Often times people ask, “How did you get inspired to travel?” Or a common alternate is, “What or who motivated you to travel.?” I many times answer that it was my first trip abroad as a child to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. However, after revisiting those questions with my family, I was reminded that my turning point was even earlier than my first trip South of the Border. I was turned forever traveler by my visit to Epcot at the age of 8. It was 27 years ago, over winter break, that I visited for my first time with my parents, aunt, uncle, and cousin Epcot in Orlando, Florida. As a repeat trip, this holiday season I revisited Epcot (see Ms Traveling Pants GPS left).

To this day, I remember my first Epcot journey; it was a place of wonder and sensory overload. Raised in a small town in the Midwest, it was a trip of many firsts. It was my first monorail ride, my first Mexican meal, and my first tour with a passport. All of these firsts, I embraced with no fear, wanting more, and just plain wide-eyed wanderlust.

This is why it is no surprise that I eventually traveled, lived abroad, have always had an insatiable thirst for adventure, and would like to include being an ex-pat in my list of accomplishments. Now, almost 3 decades after my first visit to Epcot with a list of travels longer than the list of countries in Epcot, the 2nd time around was not as wondrous. Indeed, it was enjoyable for reflect on the previous trip as well as a way to rekindle memories of my past travels to those countries visited outside of Epcot.

While walking through Mexico and hearing a mariachi band, I remembered my fond and multiple visits to Zuhauntanejo as well as Cozumel and Puerto Vallarta. As we crossed into Great Britian, I remember the week of very foggy days that London greeted me with in November 2008. In Germany, I could not forget one of the best beer cheese soups I’ve ever enjoyed as well as numerous mysterious schnitzels. In France, I¬†remembered my multiple visits to the capital with trips up the stairs of the Eiffel Tower, a handful of visits to the Louvre only to be disappointed by the Mona Lisa, sugar crepes on the banks of the Seine, and of course French bakeries. Lastly, while passing through Morocco, I remembered the mint tea, souks, tagines, camels, and camping in the Sahara (passing through Epcot’s Morocco right).

Although my second visit of Epcot was not as eye-opening, I have to say thank you to Walt Disney. Both times you inspired me. The first was to travel. The second was to remember my travels and to continue to explore. I end with a quote from Walt Disney,

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Here’s to more good times and good stories.