I started "serious" traveling in college when we visited Monticello in Virginia. It was a highly rewarding trip to one of the greatest homes in America. That was all it took to catch the travel bug! Every summer we chose a region of the country to spend a week visiting all of the famous buildings of our mentors (Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies Van Der Rohe, Alfred Caldwell, etc.). We met many original owners who gave us insight and anecdotes about their experiences that we could never get from books. These trips recharged us, motivated and inspired us! They gave us confidence that anything is possible, and that one day we could do it too. The owners always encouraged us that if we loved the work our mentors accomplished as much as they did, we should go for it and never look back. They believed that what was designed and built for them was right and good, and that the principles at work were sound and worthy of expansion.
Travel continued after college to Europe, where my eyes were opened to an entirely new way of thinking. The way they designed and built the newer buildings based on many historical fundamentals was fascinating. The Europeans can make a 1-year old building with all its technological advances feel right at home next to a 300-year old. All of the exciting new buildings were light, free, structurally and technologically expressive! Instructively it was like breaking out of the shell. I came back more confidentchallenging my own previous, more limited thinking and beliefs.
Traveling is an essential part of everyone's personal growthespecially as part of an architect's continuing education. Books are where education starts, experience is where it continues. The power of those real memories is stronger than just reading factsit shapes who we become and stays with us forever. Those memories can be retrieved for inspiration, and they afford us the ability to ask "What if...?"
We continue our travels to this dayme often dragging my wife to places like Cleveland, Ohio to rent a Frank Lloyd Wright house (which she later admits really enjoying!).