended up joining the Royal Engineers during World War II, where he was sent from North Africa, to Sicily, all the way down through Italy, and eventually ended up in Austria.”
Michael fondly remembers his grandfather’s tales about his travels, the scorpions he’d have to check for in his boots as he trekked through the Sahara Desert and the hospitality of the Italian people—but what he never realized, until he was much older, was that all of these stories were about his grandfather’s experience during the war.
“He always talked about the positive things, how friendly the people that he met were,” Michael says. “He never once mentioned the war.”
All of his grandfather’s stories inspired Michael to get out and see the world, and to share those journeys with his children as well. “Upon having kids, we wanted them to see places—we did a lot of road trips growing up.” He also tries not to visit the same place twice, knowing that the world is so big and there’s so much to see. “As much as life is great here, there’s a lot more out there if you want to give it a try.”
Just two years ago, Michael was able to visit continental Europe for the first time on a Go Ahead trip to Paris and Rome. “I was just blown away,” he says of the experience. And as for his favorite moment?
“We had a free evening in Paris, and we were walking along the Seine when we found this dinner cruise that was about to take off. I asked one of the guys, ‘look, do you have an extra table for just two people?’ It was really impromptu, but they had space, so we just jumped on this thing. The guy took us to the front of the boat where there was one table left, in the very best spot. It was an absolutely beautiful panoramic view, clear blue sky, the food was absolutely spectacular. Even now, we still talk about that experience.”
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