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Month: October 2016

Travel For Kids’ Sake!

Travel For Kids’ Sake!

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There are many reasons I love to travel. I’ve probably already mentioned many of them in my other posts, but for the newbies I will list them again, in no particular order.  I love to travel because I need adventure in my life, and I crave knowledge.  I like to learn about new cultures and meet new people.

I also enjoy trying new foods, taking in new sights, and smelling new towns. Yes, many places have their own distinct smell.  Hawaii, for example, has a wonderful aroma from the flowers all over the island that hits you right in the nostrils when you step foot off the plane or ship.  It is delightful change from the re-circulated air inflight, I assure you.

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Many people travel to relax and escape their daily grind. I enjoy that as well.  I am sure that most people can list relaxing on their list of “why” in regards to travel.  Find a nice beach, pull up a chair and do nothing but listen to the waves and trade in my pale skin for a nice bronze glow.  Yes, that is a wonderful reason to travel.  But I have another reason that you may not have thought about.

During the year I try to take at least two vacations. I travel once without kids, whether it be a solo trip, or adults only.  This is my recharge trip, me selfish vacation.  The other is travel with my kids.

While it can be a little trickier traveling with kids, it is worth it! Yes I have to listen to them argue, whine, and even complain. Let’s face it, they do that at home too.  The great thing is, however, I am giving them life lessons.  By traveling with my kids I am teaching them about culture.  In doing so, my kids grow up knowing that there are other ways to live in the world, and different ways of doing things.  They learn that our way is not the only way. Kids, through travel, also learn that there are many different types of people in the world and to be open to people and things that are different than what they are accustomed to.

By being submerged in what is unknown, kids also learn not to be afraid to try new things. Whether it be something adventurous like zip-lining, or simply trying a new food. They get to see the fun in having variety in our world.  In today’s society so many people are afraid or hateful to what is different from them.  The number of cultures that exist with their own beliefs and their own way of doing things are plentiful.  Modern technology allows us to travel further and quicker than ever before.  That means that people from different cultures are bound to meet and experience each other in more numbers than history could allow.

Just because we can travel and experience other cultures, does not mean we have to feel bad about the way we do things, or change them to be more like others. It just means that we can acknowledge and appreciate that there is a plethora of culture out there, and be comfortable interacting with those from other countries than our own.  Teaching your children to appreciate differences between their beliefs and those of faraway places is beneficial to them and their future.  Not to mention, the world as a whole.

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So travel for fun, travel for relaxation, travel for adventure, travel for good food, travel for world peace, and travel for your kids’ future. 🙂

Roadtrip!!

Roadtrip!!

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Does anyone take road trips anymore?

It seemed like we drove back and forth from Michigan to California at least a dozen times when I was a kid. I loved our family road trips.  We didn’t complete our trips at a leisurely pace, it was pedal to the metal.  There was no stopping for a hotel.  We slept in the car and the adults took turns driving.  Just ask my cousin Brian, who was devastated when he learned he would sleep right where he sat.

That year we took the trip from Traverse City Michigan to Joshua Tree California in a Lincoln Continental.  My mom, and my aunt took me, my brother, and my cousin on the 4,566 mile (roundtrip) vacation. Oh and the Woody doll from the Toy Story Movie….we can’t forget Woody. I’ll tell you more about him later.

There was laughing, singing, crying, terror, and vomiting….all in the one trip. Who wouldn’t love a trip like that?? Take a flight, and miss all the fun? No thanks!! In all seriousness, our trips are some of my favorite memories.  I can understand on one hand, why most people fly to their destinations these days, but on the other they are missing so much!

That trip, we started out on our way, eager and full of excitement. I was about fifteen years old, my brother was around thirteen, and my cousin was twelve.  The boys had the woody doll, which they played with the entire way.  Woody danced and made obscene gestures to the passing truckers, and even had his little cloth body beaten against the window for hundreds of miles. Only his leg remained in the vehicle as his lifeline for the ride, as they had shut it in the window to allow his body to flap freely in the wind. After the tapping of Woody’s hat on the glass grew old, the adults made the boys bring him in. But it wasn’t long before Woody was nearly ejected from the car. The boys used the doll to do their best Beavis and Butthead impressions, lasting for about two hours.  My aunt couldn’t take anymore and completely lost her shit.  It is one of my favorite memories of my aunt to date.  She is a petite, quiet woman, ohhh but not that day.  On that day, she yelled things I had never heard before.  I won’t repeat them here because her outburst isn’t appropriate for G rated articles. I wish I could have recorded it.  It made no sense, and I wondered how she could just spit something out like that, until I had kids and learned about how they can make you so mad you forget how to put words together. It all makes sense to me now.

Woody was put away for the rest of the trip.

