Roger That

How It Began

 

Fernweh's photo.

I credit my grandfather for planting those first seeds of desire for travel in my mind. A military man turned sales executive for a large chain department store, he was passionate about road trips, filming, and telling stories. He was also a chain smoker and passed away from cancer when I was very young. It took over a decade before I was able to put my thoughts into some sort of prose but I was encouraged to do so many years ago and it was selected for a student art magazine.
My grandfather died when I was nine years old. I woke up just seconds before the phone rang in the middle of the night because I already knew. On weekends when I went to visit, I would sit as close as I could get, interrupting his work, his news, his shows, his potato peeling, his naps, and later on, his chemo. I listened while he told me about his time in the military and his travels. I stared intently at these photos in black and white, committing every monument, fountain, and statue to memory. I was fascinated and determined to see, smell, and touch everything for myself. I wanted to experience the languages, the architecture, the air, the food, the markets, and to wander up and down the streets. I wanted to be the center of his attention, often getting underfoot or trailing behind. I would sit on the floor in his office waiting for him to finish his telephone calls, watching him put quarters into globes and spin them around off the axis, and me pretending I was one of them, spinning around him in circles.

Geneva, Switzerland. Late 1950s.

Fruit & Veggie Market in Geneva

 

Swiss Alps

Swiss Alps

Schweizerische Bundesbahnen (SBB) Federal Railway

Bertelli Gypsy Train in Italy, 1957

New Model Italian Cars

Santa Maria della Salute

 

Peering into the abyss of the bell tower well.

Basilica Palladiana

 
 

St. Mark’s Basilica

Colosseum

 

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