Family Vacations

There is definitely a genetic predisposition to wanderlust and travelling that I inherited.  My parents both loved to travel and vacation. I remember the first time I heard someone tell me that they had never been on a family vacation and was astounded.  I grew up in a neighborhood where most people may have not owned a home but often had a place they would go back to in their native land.  If they did not have they usually drove to destinations for their vacations but most people did something as a family during the summer. Sometimes these were the times when after many days together in shared motel rooms there would be giant fights among different family members but since no one could usually afford more than one room these got resolved rather quickly.  

My travels as a child were driving vacations at first, sometimes with my own parents and other times with my good friend and her parents (my parents would gratefully pay for my trip when they could not afford their own).  These travels were often south toward Florida and Virginia Beach.  The summer heat brutal in both places making them not as appealing so therefore, less expensive.  The cars were big, there were no personal electronics and they were filled with great memories.  I remember the years that my own parents could not afford to have vacations and their friends with kids (whom I was friends with) were nice enough to take me along on.  I still distinctly can visualize being in the back of my Dad's '75 Buick Le Sabre and lying down, my entire length was comfortable on that backseat, and listening to their 8 tracks (if you do not know what they are ...well they look like a VHS tape and were like the Cd's of the 70s) of Dean Martin, Ray Charles, and a variety of radio stations.  I remember going on a plane to Pittsburgh at around age 10 by myself to join family friends who lived there on their vacation to Myrtle Beach, it was after I had seen Jaws, there was shark netting at one point in the water, I scared myself (literally) stiff and floated to the shore thinking I heard bubbles in back of me (why a shark would blow bubbles is still beyond me), and had a great time with them laughing at that incident. We usually brought our own food for the road trips, packed in coolers, a variety of offerings, food bought at the destination supermarkets for at least 2 of the 3 main meals of the day since "discretionary" income for these trips was ....oh yeah non-existent.  I am pretty sure we did this even when I went abroad with my parents for at least some of our meals and yes kids of today we survived not having a kid menu, or crayons, or even shockingly chicken fingers ..,....

We take a lot of trips with the boys and they are memories that I hope are as fond for them as they are for me.  Our vacations though are a bit more upscale so no Howard Johnson Motels for them, no eating a budget and definitely a 3 hour drive is about as far as their vacation plans will take them before we board a plane.  They have their own iPods but we do often plug mine into the car radio and listen as a family to music (sometimes the same songs my own parents had playing) but more often requests for the pop stars of today.  These days spent together are not about the destination as much as about being together in a world where we all four have our own activities during the week.  I think family vacations are necessary to a family's well being and they do not have to be expensive, though it does gall me at how much even "inexpensive" places like amusement parks feel they can charge families these days, they do not have to be more than day trips around your home.  They only need you to be present for your family, to let the kids jump in the pool about a gazillion times if there is one where you are, to laugh at things that do not go as planned and most of all to enjoy the time together.  


  1. WoW! We had extremely similar family vacations! I loved n miss my dad's 8 tracks!!


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