Travel Writer & Blogger HANK MENDHEIM
From as far back as I can remember I knew there was more to life than Hammond, Louisiana. The quaint little town an hour north of New Orleans with the local hangout in the Wal-Mart parking lot lacked the “world experience” my soul sought. I knew when I got older and had the means I would travel and see the world.
My first trip abroad when I was 24 was from New Orleans to London, England and that ignited my passion for travel. Why London? I chose the U.K. because they speak English. I wanted to dip my toe in the travel waters, not dive in head first; at least not at that time. I loved walking along the River Thames and watching the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. The thrill of hearing “lift” instead of “elevator” and “loo” instead of “bathroom” excited me. I was in a different world, experiencing a new culture and I knew London would be only the first of many trips abroad.
I would later explore Canada, Italy, Mexico, Spain, France, Ireland, Norway and Australia. I could write a volume on each because each touched me in a special way and on more than one occasion a fantastic travel story ensued. For instance, In Italy, I learned not to use the word “phone,” otherwise they’ll assume you are talking about a hairdryer. In Paris, I learned the hard way to always pay upon ordering food at an outdoor café. The ensuing chase by the waiter for walking off without paying for your meal is not worth the embarrassment. Although, the café owner seemed amused as I apologized in English and French.
I love travel and I love writing. Fiction or non-fiction, it doesn’t matter. I like telling stories. Lately I’ve decided it’s time to combine my passions and bring my loves together. Any time I experience travel, whether actually getting on a plane, reading about someone’s journey, or even seeing travel depicted beautifully in a film, I remember why I love travel so much. The anticipation of an exciting journey, the enchantment and exploration of a new world is unlike any other experience. Nothing compares to the thrill of stepping off a plane in a foreign land and asking yourself, “What now?”