Welcome to On the Write Foot! I’m Randy Baker and this is where I blog about travel, travel writing and how to make the most of both. I’ve been traveling since I was a young boy and a case of wanderlust is one of the most enduring gifts that my parents gave me. I started out life in Nashville, but we didn’t stay put in one location too long. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties and married that I lived in the same house for more than five years.
At a young age, my family moved to Jamaica and I became what is known as a third-culture kid. Basically, that is someone who assimilates into a culture other than the one they were born in to, often times then returning to the place of their original culture. You’re not one completely one, or the other, but a third, unique culture that blends the two together. Because this assimilation happens during your most formative years, it pretty much sticks with you forever.
Once I was old enough to roam on my own, I joined the Navy and criss-crossed my way around a large part of the globe. That sort of traveling isn’t exactly a vacation, but I got to see some cool places, including some that I would not likely have seen otherwise. I have been tossed around by 50’ sea swells in the North Atlantic, had stuff go all weird in the Bermuda triangle, sailed about 200 miles north of the Artic Circle (which was really cold, by the way) and, honestly, did some stuff that doesn’t make for happy travel blog entries. There used to be a commercial for the Navy that said, “It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure”. Despite the downsides, that slogan really was true.
After I finished my naval stint, I still had the urge to see more of the world. I traveled every chance I got, from weekend road trips, to wilderness backpacking, to getting my passport stamped every chance I got. Finally, I just got a job in the travel business, so I could try to score free, or discounted, plane tickets. So, I spent about 5 years as a corporate travel consultant, booking people’s flights and accommodations, making arrangements for conferences and all of the other stuff that goes with along with managing people’s business travel (along with some leisure travel planning). I enjoyed helping people hammer out their travel itineraries, but the best part was getting my annual airline ticket allotment. When you only have to pay the taxes on a ticket, that definitely opens up your options.
Eventually, I had to move on from the travel business. Free tickets, or not, it wasn’t the most lucrative career and the internet was really starting to put a squeeze on travel agencies. I moved on, but traveling was still part of my life. I assume it always will be, but for sure, I’m not finished yet. I’ve been to more than 30 of the states in the U.S. and close to 30 different countries. About half of those countries I have visited multiple times, not counting the ones I’ve lived in. Not bad, but I still have a lot of places to check off my list.