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I was recently asked in an interview about my favorite family
vacation. My impulse was to answer, what family vacation? but then I
remembered that late this summer the husband and I took the kids to Blue Mountain for four days. Which, yes, I suppose was a vacation, but as Blue Mountain is only a two hour drive from our home it didn’t really feel vacation-y, you know?
Anyway. I do have a dream family vacation.
It’s nothing fancy. Sure, I’d love to take my kids on safari in
Kenya, or go snorkeling in Cozumel, but my ultimate, dreamed-of,
really-really-would-so-love-to-do-it family vacation? A road trip.
Well, one very specific road trip.
When I was seven years old, my parents loaded my sister and I into a
camper and we drove from Vancouver, BC, to Disneyland. We wove our way
down the Pacific coast, periodically veering inland to visit points of
interest that my parents had plotted on a tattered map. The Grand
Coulee Dam, the Petrified Forest, Hearst Castle (San Simeon), countless
KOA Kampgrounds with amusement features like paddle boats and
waterslides… we stopped frequently and we stopped long, taking, if I
recall correctly, a few weeks to wind our way down and back, with an
extra few days set aside, of course, for our primary destination, our
Emerald City… Disneyland.
My family did a lot of road trips while I was growing up, and we did
a lot of camping, but this particular trip stands out among the other
memories, in part, I think, because it was such a long trip, and we saw
so much, but also because it was just so perfectly familial in
a way that was almost indulgent. We stopped at every playground and
amusement park we saw, we bought silly souvenirs, we had dessert with
every meal… it was a vacation of play, an adventure of
play, and my parents threw themselves into it as wholeheartedly as my
sister and I did. It’s one of my very fondest memories of them, of us,
of my childhood. And I would love, LOVE, to do it again.
My dream family vacation, then, would be to retrace the route of
that road trip with my own family. Stop at all the same stops, see all
the same things (to the extent that that’s still possible), be silly in
the same way. Maybe not camping – I doubt that all those KOA’s are
still there, although who knows – or maybe in an RV a little bigger
than our cramped 70’s camper, but still: the same road trip, more or
less, over the same route, with the same destination: Disneyland. A
nostalgic journey for me; a memory-creating journey for my children.
(We would totally detour to Palm Springs, though. I fell madly in love with Palm Springs when California Tourism invited me there this past spring. LOVE. And there is no better place for silly souvenirs, so. That’ll be a must-stop.)
It’s not going to happen anytime soon – we don’t live in Vancouver
anymore, and we don’t have an RV, and taking three week’s vacation
isn’t easy – but I’ve got my fingers crossed that someday, while my
children are still very young, we’ll do this.
I can dream, can’t I?
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Cross-posted at The Bad Moms Club.