When I was 10 years old I took my first international trip to Guaymas Mexico with my 'rents and our close family friends, the Gershaters. I don't remember much about it except that I was worried the Bon Jovi CD I bought in a flea market would be sung in Spanish. Other than that it was your typical spring vacation: Mosquitoes, me and my boy Mati trying to ninja sneak around the hotel and a deep sea fishing trip that resulted in the only time I ever saw my dad vomit.
A lot of Arizonians travel to the guaymas area on spring break. It's stunningly beautiful but a real eye-opener when it comes to world affairs. To this day I can't get over the fact that such jaw dropping poverty was less than a day's drive from my house. Having very little experience with international travel can do that to you.
I haven't been out of our borders too many other times, mostly to Mexico. As I got older my reasons for going had less to do with family vacations and more to do with underage drinking, wave seeking, and your typical sub twenty-one antics.
In fact, the only other country I have visited is Canada. I was 14 and again, it was with the Gershaters. While Mati and I were no longer in our ninja phase (we were aspiring NHL'ers on our way to hockey school) we still had a lot of fun. We had this tired joke we would recycle about "the dork who said no" which resulted in belly laughs anytime anyone said the word no.
I'm telling you all this cause Mati has a cause. He has teamed up with some enviro-types and outdoor athlete types to bring solar panels to poor schools. Oddly enough, he just went back down to guaymas to kick off greenscool
If you get a chance, the folks at patagonia are blogging about it. Check it out.
Oh, and if anyone ever asks you if you have heard the joke about the dork who said no... save yourself and tell them you indeed have heard that one.