At some point in your life, you will hear about something amazing that someone else has done. You will sit in awe of that person, wondering how you can ever be as wonderful as them.
For me, this person was my Grandma, Eddie Jones. She was an incredible woman who accomplished so much, had the ‘hots’ for David Boreanaz, raised a large family, was blessed with love, suffered loss, and lived a life fit for story books and movies.
She talked about Scotland and Ireland fiercely, with a gleaming sparkle in her eye.
My Grandma was a lover of travel. She moved often between Texas and Washington state, always with her handful of children and husband in tow, stopping at rest stops each night and sleeping under the stars, trying to save money for the next tank of gas. My Grandma was a brave lady, and I picture her curling up on a make-shift picnic table bed with her youngest kids in her arms and sleeping through the night, protecting them from danger.
Washington always would have a special place in her heart, and that love has carried down through her grandchildren. As we would lay in bed when we would stay over, we would always point to a picture of Mount St Helens hanging on her wall. She would tell us about living near it, she would talk about the mountains and the cool weather and make us fall asleep dreaming of a place far far away from Texas.
What made her heart flutter though was Scotland and Ireland- two places she had never physically visited, but had visited more than enough in her mind. Talking with her, you would never have known that she had never been before.
My Grandma was a reader, especially in her later years of life.
Anytime I would visit, I would find my Grandma sitting in her bedroom, always on her bed, with a hot cup of coffee on her bedside table and a lust-in-the-dust book in hand. It seemed like every romance novel she picked up took place in Scotland or Ireland, and I remember her sitting with my cousin and me, telling us the PG version of the plots of her book, taking us to far away lands with her. Johanna Lindsey was among her favorites, as were the those of the MacGregor series by Paula Quinn.
She took her coffee black and piping hot. I had my first cup of coffee at her house. It was so gross, I thought surely it would be my last as well. I added a cup of sugar (not joking), and topped it with a lot of milk, and mustered it down. Slowly, coffee began to grow on me, and I was as I explore the world of coffee, I was able to find a blend I enjoyed, without adding in enough sugar to make cotton candy.
In the eyes of my Grandma, I was her “ Irish Rose”.
My naturally auburn hair always making her envision me as a girl hailing from the Irish or Scottish countryside. I never truly understood what she meant by that until I took my first trip to Scotland. Standing atop Arthur’s Seat with all of Edinburgh stretching out before me, I suddenly understood. She had planted the idea of travel within me. She knew the idea would grow in my head until the day it would finally bloom and I would be off to see the world.
So there I was, having conquered this massive extinct and folklore-filled volcano.
I knew my Grandma was standing beside me. My Grandma was so proud of me. My Grandma was so excited for me! In spirit, she stood on Arthur’s Seat and wrapped her arms around me. She looked off to the view of Scotland alongside me. I can close my eyes and picture her. She is standing there, facing the distant city, hands on her hips and a cigarette hanging out her mouth. Her loose, cotton, floral print dress gently in the wind, her gray hair blowing back off her forehead in the direction she combed it. I know she’s not really standing beside me, but I feel her presence so strongly when I’m up there.
In the moment I took my final step to the top, I knew why I had become a traveler.
It was in my blood. It was in my heart, thanks to my Grandma and her mentally painted images of Europe. Each time I visit Scotland, I climb Arthur’s Seat again, not just for the views and being able to say ‘I did that!’. No, I climb because I know my Grandma is standing up there in spirit, waiting for me, looking off into the distance with a gleam in her eye, excited for me to take my next adventure.
Who inspired your travel addiction? Is there any certain place where you feel like they are with you?
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