As we continued on everyone calmed down, and settled in to the long ride ahead. We got to see a lot of really cool things on that trip.  One of my favorites to this day is the Cadillac Ranch on Old Route 66.  There are several Cadillacs buried in the ground at an angle. (See article photo.)  It was done as an art project in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels. It is so odd to see in the middle of the desert, and equally unforgettable. The Cadillac Ranch is located in Amarillo Texas, if this story moves you to take a road trip of your own, and you would like to visit it. 😉

On our intense road trips we have to make some stops of course. My favorite was always the souvenir shop at the four corners, where Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico meet. There was a lot of jewelry with turquoise, moccasins, leather purses and other handmade gifts. I always saved my money for that particular shop. There were teepees and a white buffalo there as well.

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The Cabazon dinosaurs are also a must see while out west. They are located in Cabazon California north of Interstate 10. You can go inside one of the dinosaurs as I remember it, and you will find a gift shop. If it still exists, there was a diner on site that had ginormous hamburgers, as big as your face, and the best peanut butter pie I have ever had. I used to love “going to the dinosaurs!” In a way, the stop is kind of like one of those stops where you can see the world’s largest ball of yarn, or watch water “flow up-hill”. Aren’t those the stops that we remember from our childhood? By flying everywhere you go, you miss the little quirky sites along the way. You also miss the opportunity for close bonding with your cousins, or siblings. Yes, as the parent, you will have to listen to your kids complain that their sibling is touching them, and that their skin feels weird….but the kids memories are a lot more fond when they grow up, than those of a boring four hour plane ride. Short flights don’t teach them anything either!

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From taking our trips across the country, I learned how to read a map. I remember how cool I thought I was that I could show my mom exactly where we were on the freeway (I-40) we were on, by finding the mile marker on the map. I also had a chance to learn about other cultures when we went through areas that were home to the Native American’s. We learned how to manage money by deciding how much of our souvenir money to spend at each shop, and by deciding if we wanted an arrowhead, or a scorpion covered in some sort of glass, or maybe a hand beaded leather purse. I will never forget our trips, and look forward to cramming my kids into a car sometime soon for days, and making them listen to Credence Clearwater Revival the entire way there and back just for old time’s sake. I hope they will remember it as fondly as I.  Thanks Mom, I hope we can do another road trip together soon too!

 

Here I Go Again On My Own

Here I Go Again On My Own

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Everyone should travel alone at least once. Traveling on your own has a freeing element to it.  You have no one to please, and can be completely selfish with your planning…or lack of.

When you travel with others, you have to keep their feelings in mind. There is a certain amount of compromise needed to keep the mood friendly.  It’s only fair, you may want to adventure out, and they want to lay by the beach, so you make time for both…what a drag. 😉 Just kidding, I love travelling with my friends and loved ones, just not every trip.

While I enjoy a day or so of just relaxing during my travels, I mostly enjoy exploring the area. I like to be on the move and take it all in.  It makes me feel anxious when I am wasting vacation doing nothing.  I suppose I feel like I only have a short amount of time at any one destination, and I want to pack as much in my days as possible. There are always more interesting things to see and do than you can fit into one trip, so I feel as though each moment sitting is just less I get to see.

Not everyone feels like me. Some people like to escape their hectic everyday lives and just find somewhere to plop down and relax. I can appreciate that, but it is not my style.

Shopping is also not my style. Not really anyway, nothing other than some souvenirs or necessities for the trip.  I should say I dislike “big store” shopping, as I do enjoy going to open air markets and antique shops, and finding souvenirs there if possible.  But I avoid the malls and big shopping centers at all cost.

So this is where solo trips come in. In my opinion, everyone should travel alone at least once a year.  Not only do you get to design a vacation exclusively to your liking, but your time to yourself helps you grow as well.  Spending time alone, helps you be fully aware of who you are, without any influence.

I have learned a lot about myself through travel. For example, I had no idea I was adventurous.  Sounds ridiculous right? Well it wasn’t until I took my first tropical vacation that I realized that I was bored just sitting on the beach.  When I go somewhere new I want to meet the people, try the food, and find the adventure. I seek out activities like exploring caves, zip lining, and snorkeling with Manta Rays.  I enjoy doing things that get the adrenaline going, or at least fulfill my need for new experiences. These breaks from every day life of taking care of others, are what send me home feeling revived and ready to tackle real life again.  Near the end of my trip, I will spend a relaxing day at the beach appreciating my wonderful week or two in paradise, and that is enough for me.  Before I know it, it’s time to go home.  I leave with a smile and a full heart.  I return home happy and my soul renewed.

Take it from me. Plan to go somewhere on your own this year. Choosing yourself and spending even a few days doing exactly what you want, will bring you home happier. And who wouldn’t appreciate a happier version of you?

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