Holiday Memories: One Big Adventure!

Jess McGlynnJune 18, 2013
My final guest post is from Claire who blogs at Clarinas Contemplations.  Hers was one of the first blogs I ever read when I first started blogging and I was drawn in by Claire’s honest and open writing.  I’m so pleased she has written something for me to share here!

Starlit campfires, travelling the open road, country music, devouring books, visiting historical sites, mosquito bites, UNO, bike rides, white water rafting, Eurocamp and cousins…

Our family holidays were never the “sit on the poolside and soak up the sun” kind of holidays.  We were lucky if we even got one afternoon of that!  But to be honest, I liked it that way.  Holidays were all about adventure and exploration.  Every day, we would visit some new place, explore some new territory, try a new experience.  Every detail was carefully planned; where we would stay each night, how long each journey would take, what sights we would stop and see on the way.  It was all part of the adventure.

My Dad is, and always has been, the intrepid explorer, and he taught us kids young to appreciate travelling.  Our very small years were spent exploring our own continent – France, Switzerland, the UK and Ireland.  I remember vividly my Dad’s bedtime stories while my cousins and I listened from beneath the duvets, the day a butterfly landed on my multicoloured t-shirt, the playroom in our Swiss chalet, the coaxing that had to be done to encourage us to record everything in our diaries (I still have all my holiday diaries – they do make for some quite amusing reading!), skipping competitions and early morning exercise with my Dad and Uncle in the lounge with 5 squealing little girls!  I remember the day, in Switzerland, we ate so many apricots we paid for it afterwards, the “law” that adults were not allowed to pick up children in that country, or we would be arrested (how did we fall for that one?!), the day I got locked in the holiday home and left behind while everyone went on their merry way, thinking I was in the “other” car!

At the age of 8, I left the European borders for the first time and began a love affair that, I have no doubt, will last my whole life long.  We set for America.  I cannot describe the sheer excitement that besets a little girl when she finds out she is going to Disneyworld… I loved everything about that trip – the campervan that led us on the open road for nearly 3 weeks, the cactus’, the cowboy ghost towns, Sea World, the Navajo Indians, the Grand Canyon, on-flight entertainment, giant sized McDonalds.  Everything was wonderful…everything was new…everything was big.

Over the next few years, we returned to the USA, ticking off more and more states each time.  Always on the road; always moving from place to place.  There is something so very freeing about that kind of holiday.  I got to appreciate the beautiful city of Boston, went to my first baseball match in Portland, followed the Oregon trail, walked slave plantations in the deep south, drove through the Rockies, rafted the white waters of the Colorado river, buggy-rode through Amish Lancaster County and went to a Rodeo in Jackson Hole.  Each trip holding its own precious memories.

For now, the cycle is repeating itself.  With our little girls, we have returned to European borders as we will paddle the fjords of Norway this summer, and gaze over Northern Irish beaches.  I can’t wait.

And maybe one day, I’ll be able to take them to “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”

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