In my gaming pre-history, I read about Traveller in a book about RPGs that J. Eric Holmes wrote. He had an example of play from Traveller that involved flying cars and floating turnips. It seemed pretty cool. (Minus the turnips. I was a serious child back then.)
In 7th grade, I bought the boxed set to MegaTraveller. I ran it a couple of times, but I really had no idea what I was doing. I recall an adventure that consisted entirely of a layover at a casino space station that ended in a gun battle with snake men...and really very little in the way of consequence.
I also recall an adventure where I placed a crashed starship for the players to find, and I recall a massive indifference to said starship.
Shortly thereafter, we migrated to Gamma World (then in its 4th edition) because elephant men and tiger men with plasma guns is fucking cool to 7th-8th graders.
...not going to lie. Still cool at 32.
I didn't touch Traveller again until I gave the Mongoose version a shot in 2011. (I blogged about it on this very blog, in fact.) At the time, I was totally inspired by the Mass Effect game series (the third installment hadn't yet taken the wind right the fuck out of my sails) and I wanted some starfaring adventure.
....what I got was pretty much my players constantly doing cargo runs to barely pay the mortgage on their ship, but the cargo runs ended up leaving them no time to address the various events I had sprinkled around the sector to provide adventure, including a fanatical cult bent on ripping open a lost jump gate to usher in some truly horrible cosmic event. (This would've actually slotted seamlessly into Stars Without Number's implied setting. Alas.)
When I occasionally read about people playing or remembering Traveller, it almost always includes some kind of economic enterprise that the PCs are involved in.
So, Traveller veterans, answer me this: Is Traveller seriously just a game set in a Niven-esque universe were a bunch of middle aged retired dudes truck around reselling shit like some kind of galactic Ameriprise outfit? Is it, in essence, a game about interstellar mid-life crisis? Is my perspective on Traveller just whacked out?