by Laura Hedgecock
I was born with Fernweh, an ache to explore faraway places. It’s in my DNA; both of my parents had it. It was my dad, however, who taught us to pack adventure into our explorations.
Like my mother, I’d bask in the preparations for travel. I’d research, map out itineraries, and pack well in advance. For Daddy, however, the best part of travel was the adventure—the experiences you couldn’t plan for.
In 1985, I was interning in Germany when Daddy was due to come over on a business trip. Since I was stressed about making a move from Köln (Cologne) to Homburg-Saar, Daddy decided we would make the move together and he would take care of the details.
What he meant by that was that he’d leave the details to take care of themselves.
He rented a BMW with a manual transmission. His plan was to teach me how to drive a shift as he took in the beauty along the winding road that followed the Rhine River. It would be cheaper, he said, than replacing the clutch in a car he owned if my “learning” didn’t go well. In my mind, he rented a red convertible, but I’m honestly not sure if I’m coloring the memory.
He’d laugh and say, “Way to go kid!” when I wasn’t able to find a gear.