As far back as I can remember, the best trips I took began at our kitchen table, my father peering over my shoulders, watching as I absorbed materials from the travel books he had painstakingly assembled for my benefit. It was within those pages that worldly expeditions to cities I couldn’t pronounce came alive — prerequisites to places we would soon be visiting. It was here that tastes were cultivated so that by the time the real vacation happened, I was already familiar with the landmarks I had vicariously visited.
I was fortunate to have parents who brought me along on their journeys. Educating me through travel, and turning me into a sophisticated adventurer, became their mission. And while I balked at the idea of having to pore through historical tomes, it was part of the required reading they had established for me.