Always Exploring

Like many, I love to explore. Whether I’m going for a walk in the woods or driving home from work, I take the scenic route whenever possible. I want to discover new places and different paths; I’m always hoping to find things most people don’t get to see. My favorite thing to do with my kids is to explore local forest preserves and state parks. We will always take the path less traveled (within reasonable driving distance!), and I owe this sense of adventure to my Dad.

When I was a kid our family summer vacation was always somewhere unique; we never visited the same place twice. We would pile into the school-bus orange 1978 VW Vanagon, and simply head out across the country. The trip was always an adventure of some kind, from crab fishing on Chincoteague Island to horseback riding in the mountains of Alberta, Canada. Our Walkmans provided the soundtrack to the miles and miles of new sights, and we read library books as the sun set. I loved falling asleep to the hum of the road.

It never dawned on me that my dad did everything for these trips: the organization and preparation it took to map our routes, his carefully planned stops—not to mention all the driving he did! Two weeks vacation, every year, each of the days with an itinerary that we followed almost to the hour. All done without the internet.

Today, like my father before me, I plan our family adventures. My “planning” is usually done the night before as I sit in front of the television, using my smartphone to Google our different options and routes. The next morning we pack some sandwiches, make sure everyone’s devices are charged for the ride, and head out for the day.

Until I sat down to write this, I’d never even thought about how he came up with these trips or have I asked how he made it all happen year after year. Wow.

Thanks, Dad.