I often envision myself as an old woman. Not in a morbid or sad way but in a way that mostly helps me realize how important it is to live life to its fullest. I often think how when I am old it will be the trips I’ve taken that will be the topic of my conversations; the thoughts and memories of those trips that will bring a smile to my face. I know this because those thoughts and memories are things that make me smile now.

One of my travel role models and a role model in general for me is my grandmother, Eva Lof. My mom’s mom. She wasn’t officially educated (never went beyond 6th grade, if even). Born in Iowa, she ventured only as far as Minnesota to live. And she died within a 10-mile radius of where she birthed and reared her children and where she lived with her husband while he started a lumber business. Yet grandma lived her life to her fullest. She and grandpa traveled to Cuba back in the day, traveled to the hot spots in the American Southwest and Northwest and stayed at their place in Florida each winter. She logged each day in great detail in her journals from the price of coffee and gas to what each of them ate for lunch and dinner to when grandpa took his naps. Possibly mundane information to most, it’s information I find sweet and even intriguing. Grandma lived to be 103 and the whole while she was mostly with-it mentally. She remembered all sorts of things from her past and would share those things when I asked. It was fun to hear her stories and to realize that she, like me, had a vital life. My relationship with her gave me the perspective that we remain exactly who we are no matter how old we get. Our memories are the treasures we carry with us for as long as we live.