Instilled by many influences, the biggest of which from my grandfather, a spirit of adventure filled my world at an early age. As a young child, I remember Grandpa’s elaborate stories fueling my imagination. While often fictitious, his tales drew from real-life experiences and a worldview unlike any I had known. I recall those moments, filled with wonder and holding on to every word. He continues that tradition today through his works as an author, and more notably in the past year sharing Life Notes with his children and grandkids. These short recollections of memories from his younger days are a cherished gift.
His passion for travel and love of hiking having shaped my upbringing. Many of our early family adventures found us exploring the U.S. by trail – RVing our way through Alaska among them. I still remember the feeling of reaching the glacial snow on a hike with Grandpa in Denali National Park.
Whether it’s the crisp air, or that little push to explore just a bit further, I often recall that emotion on hikes in the Pacific Northwest with my own young family. Bits of him seem to knit together my heart that way. Grandpa’s influence can be felt in the years we spent living abroad and traveling around SE Asia. I see him in my child’s quest for discovery and love of learning. It’s in these moments that I’m reminded how much of his life has been poured into mine – the sense to seek adventure, to uncover the unknown, or to reach beyond what’s comfortable.
Today, as he celebrates his 92nd birthday, I am grateful for his love and encouragement, for the stories, the shared adventures, and a bond that will forever be felt on the trail.