Many of my most vivid and favorite memories of my childhood revolve around the family vacations that we took. These memories were sparked this past spring and Thanksgiving when, at my request, my parents pulled out old slides so that I could scan them to digital.
I remember the usual: kids bickering and Dad threatening that "we did NOT want to make him stop the car right here!" I also remember that my dad hated to have the windows open, especially the back ones (and we did not have air conditioning), so we generally suffered in the heat, only using the air vents to get fresh, cooler air.
But I also remember little details like my little brother having a very mild case of measles when we were at Disneyland (he got them from me but also had gotten vaccinated before we went). I'm also told that the same little brother and I swung out over a deep canyon on a fire tower crossbar in the Badlands when we were 2 and 4 yrs old. (My parents DID stop us!) I remember seeing the Badlands, Carlsbad Caverns, and the Grand Canyon. I remember waking up in the car in the middle of the night and seeing all the lights of Las Vegas (it actually was fairly small back then, but still had LOTS of neon lights). I remember staying in a motel only once - it was a Holiday Inn and all four of us kids slept in one bed. (We usually stayed with relatives or friends of my parents.) I remember that there were snow flurries in June when we saw Old Faithful and that there were HUGE snowbanks in Glacier National Park, even in the middle of summer, but that it was REALLY hot at the Joshua Tree National Monument. I remember cherry picking in Door County, WI, and seeing the Green Bay Packers practicing, and NOT wanting to swim in the Great Salt Lake. I remember travelling east for the first time when I was 17, and seeing things in east coast cities that I honestly thought only happened on TV, but that are really just daily life there. (To me it was a foreign culture!) I remember meeting cousins in California and Washington, and in high school visiting cousins along the east coast.
And all in all I have very fond memories of those family times. I know they stretched my parents financially, but I can't imagine having gone through childhood without them, and I'm grateful to my parents for giving us those experiences. They instilled in me a lifelong love for travel.