For me, nurturing my love of travel and my desire to travel began early. So early, I don’t remember most of my first three trips, but I have heard the stories, saw the pictures and I know my parents gave me a priceless gift. The gift of travel. Although the photos have faded over time, they are still great reminders of a time gone by.
My parents adopted both my brother and me as infants, with him two years before me. My parents could not have children of their own and always felt we were a gift to them. In truth, they were a gift to us. We always knew we were adopted and we always knew we were loved. My parents may not have biologically given us life, but more importantly they taught us how to live. Dad and Mom taught us so much and gave us so much. One of the greatest things they gave us was the love to travel and explore.
Every year from 1967-1981 my parents took us on a road trip to different places in the United States and even to Canada a few times. We would pack up the car, and off we would go. My Dad, Elmer did the driving while my Mom, Celine did the navigating and tried to keep us kids entertained. A couple of years, Mom’s sister and our cousin went with us. Another one of Mom’s sisters and her husband joined us another year. Regardless of who was in the car, it was always a great time!
Mom would sing and we would sing along. I even remember Mom yodeling for us!! We would play car bingo, alphabet games, I spy, and even keep track of how many license plates we saw from different states. My brother kept track of how many trains we saw and would even count the cars on the train! Sometimes Dad played along, but usually he was content to just drive and listen to us! I can still see Dad driving with a slightly amused smile on his face and Mom laughing. When times got desperate, Mom always had something or other in her purse for us, such as lemon drops, anise candy, and rootbeer barrels. Seemed like such a treat back then!
Traveling has always been happy times for me and I will be forever grateful that my parents took me on these trips. Memories are a great gift. Even though Mom’s been gone since 1985 and Dad since 1996, I think of them each trip I am on and am thankful for their inspiration in nurturing a love of travel in me!