For as long as I can remember, my mother and father have tried to instill in me a more cultivated sense of the world. As a child all I wanted was to visit Walt Disney World (where dreams come true), while they instead ignored my pleas and fulfilled their own travel checklist on never-ending jaunts to the historical cities of Europe. Of course, at my young age, history was a nightmarish word for a child, and surely no one could deny the allure of a magical castle where a real princess lives!

Upon our return from these European summer vacations and back at school in the fall, I was inevitably forced to sit through my classmates’ tales of riding roller coasters with Mickey Mouse and taking photos with Cinderella herself in front of that magical castle. Then one day a few years later, I had an experience that made everything finally click.

In second grade at the age of eight, my family and I traveled to Germany, where we visited Neuschwanstein Castle. I was completely captivated by the grand hallways, expansive murals and elaborate chambers. Then our tour guide informed us that the creators of Walt Disney World had used the design and building structure of Neuschwanstein Castle as a model for Cinderella’s famous Castle at the theme park. Unexpectedly, I had found myself in the real-life, legitimate, bonified place that I had dreamed of traveling to for so long. Instead of the counterfeit.

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You better believe that when I returned to school that year, everyone finally heard a full report of my summer vacation, as I’d finally realized how magical my own family vacations really were. But more importantly for me, that day in Germany was when I realized that there were bigger and better things out there. I developed a passion to see the world, and I hoped (and still do) to encourage others to see it as well.

I started my bucket list when I was 8 years old.

Now some 21 years later (as I’ve now aged myself), I’ve traveled extensively throughout the world. Travel has defined me as a person. I majored in Tourism Management in college and have worked in various positions within the Travel Industry as an adult. Hopefully this blog stands alone as proof to how important travel is in my life.

Of course, I realize how infinitely lucky I was to have parents to take me along on their adventures and the resources to travel at such a young age. I also realize how supremely bratty I was to not even appreciate my privilege at first. But in those days (late 80’s/early 90’s), extensive travel wasn’t nearly as common and easy as it is now. Therefore, I encourage parents with younger children to go ahead and steal this idea for your own family. Travel to the places that inspire fairy tales!

It might instead inspire some significantly bigger things.

 

**Please note as this all happened when digital cameras were reserved only for Government Operatives and select Silicon Valley visionaries, I do not have any photos readily available. The Mickey Mouse themed camera that I used at the time unfortunately did not survive the 90’s. The photos used in this post are stock images, and were not taken by me.

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