I have never been a world traveler. I’ve only ever left the country to go to Canada, didn’t go to Walt Disney World until I was 19 years old, flew once on an airplane when I was 2 years old and not again until I was 24, and I have never been on the West Coast.
I can still remember those random winter days when we would gather for a family meeting to discuss where we wanted to go for our family vacation. Being the ten year old history buff I was, I always suggested colonial Williamsburg. I think secretly, I would have rather lived there and was tired of waiting for the invention of time travel. But no worries, my tinkering son will invent time travel very soon.
Apart from my suggestion to time travel each summer for a true getaway, we were realistic about our expectations. Walt Disney World was too expensive, Hawaii was too far, and our family bond would never survive a cross country drive. So year after year I was over-ruled in favor of Ocean City, MD, Niagara Falls, Nags Head, NC, or camping.
Our family vacations were filled with tornadoes, sun poisoning, and bike rides that were a little further than we had thought. Best part? My dad videotaped every second. Yes, as in a camera that holds a full-sized VHS tape sitting on his shoulder. The best souvenir is realizing how much fun we had.
I’ll admit I am now that I’m in my early 30’s (VERY early 30’s) and I have yet to visit Colonial Williamsburg (despite now residing a very short distance away). It has been 7 years since I have been to Walt Disney World but I have never visited there on a family vacation. Although I have been camping recently, I miss the Erie, PA campground we used to visit regularly. As time passed, our family became too busy for vacations.
But now our family has grown +1. Although we didn’t think our +1 was ready for a family vacation last summer, I know he will be very soon. We did visit Mount Vernon, VA (best I can do until he invents that time travel) and I suspect we will try camping once or twice this coming summer. I’m finally going to have to learn how to be patient as we wait for our +1 to get older so that we can take him to Walt Disney World in a true Griswold family vacation (green station wagon and VHS camera optional).
But vacations don’t have to be distant or itinerary filled. Instead, they should be filled with sleeping in, turning off the Blackberry (crazy talk!), and spending family time together. Despite all of the places my family and I didn’t travel to, our memories are about the places we did travel to and what we did once we got there.
And we have the home videos to prove it.
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