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Family

Prompt #25: FAMILY, my thirteenth entry in the 30 Days of Indie Travel series

Family shapes who we are, but sometimes the family we create plays a bigger role in our lives than the one we were born into. Tell a story about how either of your “families” have impacted your life and your travels.

From the very beginning, my family has encouraged and been an important part of my travels.  There is no way that I could travel as much as I do without the love, support and understanding of my family.  My family imparted their love of travel on me from a very young age.

Growing up International travel was not a big part of our lives.  In fact, until I was 17 the only other country I had been to was Canada.  We did, however, make it to every corner of the United States.  I have very fond memories of packing up our van pretty much every school vacation to visit family across the United States.  This is the big reason I have been to 45 of the 50 States.  Minnesota and New York were frequent destinations, though we also had a few trips out West, two times to Florida and a few trips to Texas.  Our family was proud of our ability to travel well together, made easier by my parents decision to purchase a 15 passenger van.  This ensured that each of us had our own seat making it easier to stretch out, get some sleep and stay out of each others way.  These trips would not have been possible without my Dad’s ability to stay awake all night.  He also was a master at the license plate and alphabet game, making our waking hours pass by quickly.  Many of these trips would depart on Friday when we got out of school.  A quick stop for dinner and a bathroom break or two were the only breaks he got to take before our early morning arrival.

These long trips were also made easier by the preparations my Mom made.  For each long trip (over 5 hours) we were given a travel box.  This was filled with activities and treats, plenty to fill the hours in the car when we were awake.  The rule was that we could not open them until we were on the expressway, the beginning of the trip that always seemed to take forever to get to.  When we each moved away to college we were able to take the travel box with us, filled with goodies to make our time in the dorm a bit easier.  To supplement these goodies on longer trips she also came prepared with a bag full of loot for either “eating, doing or sharing”.  Every few hours we were able to choose one of these to help keep us busy.  While never anything that we kept long term, we always looked forward to these diversions that remain a fond memory of our times together.

These early trips set the precedent for me to discover my world.  To know as much about different places as I could through first hand experience.  While International travel has taken the place of U.S. road trips, these trips are still some of my favorite memories of growing up.  I have no doubt that these trips helped to bring my family closer together, a bond that lasts today.

The encouragement to travel from my family has also been a part of my International trips.  I still have a long way to go to catch the number of countries that my Grandparents have visited.  My Dad’s parents have been to 56 different countries.  One of their last trips abroad was to visit me (along with the rest of my family) in China during the 2008 Olympics.  They were also the catalyst for my first trip out of North America, taking the entire family on a “heritage tour” of Europe so that we could help them celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary.  The 16 days we spent in Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany and the Netherlands gave me the International travel bug that I still have not come close to satisfying.  This trip help show me just how much the world has to explore.  While I have made it to many more countries since, I have discovered that there is that just much else still to see.

There is really no doubt that a huge THANK YOU is in order to my family.  I cannot imagine what my life would be like without them, and without the travels I have taken that they have supported and inspired.  I can’t wait to see more of the world with them, starting in just a few weeks when my Dad, Brother and I explore Japan.

Thankful for the world

Prompt #24: GIVING THANKS, my twelfth entry in the 30 Days of Indie Travel Series

Seeing what others have – and don’t have – around the world often helps us appreciate our own good fortune. What are you thankful for this year ?

I am thankful for:

  1. Having a job and even more than that is having a job that allows me the flexibility to travel as much as I do
  2. Having a family that supports my life
  3. Having Teph to share my life and travels with
  4. Living in a time where it is possible to travel around the world, to stay connected with those that you love even when half way around the world.
  5. Health and Happiness
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