As an adult right now, when you go down memory lane and think about the vacations you had as a child, what exactly comes back to mind? Chances are that you do remember some interesting details about those beautiful places you visited and what you did then. But if you had a similar upbringing such as mine, the memories that would stand out for you would be the family time you spent together.
For me, there are quite a few vacations that really stood out during my childhood, one of them is visiting Disney World, and I still remember some intricate details on that one to date. Interestingly though, my fondest memories constitute the little things we participated in as we had our normal annual vacations, they were all quite unique and they remain etched in my memory.
My dad did take a lot of pride in inculcating lots of important values to his three daughters. He consistently found an obscure tourist site or a hidden gem hidden along a rarely trodden path. My dad really did have a knack of locating such sites and places.
Ignoring our frequent complaints about the sites and places we always frequented, my dad would gush with some infectious enthusiasm and display lots of excitement every time he would share with us these sightings. He was a true believer of the tenet that people should not just drive to places; they should be travelling instead.
A few years down the line as we grew older, the murmurs of displeasure did subside and something very interesting started to happen, we all started to appreciate the unique nature of our travels and even though we would complain once in a while, we did start to take in and enjoy the travelling experience our dad was exposing us to.
In the years that followed, this tradition became part and parcel of our lives; we use to yearn for those trips and were quite eager to be on the road, discovering new sites and places. When I turned eighteen, I remember me and my older sister left home for an entire week; we had a lot of fun discovering new places and were very proud of our achievement when we came back home. You should have seen the grin on our fathers face when we arrived back safely, with lots of interesting stories to tell. As a matter of fact, this particular trip was the beginning of the strong bond that I have with my sisters.
Now that I am also a parent, I have also taken on the same tradition. On all our road trips as a family, I and my husband have learned to figure out memorable and unique stopovers to make along the way. I personally prefer looking for different and unique things for the family to explore beforehand.
Over the years, I have also come to learn and appreciate that our travel plans are not cast in stone and we are always ready and willing to change our route plans so as to fully take in what the journey has to offer. Interestingly, as we try to get our way around we do at times bump into some gems along the way, such as those beautiful lampshades in Westfield, Massachusetts. My kids are still young and we are therefore still capable of trickling down our enthusiasm to them, making our trips quite enjoyable.
From experience, I know that as my children grow older, they will start complaining but I will keep our travels going as I am fully aware that I helping them build wonderful memories. I am also really lucky, anytime I get a mental block and unable to come up with a unique site to visit, I can always call on dad and get an idea!
I am a living example that those consistent and arguably small family traditions can form very strong and powerful memories that don’t fade away even with time. So the next time you are out on a trip, don’t constrain yourself to the fun and good times you will experience at your spot of choice; also take into consideration the memories you can get on your way to your destination.
So, what are some of the best ways of adding some fantastic memories to your journeys? These tips may come in handy;
Favorite games: Chances are that you will find every town or state has a pastime game that everyone enjoys, do some research and learn the game.
Visit the children’s Museum: children are always fascinated with new things, take them to the local museum so that they can learn about some local art, science and history.
Stroll to the water features: almost every city has a water feature, be it a waterfall, lake, river or a hot spring. Make sure you spend some time with them in such as set up.
For local Specialties: make a point of trying out the favorite foods of those who live around where you are visiting.
And for hikes, you will be surprised at how a leisurely walk down the main street can be quite interesting and eye opening.
Go to a playground nearby: children love playing, make a point of visiting one along the road and play with your kids.
You can also get one or two odd tourist attraction in a particular town or city, a quick Google search is all you need.
Finally, with cameras everywhere from phones to tablet cameras, you can also encourage your family to take lots of funny pictures of each other along the way.
Whatever it is you as a family decide to do, give it your all and be consistent. These traditions matter a lot and they go a long way in building strong family bonds which are anchored on lots of love and unity of purpose.
As a parent, I now know the importance of these traditions. I am glad I am helping my kids build their memories. Thanks Dad for that vital lesson.
Your challenge this summer is to try and work on some of the ideas listed above and do all that it takes to come back home with lots of beautiful memories.
I know for one thing that my family and I always travel to Naples, Florida every year. We have a home in the community of DeLaSol where we spend every winter with our kids. The community is great as are the weather and the people. The kids love it and we love that it is a tradition we look forward to every year.