Today kicks off a new series around here... "It was the Best of Vacations... It was the Worst of Vacations..." As I mentioned on Saturday in this post about Summertime, growing up - Family Vacations were not something we did. At least not with regularity - and definitely not with a sense of Fun or Excitement!
If we went anywhere - it was a 4+ hour Road trip back to Spokane or maybe to Walla Walla to visit my parents' families... either destination was stressful and filled with all KINDS of angst.
Yes - we WERE from That 70s Show
My parents were both raised in Spokane and grew up with a lot of extended family functions and get-togethers and moving away from it all was a bold and independent statement of sorts. In the beginning - there were more trips home... more homesickness and less backseat sibling-"It's looking at me again!" and "How much longer?"-type interactions. But awhile after I came along, we were settled in to our own little town, and life got busy and the reunions were not as regular -or at least, we didn't attend them quite as much!
Neither one of my parents love to travel... Some people just aren't 'good' at it. Nothing against them - but it just always feels (to them - and often to everyone else around them) that it is just not really worth all the trouble! So - other than sporadic road trips back 'home'... and that one near fatal (yes - I am being dramatic!) beach trip - "Family Vacations" were left to Hollywood and TV and the other families.
Not ours... but you know - the others.
Let me say that we were in no way deprived... and really - we didn't know what we were or were not missing anyway... but blame it on the movies, or friends' photo albums, or just wanting to somehow - someway - one day, see beyond this desert town... I had dreams of beaches and lakes and hotels and sight seeing...
Enter my Honey... who I met just after he moved back home... He too made a bold escape and packed his car and headed OUT. He drove across the country and lived in Florida for several years before missing the mountains and skies of the West - and the people, too... I am sure he was missing his people. Now - as I fell in love with him, I fell in love with his sense of adventure. He - it seemed - was up for anything. He could go anywhere... live anywhere... he wanted to see places and things and meet people and - well - just GO... and yet - here we are... some 20+ years later... settled in and happy.
As we grew from two into one... one of the things that we discussed was travel. I have never been out of the country - except that one time when I ended up in Canada for a day on a great adventure - but that was back in the day, and on a rare occasion where I was somehow brought along on someone elses' Family Vacation! But I digress...
I'd never been on a plane... I'd never gone anywhere outside of my State, but the reality was money was tight and that was even BEFORE we grew to Three. Still - God is good - and Dave made it happen... I am still waiting to leave the country one day... but I have fallen in love with travel... having kicked Fear to the curb years ago - I love flying and driving and putting my toes in the sand and just sitting there for hours and hours... I love seeing historic places and being a tourist and eating new foods and meeting new people. I determined with him that before our girlie was forming inside, that we would pass down to her a sense of adventure and belonging... that we would take her places and show her things and we would go as a Family together and we would go as a couple alone.
This - we decided, for us
- was part of how we wanted
to build a life.
Vacations... Memories... pictures... stories... Remember Whens...
For whatever reason, it felt important to me... it felt like passing down a legacy and part of it for me, I believe, was in the not passing down Fear. I had to overcome and branch out because my heart for her was to push even farther - to overcome and conquer; to see the world... to make a difference!
I believe you can do that from right where you are... but when you are able to experience a Great escape... When you - as Dr. Marvin so brilliantly prescribed to Bob, -when you 'need a vacation from your problems' ...sometimes it is just a change of scenery that can bring freedom and refreshing and whether you like to travel or not - who among us doesn't need that from time to time?
So - we started Family Vacations right off the bat! We have always been a single income family and so vacations for us haven't meant flying to Paris or even Hawaii... they haven't meant Disneyworld and Disneyland... but they have meant that we pack up the car, or book a flight... and head out somewhere different, and we build some memories around a long weekend.
She was all of 3 months or so when we took our first family trip to Seattle... we walked around downtown and went to Pikes Place Market... we went to the Aquarium and the Point Defiance Zoo... we stayed in a large hotel room with extended family and we took more pictures than were necessary and that was just the beginning...
Rainy Seattle Waterfront - what a shocker!
She was under 3 when we first took her to the beach - the "Big O'Water and Sand" as she loved to call it. That quickly became OUR Family vacation destination. We went with best friends and our Family Vacation included friends who were Family in Christ. We go back (nearly) every year... it is our beloved Beach! She has grown up there - in the same small sleepy little town, with the same friends, at the edge of the Pacific.
It is a long stretch of sand and wind and kites and wave jumping and sun(?)bathing (it is Oregon, after all!), and boogie boarding and boardwalk strolling and taffy and ice cream eating and little boutique browsing, Carousel riding and fireworks lighting on the beach, and 4th of July parades down front street... and s'mores and bonfires and games inside and outside and - always, laughter and cuddles and friends and fun... and always, God.
God meets us there at the beach... there is something holy for me, barefoot walking along the shore, seeing the vast hugeness of the sea... and knowing that I am held in... safe... loved.
But I will talk more of that tomorrow!
I hope you will come along with me this week, and then jump in and share your own Best (and/) or Worst Family Vacation stories on Saturday for my first ever Link up!
Until then, I'd love to hear if your family took vacations when you were young... or if you take them now as an adult!
Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.
All photographs copyrighted by Karrilee @ Blessed Memories
To read the complete series, Click HERE... each post is linked at the bottom!