Friday, March 21, 2014

Trips! (Friday Five)

"Last week and this week, I am driving long distances in Texas, first to Houston and today to Austin from Corpus Christi: both times to meet relatives from Canada flying here. This makes me think of trips taken in my life: vacation, moving, visiting relatives, visiting friends, seeking a new home, going away to school, and probably many more.
For today’s Friday Five, tell about five different trips you have made in your life due to different reasons, modes of travel, or whatever category you choose!
Happy and safe travels!"

So many trips . . .
Five favorites:
My grandmother always wanted to travel.  My grandfather would not board planes or boats.  Eventually, my grandmother found a solution: she would travel with her grandchildren.  As the eldest, I received the first invitation: five days in Williamsburg, when I was in fifth grade, reached by overnight train from Cincinnati.  Over the next several years, she would take me out west and to Europe, my brother to Africa, and various cousins to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.  But honestly, much as I love to travel, one of my favorite travel memories involves standing in my grandmother's dining room and opening the elegant envelope which contained her handwritten note requesting the pleasure of my company in Williamsburg!
One or my favorite family trips was our own jaunt out west, to the Tetons and Yellowstone, a near-replica of the journey I had made with my grandmother decades earlier.  We went with another family; the son was Josh's best friend.  Upsides: the scenery, the nights in grand lodges,  the hikes and the horseback riding.  Downside: a couple of days of freezing drizzle, days we spent on horses and in a raft ~ weather which I was assured they had not seen in Yellowstone in August for 25 years!  Great success: I introduced a curious Ben, age 12, to birding.  Today he is finishing his Ph.D. in ecology at Chicago, has traveled the world himself as an ornithologist, and has, with a group of colleagues, published a finding of a new Peruvian species!  I take full credit for his career, which began on a trail on a sunny morning in the Grand Tetons.
In 2000, we took a family trip to Italy.  We thought we might have one international trip in us, and Italy was our children's choice of destination.  Among favorite moments: standing outside the Colosseum in Rome, trying to figure out how to get back to our hotel, and Matt saying, "How can we possibly be lost?  We are standing in one of the best-known places on the globe!"  The entire week was marvelous, but we especially loved the Cinque Terre.  And Pompeii, which had held a major spot in my imagination since the National Geographic article when I was a child, and is the setting for the stories in the kids' middle school Latin textbook.
It turned out that we were to spend another ten family days in Europe ~ Christmas in France when the boys were in 11th grade and Josh spent the year there.  In Rennes, we got to know his French family a bit; in Paris, we made it to a concert of Gregorian chant in Notre Dame.  The joy of that trip was watching Josh, by that time reasonably fluent in conversational French and entirely comfortable with life in a new country.
Only one more?  I think I'll choose Prince Edward Island, where my daughter and I went for her high school graduation trip.  A dream destination: home to Anne of Green Gables, lovely little harbor towns, beautiful beaches and dunes, and a seemingly endless stream of lighthouses.  We quickly developed an affinity for evening drives in search of sunsets over the water.  Best of all, of course, was the uninterrupted time with my beautiful girl, who is an excellent companion in all circumstances.  It was an opportunity to replay my times with my grandmother in reverse!


  1. Great trips! I like your grandmother's "solution" to her problem. What fun for you and the other grandchildren. (Today's FF is from Jan, not Julia.)

  2. Friends of mine, former parishioners, have a cabin on Prince Edward Island. They love it there and have great stories to tell. That's a great story about Ben and his vocation! The trajectory of one's life sometimes spins on just one small event....

  3. Love all the journeys you share here, and the glimpses of special times (like chasing sunsets over water). It is wonderful when our memory can get so specific to feed us a unique piece of our own history. Thanks so much for sharing your travel joys.

  4. My mom and I did PEI, too. It remains a favorite.