Staring at the wall map in my 7th grade Geography class I noticed roads leading from where I was in Fredericksburg, Virginia, all the way up and over to Alaska, practically next door to Russia.
“I can drive to Alaska!” I blurted out in class.
“Yes you can!” said the teacher, “but first you’ll need a driver’s license.”
The laughter did not dissuade me from my plan. My father was a traveling salesman and I was very used to car travel. I accompanied him on his sales calls to jewelry stores around the southern states to sell his watchband and earrings lines. I loved meeting people up close and personal, making friends in every town. He totally was totally engaged and immersed in every location we stopped.
He taught me that the joy of traveling was in getting to know the people, place and particulars of where we visited. Yes, he worked his way from stop to stop, becoming a part of each community we visited. He knew each owner very well and of the staff. He cared about them and that brought the experience of being in their town come alive. I was thrilled when the time finally came for me to drive the 4,664 miles to Alaska by myself in my six year old Toyota Corolla to take a summer job as an Oral Interpreter south of Denali National Park. It was the culmination of my lifelong dream.
My accomplishment of driving myself to Alaska and working there for four and a half months convinced me that Immersion Travel is the only way to go. Next month I’ll be driving to Florida to volunteer my time as the writer in residence in the Everglades National Park and from there I’ll be driving to Taos, New Mexico, with many immersion travel stops along the way.
I’ve discovered the way to incorporate great adventures into my life and what I’ve learned will help you do it too. There’s no better way to travel the United States, and the world, than Immersion Travel — becoming part of where you go through volunteering, working and learning. Immersion Travel USA: The Best and Most Meaningful Volunteering, Living, and Learning Excursions, and Volunteer Vacations Across America provide the resources and know-how you’ll need to be a great immersion traveler.