The ROI of Travel

Culinary adventure travel agent and chef Lydia Gwin recalls how her father invested in his daughters' education through travel.

On a recent visit home, my mother showed me scrapbooks she uncovered tucked away in the closet; her retirement cleaning reached a new corner of the house. As we opened the worn kraft paper scrapbooks, we discovered a time capsule of our first trip to Europe in 1992. The pages stiffened with age and were filled with photos, train stubs, museum tickets, and old European money. This whimsical road trip became a catalyst, a spark that influenced much of my life.

My dad had decided to take my older sister, Ericka, and me on a two-week road trip through Europe. He had no plan, only plane tickets, a rental car, some extra cash, and his memories of where he had been stationed in the Army to navigate the trip. We hit the major stops and sights, driving the countryside between England, France, Italy, and Germany. Each country offered our big world a new experience, memory, and educational perspective on how big our world is.

This adventure allowed me the confidence to backpack around the globe independently in college. When meeting my now husband, it was a common thread we both shared, exchanging tales from our travels. Now, as we parent two young kids, travel is an investment we want to provide for them. Our return on investment offers our kids the value of education, memories, and the ability to navigate the world.

Looking through the old photos and recounting our memories of the trip, I asked my dad what inspired him to take his two daughters on a trip across Europe with no plan. He responded, "I wanted to show you the world in a real-life application."  And for that, I am grateful.

follow Lydia on socials @adventuresbylydia 

"Travel is not reward for working, it's education for living." - Anthony Bourdain

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