Paestum Italy
Recently, I was speaking with friends about the importance of travel when we were kids. I recalled how much I learned and they shared similar experiences. We were a group of military brats who had grown up at bases in Europe and the United States.

We shared some of the most memorable trips we took and sights that made the most impression on us. Here are some of mine with quick vignettes about my experience and what I remember most

What are some of your first travel memories?

Paestum, Italy
I first went to Paestum when I about 6 years-old. I always remembered the towering Greek temples. About 10 years later, I returned and realized this was the place that I had remember. These ruins are south of Naples, Italy. They are perhaps the best-preserved Greek temples in the world.

Catacombs_RomeRome, Italy — Colosseum, Catacombs, St. Peters
My first trips to Rome were when I was 5 and 6. Later I returned many time while I was going to high-school in Naples, Italy. This city always impressed me. However, as a kid, it was the catacombs — dark, dank and scary — that I remembered the most.

Williamsburg, Virginia
My first trip was in elementary school, about 5th grade. It made me crazy to learn more about the Revolutionary War. I loved the idea of pretending that I was living in the past. Williamsburg gave the chance to actually do it.

Niagra Falls
Wow! That’s what I remember saying when we walked across the street from the parking lot and leaned on the railing overlooking the falls from the Canadian side. I was fascinated with stories of people surviving falls over the falls. I remember a guy who went over in a waterproof iron ball. I forget whether he made it alive or perished.

VEnice_GondolasVenice, Italy
For a kid nothing is as magical as a city where there are no cars. Way back when in the 1960s I got to go on my first gondola ride. It may have been just across the canal, knowing how frugal my Dad was, but I still remember.

Factory Tours
Between 7th and 8th Grade, my family spent a month in the summer traveling from factory to factory across the Northeast and Midwest. I saw steel being made in Pittsburgh, Upjohn vitamin pills and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes being made in Kalamazoo, Fords being manufactured at The Rouge in Detroit, tires being spun at Goodyear in Dayton, beer being brewed at Miller in Milwaukee, Kodak cameras being assembled in Rochester, Corning glass being extracted in Corning and more.

Old IronsidesThe Constitution in Boston
We did lots of trips to see historical sights. Clambering onto the Constitution up the gangplank, standing on the helm, climbing over ropes and around cannons was exciting.

Campsites in Europe
Camping in Europe during my high-school years was always a blast. I got to see the moon landing at a beach campsite near Pisa, Italy, surrounded by Italians, Dutch, Germans, French and Scandinavians. On that day the world was truly international. Everyone was hugging each other and dancing together and chanting, “We did it.”

Subways of New York
I lived in New York City for a semester during 2nd Grade. The subways were always awe-inspiring. I loved the Horn and Hardart Automat and the Bronx Zoo.

Bicycling in Amsterdam
When we were camping in Europe, my folks would rent bikes for us. Everyday, we rode through Amesterdam alongside canals. Later we got to do the same in Copenhagen. Those days of biking freedom and friendly campsites were special.

Salt Mines of Salzburg, Austria
Descended into these mines while I was in high-school. The trip down deep underground via long slides on big pieces of leather were exciting, but not as exciting as riding the train back sitting astride a big log with my arms around a cute British girl.

Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago
We had so much fun at this museum back in the mid-60s that we went back twice. I still remember being able to climb down into a submarine and the endles buttons to push and lessons that I learned thinking I was just having fun.

What are some of your first travel memories?