Guest author: Keith Jenkins
I am very happy to welcome Keith to A Traveler’s Library to write about a book that inspired him to travel. And travel he has. He has circled the globe and writes beautifully about his observations and experiences at Velvet Escape.
Keith has also inspired me to start a new series of writers talking about a book or movie that lit the fire in them that made them want to travel. If you write about travel and would like to join the party, please let me know.
All Keith’s friends wished him well when he flew home to be with his father who was recently gravely ill…
As I looked at my Dad lying in the hospital bed, I couldn’t help but reminisce about his career with the airline and how that ignited my boundless fascination with travel. For comments and He was always on the go, traveling to the four corners of the globe. Each time he returned, he told me many stories about the places he’d visited and the people he’d met. As a kid, I was totally struck by awe. I would sit on his lap and listen intently while I made silent notes.
When I was eight, my parents bought me a 20-plus volume encyclopedia called The World & Its People. It was fantastic: the detailed stories about our world, history, cultures, geography, etc.. backed by gorgeous photos (unfortunately, the last edition of it dates back to 1980). I would look up the places my Dad had been to and read more about them. I would pull out the encyclopedia and point to the pictures of the places he’d visited and try to visualize him standing there. He would look over my shoulder and tell me about the sights that were not in the pictures. Each time he told me about his travel journeys, I would ask if he’d seen this place or that, or tried a certain food – I had so many questions, I bet he was sorry he bought me that encyclopedia!
That was the start of my love affair with travel really. When I was in my early-teens, my sister bought me a thick Dorling Kindersly book called [amazonify]0756619521::text::::[/amazonify]Geography of the World* . I was stunned. The rich & colourful illustrations & photos, plus the data of each country in the world just caught my imagination. I was already a statistic & geography freak at the time so it wasn’t too difficult to get totally smitten with this book!
When I started traveling, I had every statistic firmly implanted in my head. I could rattle off data like the size of the country, its population and GDP, the most important economic activities, the major cities and the most popular tourist sites. I was literally a walking geographic encyclopedia! My Dad loved it. He began to take me along on his flights and we visited places like Hong Kong, Sydney and London together, and I dragged him to every place or attraction I’d read about!
My Dad is a lot better now and has been discharged from the hospital. The time I spent at his side in the hospital and the memories that conjured was priceless. I owe much to him but most of all, he instilled in me a great spirit of adventure and a profound desire to see the world and experience its many wonders.
I’m Keith Jenkins, a thirty-something based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Travel and writing are my biggest passions. I’ve traveled extensively across 60+ countries on six continents. The experiences I’ve gained from traveling are priceless. You can read more about my adventures on my blog, Velvet Escape.
*A DK Children’s book recommended for ages 9-12, latest edition 2006.
Thanks, Keith, for reminding us how important it is to introduce children to geography while they are still at the “age of wonder.” Readers, would you like to try to stump Keith with your geography questions? I’m sure you must have some questions for him about all the places he has traveled. Let’s talk.
I have one question. Since he grew up in the southern Hemisphere, was Keith confused by the maps which almost always are from a north-centric point of view?
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