November 28, 2009

by Deb Mangas

As a youngster, our neighbor owned a small airplane and on occasion he would take one of my sisters or me with him when he needed to fly someplace fairly close by to pick up a mold quickly.  I remember him letting me "steer" the wheel at times.  I really thought I was flying the plane and I loved it.  Also, my great-grandfather lived across from the Winchester airport and on visits I would sit on the white fence and watch the planes take off and land!  Flight has always been a mystery to me and a love.

However, my first time in a BIG airplane was in 1967 on our class trip to Washington D.C., Annapolis and New York City.  Now that was flying!  I also discovered on that trip I loved "traveling".  Seeing local sights, tasting new foods, meeting the people, staying in hotels were all so fascinating to me.

Fortunately for me in 1975 I was offered a job as a travel agent in a small agency in Syracuse, Indiana.  I had no idea what exactly that meant but they were willing to train me.  Within a few months I was hooked!  Even if I didn't go to all these places as I planned trips for people I learned about them.  It was "almost" as if I was going along for the ride.  This career has taken me to many corners of the world providing the opportunity to meet wonderful people everywhere while experiencing their cultures.

I've picked out some photos to share with you.  I'm not a photographer but my pictures hold many fond memories of beautiful places and people.  I hope you enjoy my journeys a little, but most of all, I hope you've created some of your own over the years.

Mark Twain said "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness".  The more I travel the more I believe this to be true.

  Mike and I on our first cruise in 1978 with our dining room waiter.

Ice fishing on the Bering Sea in 1980 in Nome, Alaska.

Cancun, Mexico in 1983.  There were only 5 hotels along the Caribbean Sea.  Today, that strip of beach has more than 35 hotels.

Branson, Missouri introduced us to the Oak Ridge Boys and the beautiful rolling hills.

New Orleans' French Quarter with the tasteful beignets.

Berlin and the Brandenburg Gate in 1989 shortly after it was opened for traffic from the east to the west.

Jamaica in 1978 rowing down the river along the sugar cane fields.

St. Andrews, Scotland offers golf like no where else.

Bora Bora, Tahiti with its reefs surrounding all the islands and aqua blue waters.

Fiji introduced me to walking "on fire" barefoot without burning your feet.

Monarch of the Seas and me!  Gives you a perspective of the size of a cruise ship.  Today's ships are even bigger. 

Honolulu, Hawaii and me in the water along Waikiki Beach with Diamond Head in the background.

Kona, Hawaii as I view the world's most active volcano, Kilauea, from my seat in the helicopter as we hover above it!

Sydney, Australia with me feeding the "roos". 

The Sydney Opera House is a most spectacular building.

Sedona, Arizona offers red "rocks" where ever you look with desert at their feet.

Beijing, China in the Forbidden City.  A palace with999 rooms and only one male allowed within its gates, the King.

The Great Wall of China and me reaching over 2,500 miles.

Xian China and the Terra Cotta Warriors first discovered in 1974 by a local farmer getting water from his well.  They've unearthed 3 pits with this one being the largest with 2,500 Life-Sized soldiers with their horses from the Qin Dynasty.  An unbelievable site and history.

Athens, Greece and the Acropolis at the very top of the picture.

Mykonos, Greece with the famous windmills in the background and Mike, Margie and me at a cafe.  I believe Andy took the picture.  We celebrated our 50th birthdays together in Greece.

Stonehenge, England with their prehistoric monument/ruin and no clear purpose for the being or how they got there.

Kensington Palace in London covered with flowers for Princess Diana.  I was there during her funeral on my way to a convention in Glasgow, Scotland.

Princess Diana's casket as it passed us on the way to Westminster Abbey.

Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal, Canada as I opened ASTA's (American Society of Travel Agents) 2005 World Travel Congress.  I chaired this event for our organization with 4,000 delegates from over 100 countries.  This event was the highlight of my career.

The Biltmore Estate in Ashville N.C. and a "road" trip for Margie and me...celebrating yet another birthday!  Maybe I should stay away from her, she's making me old!!  Only kidding, Marg!

A Panama Canal crossing with a view from our ship as we went through the locks and a ship behind us and beside us.  This is something you must SEE.

Mendenhall Glazier, Alaska standing on the glazier near a huge water crevice...yes, I had to take another helicopter to get there.  The only way to experience it.

Easter Island, Chile offers the Moai statues.  This tiny island has over 400 Moai sculpted from one volcano and transported all over the island.  The largest is 75 tons and 33 feet tall.  No one knows for sure why they were made or how they got them to so many places throughout the island.

Phoenix, Arizona's Apache Lake, along the Apache Trail.  It is 22 miles of dirt road stretching through the Superstition Mountain Range just outside Phoenix and the views are worth the trip!

Petra, Jordan should be familiar to all the INDIANA JONES fans.  They call this building the Treasury.  This country offers biblical sites such as Mt. Nebo, the Dead Sea and the Wadi Rum Desert where the movie of Laurence of Arabia was filmed years ago.

I still want to visit a few places in Africa, take the train across Siberia and China and return to Mykonos, Greece for their prawns and wine.  My list of where I want to travel never gets any shorter as there is always another place I want to experience.  My favorite place is usually the last place I visited.  Again, I am thankful for this career path.  It is everything I could have imagined and more.

Travel is about the destination, as well as the journey!