In September, 1949, when I was 11 weeks old, my mother, who was then 25, took my older brother, Bob, almost three, and me on our first airplane flight. From Westover Field in Massachusetts to Gander, New Foundland, to the Azores to Frankfurt, we puddle-jumped across the Atlantic on an Army transport, to join my father in Erlangen, Germany, where he was serving with the Occupational Forces following World War Two. My father's parents -- Jewish immigrants from Belarus and Lithuania, and my mother's parents, the childen of Polish immigrants -- saw us off. Their sense of doom must have been palpable: If the flying machine actually safely delivered us to our destination -- no doubt a highly doubtful prospect in their minds -- we would then be in Germany, a place none of them wanted to see their children go.
I learned my first and most valuable lesson of air travel on that trip -- when the engines start, it's time to sleep -- and I've been sleeping my way to interesting places ever since. My work as a journalist, successively for United Press International, Newsweek and National Public Radio, catered to wanderlust, taking me to more than 40 countries and nearly all the states. Still, it feels like I've hardly gotten a glimpse of the world.
My travels are my own to choose now. The destinations are, thankfully, less newsworthy. There are still stories to tell, as I wander from place to place, scribbling notes and taking photos. If you want to come along, here's a link to my blog, Inveterate Traveler, or follow me on Twitter @stuseidel.