My graduating year of high school, myself and some friends took a road trip down to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. I still can't put my finger on the exact reason I find them so intriguing, but that is where my collection started.
Despite geographic distances, I'm fairly close to my family. AJ is doing mountaineering in the Pacific Northwest and my sister does various IT consulting work out of New York City. I'll give them heads up whenever I'm flying through so we can usually meet for lunch or dinner. We also try to get the entire family together for July 4th.
My skills of threat evaluation notwithstanding, I learned to speak Bad English in the Corps. Part of the job, really, since that's one of the few languages highly fluent in communicating imminent use of force.
The town I grew up in was very isolated. The only way in or out was by boat or aircraft. My fascination with all things flight began there and grew with each flight in and out of town I was on, cemented when I got my private pilot's license on my 16th birthday.