I am a travel designer, some would say custom travel agent, but really travel architect best describes the job that I have been doing for 24 or 25 years now, I forget. I design, plan, mold, and craft trips that are focused on special interests, memorable accommodations and off-the-beaten-track destinations. Naturally Cuba has been on my mind for some time. Here is my story, and here is why Cuba has moved to the top of my list.
The ship pulled away from Cuba in 1951; aboard were my mother, brother Chuck, newborn brother David, my Dad and his fellow navy sailors–we were bound for our new home, Norfolk Virginia.
Memories of Cuba are few and scattered, but vivid. At first we lived in a quonset hut (looks like half of a tin can) later we moved to, and played among, the construction of new housing.
I still remember the smell of paint and plaster and climbing over lumber, darting in and out of the almost finished rooms. Lizards were everywhere and would dash along the inside and outside of the window screens. On Sundays, my mother would pack a lunch, her three children, Dad and the dog into our car, I can’t recall what we drove, but likely it is among the other vintage automobiles that Cuba is so famous for. Anyway, we would drive, I don’t know how long or how far, but in the end we would be at the sea; a rocky shoreline, where iguanas would sun on huge bolders. Dad and I, and our dog Penny would wade into the water and find the most outrageous sea shells–some I still have today. I don’t remember much more than that–oh yes…my brother David was born in Cuba–June 1950. In those days children were not allowed on the maternity ward, but Dad took Chuck and I to see Mom. We stood on one side of the green painted glass door peering through the scratched off paint, and could see Mom waiving from her bed–halfway down the ward. I guess that is about all I remember at age 5.
I grew up, married, raised a family and,as I was on the edge o the 60s movement, was passively rebellious. Never really a part of hippy-dom, but on the fringe–enjoying doing things differently, not following the rules–nothing that would ever get me into trouble, but things like going the wrong way down a one-way street. Like driving to the communist border of Poland (just getting close enough to see the armed guards) I like traveling to countries where others dared not go–an adventurous travel, that’s me. Cuba has long been on my list, but just out of reach.
Now Cuba is soon to be open to the American public and there is a sense of urgency for me. Why haven’t I gone before? This is a momentous time and I want to be a part of it. Cuba, our embargoed gem, is soon to be overrun with American tourists. I long to experience Old Havana before this island is freshened up and a New Cuba emerges. More information