The Love Issue: Celebrating all of the passion around us

Sometimes, love gets a bad rap. It’s been called fickle, flighty, frothy and fleeting, something that tends to fade in a world of grim realities and absolutes. We’re told that we fall in love, akin to stumbling into a ditch or stepping off a cliff.

But here at Jmore, we believe that love is indeed eternal and never goes out of fashion, and we subscribe to the notion put forth by the title of that old movie and tune, “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing.”

Romantic love, while being wonderful and enthralling, is only but one form of the L-word. Passion and affection transcend the concept of two individuals with deep or amorous feelings for each other. It extends to love for other themes, concepts and interests, such as music, cars or animals.

In this “Love Issue,” we offer five examples of people who have a love and passion for a few of their favorite things. We sincerely hope you love it! — JMORE STAFF

Love and the Travel Bug

I have no recollection of my first trips. Apparently, I crossed the country twice by the time I was 18 months old.

I was born in Colorado, where my father was attending veterinary school. My mother’s parents lived in New York, so I can only assume we took the train to visit them before eventually moving to Baltimore when I was a toddler.

My first recollection having to do with travel, however, was when I was 5 or 6. I was lying on the floor, thumbing through a book my parents had, “Around the World in 1,000 Pictures.” When I got to a photo of the Eiffel Tower, I looked up at my parents and said, “I’m going there someday.”

The author poses in front of the Eiffel Tower. (Provided)

I have no idea what spoke to me about that photo, about the Eiffel Tower itself or about Paris in general. We’re not French (though through DNA testing, I’ve found a French cousin — you can only imagine how thrilled I am about that!). All I know is that from that moment on, traveling to Paris in particular, and traveling in general, became an obsession.

I began studying French when I was 9, and eventually added Spanish and Italian, and went on to major in French. By the time I got to Paris for the first time at the age of 20, I felt like I knew it better than I knew Baltimore.

That doesn’t mean I only go to Paris. For both my work as a freelance travel and lifestyle writer and simply for my own enjoyment, I’ve traveled frequently throughout Europe, Canada, the United States, and less frequently to destinations such as Mexico and the Caribbean.

I was fortunate to have come from a traveling family, though we never did the exotic trips so many families do today. There were plenty of day trips, annual winter getaways to The Nevele in the Catskills, annual summer trips to Ocean City for my father’s veterinary conferences, and occasional trips to Florida, Colorado and California (those by car or train because my father was afraid to fly, though he eventually conquered that).

At one time, I wanted to travel around the world. Now, I feel less of a need to see everything and do everything. My significant other has a “checklist” (as in, let’s do everything in “1,000 Things to See Before You Die”). Some travelers find a checklist motivating. I, on the other hand, find it constraining. Sure, there are still places I want to see — Japan, for example, has been crossing my mind lately, as has Eastern Europe to walk in the footsteps of my grandparents, and the rest of Scandinavia (I’ve only been to Denmark so far), to name a few.

But I’m not the world’s most intrepid traveler (don’t have much desire to go to Antarctica) and I don’t want to give up returning to the places I love. I’m fortunate (and grateful) that I’ve seen so much of the world, but also fortunate — and grateful — that there are places in the world that give me a sense of “I’m home again.”

Carol Sorgen is shown on an Alaskan cruise in 2019. (Provided)

What I love most about travel is, I think, what I’ve loved most about being a journalist. They both afford me the opportunity to get to know people I wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity to meet, visit places I wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity to see, and learn about myself and my place in the world.

This last year, I’ve been fortunate to have visited Mexico, Oregon, California, Alaska, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium and France.

Next stop? Who knows?

One thing I do know, though. As Audrey Hepburn said, “Paris is always a good idea.”

Carol Sorgen is a Baltimore- based freelance writer.