05 May 2012

On the Road


As a kid, I feel like I traveled quite a bit...though we barely left California and never left the USA. I was extremely to lucky to grow up where I did, where so much change -- in topography, climate, and culture -- in just a few hour's drive. Often, when thinking about "travel," many people automatically assume that means going somewhere international, and poo-poo domestic travel as "not real." And while I, too, think it is important to get out of your home country, that it helps you gains some perspective, I don't think people are inherently wrong or ignorant for doing so. We live in a huge and diverse country, hell, I live in a huge and diverse state...so even going to another part of my state can be a huge cultural shift for me. To me, travel is getting out of your comfort zone and home and experiencing something different.

Family reunion in Eureka...underneath a Redwood tree in my
aunt's backyard
This thinking, and appreciation of this type of travel, stems from how I grew up. Our vacations did not involve going to far-flung countries, or even cities or states very far away. Most of our travels as a whole family occurred within a few hours of home, and involved a car ride, wriggling in the back seat, and perhaps a punch or two -- this was before the days of any sort of entertainment in the car other than a book -- and an eventual arrival to the Redwoods or maybe the Monterey area or something. My dad's schedule (and, I think, general dislike of being too far from home) defined a lot of what we were able to do as a family of four.

I loved getting away from home for a little while. Hotels were the coolest thing when I was a kid -- there were pools! Unlimited ice in the halls! The chance to get some junk food from the vending machine RIGHT THERE! Then there was the camping -- which we still do to this day; when I was little we only did this one or two summer weekends a year, and it meant going to the River and playing with my older cousins, chasing after a kid named Neil with shaving cream for the Sadie Hawkins dance, and playing at this magical place called Piggy Park.

I do remember a few plane trips -- we went to Disneyland (every once in a while, my dad was able to join us), and once to this far-flung place called Austin, Texas, to meet relatives...I remember being on the UT campus and thinking it was the most neat-o place in the world and maybe someday I could go to school there and hang out in that huge library. But mostly I remember the car rides with the four of us.

Should I ever have kiddos, I'll be hauling them on some international travel. But equally important will be the local trips, visiting and appreciating the things we have right in our own backyard, and understanding how those experiences are vitally important to the people they will become.

This is a part of the BootsnAll Indie Travel Challenge. Each week, they give a different prompt...I'm starting a little late; this is in response to week 18, "Family Travel."

I'm working on catching up!

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