I can trace my lifelong wanderlust to a song. In 1962, when I was 12, the Duprees sang their version of “You Belong to Me.” I was way too young to appreciate the lover’s sentiments, but everything about me perked up at the places mentioned in the song.

See the pyramids along the Nile
Watch the sun rise on a tropic isle
Just remember, darling, all the while
You belong to me

See the marketplace in old Algiers
Send me photographs and souvenirs
But remember when a dream appears
You belong to me

I’ll be so alone without you
Maybe you’ll be lonesome too, and blue

Fly the ocean in a silver plane
Watch the jungle when its wet with rain
Just remember till youre home again
You belong to me

Of course I had to grow up first, and when my first idea for a career, becoming a “stewardess” (as they were known then) was emphatically kaboshed by my mother (along with becoming a tap dancer and a palm reader), I dutifully went off to college.

Other than a year on education abroad in Edinburgh in 1969-70, my travel dreams went entirely unfulfilled for several decades, but when I found myself single again with no minor children I began pursuing travel opportunities like crazy. In fact, for a couple of years, while I was still teaching full time I managed to be out of the country more than I was home, by juggling education abroad teaching opportunities, sabbaticals, and travel write offs doing research for my numerous school library books on modern nations.

I didn’t see it at the time, but everything from teaching humanities to writing books was preparing me for the life I have now.

Six year ago I got my first lecturer assignment on a cruise line, and I haven’t stopped since. Twelve-year-old Laurel is now more than half a century older, but still every bit as excited about being in new places and returning to old favorites. Now, as my tee shirt says, Home is where the anchor drops.”

Pyramids? Tropic isles? Old Algiers? Jungles? Oh yeah, sign me up! The girl with the transistor radio glued to her ear is still right here.