Here is the essay I wrote that is now in a contest. You can register and log on to vote at
I grew up on a farm and my dad, who was no chauvinist, taught me how to operate equipment, prune trees and irrigate. I loved being outside. It was almost impossible to get me off the farm. Mom did, however, sneak in a few lessons teaching me how to boil, fry and bake potatoes, so I wouldn’t starve when I was living on my own.
To no one’s surprise, I married a farmer and continued my routine. We had children and raised them on our farm. But when our children were grown, they coaxed me to venture out.
One daughter was attending college abroad. She convinced me to meet her in New Zealand. We went hang gliding—floating in the air is divine—and hiking the Tongariro Crossing, a nineteen kilometer all-day trek over volcanoes. It was a challenge but I made it.
Being the cheapskate I am, it wasn’t difficult for my daughter to convince me that we would stay at hostels and rent economy cars to save money. Thankfully, the young people at the hostels didn’t give a hoot about a forty-five-year-old mom hanging around. I wasn’t like other people my age who were staying at B & B’s and eating at fancy restaurants.
A few years later, our other daughter suggested she and I visit Marrakech, Morocco. I had to look at an atlas to see where Morocco was (south of Spain). Do you know they grow apples there? I discovered the farms in the country produce a plethora of fruit, vegetables and spices. My daughter and I even took a cooking class to fully appreciate the foodstuff.
Life on the farm prepared me for travel: I pack light. I don’t wear makeup and can get away with few clothes. I only need one pair of sturdy shoes, the pair I wear. So, when I walked through customs at the airport, an attendant asked me, “Did you pick up your luggage?”
“It’s all in my backpack,” I answered, pointing to my school-sized backpack hanging on my back.
The attendant said, “You should write a book on traveling light.”
Maybe, I’ll do that.