Places have always riveted me. As a young girl, I would ride with my Dad in the car on our frequent trips from San Antonio to Taylor, a small town north of Austin, to celebrate Christmas Eve with family. I would read the mile marker signs and call out the names of towns we passed through.
I took my first trip out of the country (if we’re not counting childhood road trips to border towns in Mexico) when I was 20. It was a study abroad trip in Costa Rica, a country I explored for six weeks one summer. I traveled with a group of students, and we all met for the first time at the Houston airport. The company that arranged our travel had assigned us host families, and two of us stayed with each family. My roommate, the woman who shared a wing of the house I stayed in, had a bit more international travel under her belt. She taught me the difference between travelers and tourists, and turned me on to the Lonely Planet series of guidebooks.