Why I Travel

By Melanie Pollard
(Strike-through = inner voice)

I’ve embarked on this new travel writing endeavor, and I have jumped in with both feet!   Whether or not this idea will fly is yet to be determined, but we are going to have the time of our lives trying.  

Will people want to learn from our experiences?  It’s just what I tell my grandchildren, “No one was ever successful at something they didn’t try.”

Starting the new blog website, Gransonthego.com, with my friend, Marla Monk, a gifted photographer and part-time writer, has been extremely exciting and completely overwhelming.  Along with learning about travel writing, at the current moment, I’m planning seven trips:  Amelia and Cumberland Islands, Niagara Falls, Yellowstone, Italy, Hot-Air Ballooning, Cumberland Caverns Music Venue, and Gulf Shores, Alabama Beach Trip.  I hope you will follow along as we share information about these destinations and more.

So why am I so passionate about travel?  I’m not completely sure, but I know it has something to do with the adrenaline rush I get when I’m planning a trip and seeing and experiencing new things for the first time.  When I get behind the wheel, I thrive on the feeling, knowing that adventures of the unknown are just ahead of me.  I’m addicted to the sensation of embracing vulnerability with new people completely and never quite knowing what is going to happen next.  I’m in love with immersing myself in another culture where families interact differently than the way I grew up.  

I have vivid memories of spending hours perusing the many National Geographic magazines my mom kept for our family.  I was mesmerised! We were a southern family living on a farm outside Memphis, Tennessee. We only took one of two family vacations during my childhood, because there were four of us children spread over a ten-year span, and getting food on the table and making sure we were clean was the priority, not traveling.  But I always go back to those memories of hours spent with the beautiful photographs of the places and people that I wanted to learn more about.

I also know deep down that losing a sister to ALS at only 49 years young has lit a burning fire within me — because, in my heart, I carry her with me on every trip.

I remember on my first trip to Italy, we were visiting an off-the-beaten-path beach.  I noted to myself that all the chairs on the beach were empty, although the beach was crowded.  I had never experienced a beach where people were not sitting in their chairs watching the children play.  What I realized after a few minutes is that the parents and grandparents in inappropriate skimpy speedos were up “playing” with their children, not observing. They were playing volleyball or Frisbee or building sand castles or taking walks.  

And it was all in Italian, which was so amazing to observe.  It was such a wonderful experience, and I found myself just giddy. 

And the food — oh, my, the incredible, indescribable food!  I have such a weakness proclivity for authentic food and wine.  

I also love NOT speaking the language.  I know that sounds crazy, but I have such a sense of accomplishment after I communicate with people who do not speak English.  The way in which you must use your hands and sign language to communicate, and we almost always end up cursing  laughing together — and most of the time, we are successful at communication!  

I adore stopping at the little road-side cafes and indulging in the local food and smells that come from these kitchens and watching the local crowds and how they interact with each other.

So why would someone plan seven trips at one time?  Well, because I have a sense of adventure, and my every waking thought (and sometimes my dreams) are on travel and what I’m going to write about next, and what unique experience I will be able to share with you after the next trip — whether it be food, wine, religion, art, culture, accommodations, or just plain people-watching.  

Follow along on our crazy adventures, whether you are planning one of your own or just living vicariously through us.  I hope you enjoy it!

Stay tuned for next week’s blog on Fairhope, Alabama, by Marla Monk.

Also, a blog is in the works about Montserrat mountain in Spain, a day trip from Barcelona.


by Melanie Pollard