Every vacation turned into a lesson in history, art, language, culture, food, geography and geology — whether I liked it or not.

I was only a few years old in 1965 when my father’s partners at his Brooklyn gas station decided to sell. His next job would change my life.

He was an aircraft mechanic for Pan American World Airways. My middle-class Queens family, whose big vacation meant going to Vermont in the summer, suddenly was taking vacations to places like Mexico City, Moscow, Marrakesh and Kyoto. Doesn’t everyone go to Tokyo for the weekend?

I took my first around-the-world flight alone at 18. All of a sudden this new world just opened up to me. Am I inquisitive by nature or by temperament? Or was it the traveling that really completed that mix?
Where everyone else is sitting in a plane, watching a movie, I’m at my window, looking at geologic glacial features that are just so unbelievably beautiful to me.
I remember flying over the States and it was just a beautiful day. There was a light layer of snow over a lot of the country as I flew. And I just remember looking down at these open spaces, in these little towns, just thinking to myself about how we’re such little ants on this planet.
There are many times when I have even spoken to the person sitting in back of me, saying, “Oh, look at that!”

—Carrie Dovzak