The Traveling Man

We arrived in Bangkok late last night, but my wanderlust had me up again this morning before my alarm could even go off. While my friends were all sleeping, I made my way through the city to a Thai flower market that I had read about the night before.

I was the only foreigner in the entire market, walking through stalls of marigolds, plumerias, and orchids. My blonde hair and fair skin was a dead give away that I did not belong among the locals, but I wandered on, snacking on a breakfast of the sweetest pineapple and dragonfruit I had ever had, which I bought from a street vendor for about a dollar. The scent of fresh ginger, garlic and onion kept catching my nose, and the colorful flowers and complete language barrier made me realize that I was finally in my element.

I thought of my own father, who more than anyone would understand the urge to get up early and go get lost in the side streets of some foreign city.

If you ever thought that I travel a lot, you certainly haven’t met my father.

A travel guru himself, he’s spent his entire life exploring this extraordinary world, running his own travel agency, writing guide books, guiding private tours to countless countries, and selling his photography from abroad.

As a child, I would ask my mother where he was, and was always met by an exciting and exotic answer, “Peru,” “Japan,” “Africa.”

At some point I stopped asking because I couldn’t keep up, and I grew to be content knowing he was traveling and that he would take me with him when he could.

I often wondered what it would be like to have had a father with a 9 to 5 job. I wondered if it would have been nice to have family dinners, or have him at dance recitals, or at every birthday.

But then I wonder what it would be like to not have a father I can call from Seoul one morning and ask him how to get to the city from the airport, or not have a father who I can throw a list of cities at and receive a full itinerary in return.

I can’t imagine not having a father with whom I can barter in the bazaars of Marrakech with, or with whom I can explore the waterfalls of Iceland with.

Worst of all, I can’t imagine not having a father who, when I ramble off all the places I want to go in this world, says, “GO, GO, GO!”

Because of his passion, and my mothers as well, our home was filled with Guatemalan textiles, Egyptian Papyrus, African tribal masks, Peruvian music, and Vietnamese hats. Our bookshelves were lined with colorful travel guides to anywhere you could imagine, and I spent a considerable amount of time in the their travel agency office as a child, studying their maps and spinning a globe.

Growing up any other way would have been boring.

By giving me the world, you gave me more than you’ll ever realize, and for that- I am eternally grateful. Happy Father’s Day Tato.