How a 1992 road trip spurred a lifetime of chasing experiences over comforts

The desire to just “go” was always there in me, buried—yet in motion, building, like magma under the earth’s crust. It just needed an outlet, a time to finally erupt and push me to get on the road.

During my childhood, the notion of travel teased me nearly every day. I was an Army baby, but my dad got out of the service when I was 2 years old. Thus, I heard my older siblings and parents talk about being stationed in Germany, North Carolina, California, and elsewhere. As if that weren’t already enough, I grew up in an Army post town. So, my Army classmates often talked about their time in Hawaii, Europe, and other great places.

The one travel outlet I had was my dad’s VW campervan. We camped all over New England, but also took long road trips to see family in Wisconsin, Texas, and Washington, D.C. He put more than 230,000 miles on that camper.

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‘Chez’ Chesak is an award-winning travel writer, tourism consultant and 25-year veteran of the outdoor and travel industries. He is Executive Director of the Outdoor Writers Association of America and formerly was the Vice President for Business Development for the Adventure Travel Trade Association and Executive Director of the Family Travel Association. He has been serious about his writing since about age eight. He also runs the Central States Chapter of the Society of American Travel Writers. He’s lived all over the U.S. and traveled to some 36 countries but has the most fun when he’s exploring with his wife and two daughters. An avid outdoors person, he’s happiest on a trail, on skis, or nestled into a sleeping bag. He deployed to Iraq with a U.S. Army line unit in 2005. His works have appeared in the Los Angeles Times,, Good Housekeeping, Rachel Ray Every Day, Fatherly, Yahoo Travel, Family Vacation Critic, and many others. He also does periodic travel segments for the morning show of his local FOX affiliate and on American Forces Radio.

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