By Sherri Coner
In Drew and Tammy Hester’s Whiteland home, guests walk into the kitchen, see the magnet-covered fridge and immediately know these are the kind of people who have plenty of luggage and passports.
But they have even more magnets … as in hundreds of magnets.
“Those are from all the places we’ve gone,” Tammy Hester said with a grin.
FORTY YEARS OF MEMORIES
When this couple tied the knot 40 years ago, the bride with wanderlust had one important goal. “I said, ‘I want to be able to travel. I want that sense of adventure. I want to see different places.’”
Thankfully, Drew agreed.
Unlike other couples who upgrade from a starter home, the Hesters stayed in their first and only home. They raised an only child, Maleah Myers, who is now married to Anthony Myers and residing in Huntington, Ind.
They happily traded life in a larger, fancier home for unbelievable moments, like the time they stood 50 feet from Exit Glacier in Seward, Alaska.
During a trip to Australia, Drew held a rather grumpy koala bear.
They also went snorkeling over the Great Barrier Reef.
To celebrate Maleah’s 21st birthday, the three of them traveled to the El Dorado Gold Mine in Alaska, where they panned for gold.
While visiting Oswald’s Bear Ranch in Michigan, Drew again found an opportunity to hold a black bear cub which was much friendlier than the koala.
During a visit to Eureka Springs, Ark., they visited Christ of the Ozarks.
Standing 67 feet high, the statue is 1,500 feet up the Magnetic Mountain.
Being there was spiritually touching, Tammy said.
But she was completely mesmerized by The Bible Museum at the Great Passion Play.
“The feel of that museum was just incredible,” she said. “There are Bibles from all over the world.”
To see more than 6,000 Bibles in 625 languages and 3,000 additional artifacts was one of Tammy’s favorite experiences.
Another attraction in Eureka Springs led Drew and Tammy to visit Thorncrown Chapel, an amazing structure which is 48 feet high with more than 6,000 square feet of glass.
And it is surrounded by woods.
With eight cruises on the books, when Tammy looks at everything they have seen and tried and admired, all the beautiful scenery and fun they found in every place they have visited so far, she declared that Alaska is her favorite place.
“In Fairbanks we rode a train that traveled along the mountainside and through tunnels,” this adventurous woman said with a smile. “Alaska is just so different from here. The air is so crisp and fresh.”
However, Australia is Drew’s choice of a favorite place.
“We got to see a lot of nature and animals that are native to there,” he said. “We were also on a wonderful cruise and interacted with friendly people.”
Along with seeing beautiful mountainsides and scenic lakes and beaches, the Hesters go off the beaten path to satisfy that quirk of curiosity about somewhat silly things.
That’s why they toured a house in California that was completely created with mosaic tiles.
In Chicago, they toured a museum of miniature houses.
In Gatlinburg, Tenn., they found thousands of salt and pepper shakers in a museum designed solely for those two essential items on anyone’s dining table.
“They had over 25,000 salt and pepper shakers,” Tammy said with a laugh. “I could have stayed there all day.”
Along with seeing the tiniest construction of miniature houses, furnished with amazing detail, the Hesters also decided to check out the other end of the spectrum.
So they visited Casey, Ill., home of the largest wind chime, the largest rocking chair and the largest rocking horse, just to name a few of the giant items displayed there.
As she scanned the magnet-filled fridge exterior, Tammy said she would change nothing about how she and Drew have lived their 40 years together.
“It provides more expansiveness of the world,” she said of traveling. “I’m fascinated by what I learn, I know now what feeds my soul, what feeds my spirit. Traveling gives you more meaning to life.”