Off to War, and Thirty Other Shores
I met up with William “Billy” Michael Fay, a sixty-six year old who, throughout his lifetime, has visited 30 different places, with 20 of them being in different countries. He has even been to six of the seven continents on planet Earth. Fay was a 1966 graduate from Phillip Schuyler High School in Albany, NY. He served in the United States Navy from 1966-1972, and served in Vietnam during 1968-1970. When he returned home, he met and fell in love with Kathy Fay. He has been married to her for 42 years now and has two children: a daughter, Tammy and a son, Billy. And even though he’s married and an “older” person, he has not let anything stop him from doing what he loves: Travel.
When Fay and I talked in his living room, he was dressed comfortably in shorts and a polo shirt- the same type he wears when he goes out golfing with his wife. On the right, sat his hat that he wears everywhere: his United States Navy Veteran hat, with the colored lines underneath showing that he served in Vietnam. Around the head part are pins: a River Rats pin, a fabric-rose with a slip of paper and the all-important American Flag. I sit down, we exchange pleasantries, and then he says, “Alright, let’s start.” He was ready.
BM: How old were you when you first travelled?
BM: Where did you go?
BM: Did you like it there?
WF: Yes. It’s a beautiful country, just too bad what happened to it. (pauses) But I liked everywhere I went.
BM: Would you ever return there?
WF: Yes. Now.
BM: Why do you want to go back?
WF: It’s just a beautiful country. And, I would like to see the changes that have happened since 1970.
BM: Do you have a favorite place?
WF: Oof, that’s a hard question… (thinks for a minute) Aruba.
BM: Would you go back?
WF: Oh, absolutely. In a heartbeat.
WF: There’s some many nice people, and the weather is nice… it’s just a nice place to go. And a beautiful country as well.
BM: What is your favorite way to travel?
WF: Flying, for the speed and the convenience.
BM: What’s your least favorite?
WF: Greyhound Bus. (laughs) I don’t like buses. I haven’t been on a Greyhound Bus in probably 48 years.
But Fay’s travelling career does not just consist of going out of the country. Just this past year, Fay travelled to Myrtle Beach, NC and Kissimmee, Fl. He has also been to many “tourist-sites” within the United States, such as all of Washington DC, NASA Space in Virginia, the Battlefields in Virginia and Saratoga and Arlington National Cemeteries. His favorite? Arlington National Cemetery.
BM: Why was this your favorite?
WF: It’s ceremonial.
BM: Is there any place that’s on your bucket list?
WF: The Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Pike’s Peak, Deadwood, South Dakota
BM: Do you think you will be able to?
WF: Yes, because I want to.
BM: Do you have a plan to go there?
WF: No not at this time.
But the hardest questions were at the end of the interview. When we talked, not about his travelling experiences highs and lows or his hopes for travelling in the future. But about why it is important.
BM: How different is it travelling as an 18 year old than a 65 year old?
WF: You’re more energetic as a teen, but you’re more laid back as a senior citizen. (laughs) You’ve got nothing but time.
BM: Why do you think travel is important for people?
WF: It keeps them up to date on changes in the world.
William Fay is a well-traveled citizen of America. With his travels spanning over 30 countries, and his history being just a normal guy from Albany, NY, many people can learn a lot from him. Because as he shows, if you set your mind to something, nothing can stop you from achieving it. No matter who you are, or where you’re from, or what it is.