My Uncle Keith is possibly the coolest grown up I know. (I say grown up because he’s is an adultier adult than I am, despite the fact that he still calls my dad “Dog Breath” though to be fair my dad calls him “Poo Brain”… Maybe he’s not so adultie… But he’s definitely cool.) When I was 6 my Uncle Keith returned from a trip with a wooden box filled with foreign currency from his and my aunts many travels. He gifted it to me as a souvenir.
In 1st grade coins, marbles, and gel pens were all the rage, so I was pretty stoked on my new treasure chest! I am not sure if he was trying to inspire me to become a neumismatist, or if he even meant for it to be a special gift…. Whatever his reasons, I loved it. I vividly remember sitting next to him on the floor in awe of that box of coins while he told me where each was from and shared snippets of the various cultures of each country. It was the first time I truly remember being aware of a world outside of my own; the first time I really understood there was more to life than my hometown and my grandparents house and the Zoo (I really loved the Zoo). That day that my love of travel was born.
I vowed to myself that I would visit every country I had a coin for. I had established my first travel list…. It has since become considerably larger and I have been, as my grandmother would say, “schlepping from thither and yon” ever since.