Toritto in Massaua, Eritrea
I’ve had a lot of blessings in my life as well as tragedies. I grew up in a poor but loving home and was never hungry or homeless. I found love when I was young which in itself immensely exciting. I have two daughters and a grandson who make a father proud.
I went to a free college and had a career which never made me a rich man but allowed our family to live comfortably. We always owned nice homes, drove decent cars and wanted for nothing. We always had good health insurance provided through my employers and I was able to retire at 61 with comfortable pensions.
Among my other blessings in life, one other stands out – I have seen a great deal of the world. Most of my travel was work related and in 1995 I had finally had enough of it. My eldest daughter had been admitted to the college she always dreamed of attending and excitedly called her dad – who was in a hotel room in Cairo.
When I returned to New York and prior to an upcoming departure for Djakarta, I quit and took a job with the then largest bank in New Jersey. I took a pay cut but was able to come home every night. I never got to Indonesia.
Waving goodbye toAsmara – 1965
Where did I travel? Lots of places. In America I have seen the majority of the states:
New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Indiana, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Washington. Nevada, Idaho, Colorado, Tennessee, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Alabama, Illinois, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.
I have lived in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, North Carolina and Florida. My daughters were born in North Carolina and Rhode Island.
In the military I was stationed in Asmara, Eritrea and traveled to Kenya and Ethiopia at a time when one could still see wild rhinos outside of game reserves.
Elsewhere in the Americas I have spent time in Montreal and Newfoundland, Canada; Bermuda, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Brasilia, Brazil.
On the beach in Rio I came to the conclusion that one could die of terminal horniness.
In Venice – 1975
In Europe I have made extended business trips to London, Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Venice, Milan, Athens, and Istanbul. Three times I flew out of Heathrow on my way home for Christmas loaded with gifts, returning in January.
I have lived and worked in Cairo and Alexandria for several months each year in the mid-nineties and have been to Dubai, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Beirut, Lebanon (during the mid 1960s when it was deemed the “Paris of the Middle East”).
I was a Director of a leasing company in Israel and would travel to Tel Aviv every other month for a couple of years. I saw plenty of Kibbutzim and Moshavim while I was there and made regular trips to Jerusalem.
I had two passports. One for Israel and one for use in Arab countries so that visa stamps would appear separately.
Work took me to Bombay, (now Mumbai) Bangalore and New Delhi, India, Karachi and Lahore, Pakistan, Bangkok, Thailand, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China – when it was a village 25 years ago.
Oh and Colombo, Sri Lanka and the Azores.
At the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore
Unfortunately I never got Germany or Russia. If I could make one last trip it would be to St, Petersburg,
Travel gives one a perspective on the world unavailable to those who never leave these shores. There is something to be said about travel crystallizing your perceptions, honing naïve sentiments into firm sets of belief. Even within the context of culture shock, it can help keep life in perspective. And if you concentrate enough, it can help mold you into the person you strive to be.
Traveling the world through rich and poor nations will reveal to you how lucky you are.