By Renee Williams
Traveling is fun! Although our family has some travel tales of woe to tell like Third Degree Sunburns, Four Flight Delays in Denver and the hilarious Grandma is a Beach tale (Happy Mother’s Day, Mom), I’ll tell you some of my most precious memories have been traveling with my family, especially with my boys Zakk and Dylan.
While I was growing up, we traveled the East coast frequently. A lot of these trips were made in my mom’s 1978 Pontiac Firebird, complete with a CB radio, t-tops and no seat belts. My mom has always reminded me of a cross between Dolly Parton and Sally Field so hitting the open road with her felt liberating and like a whole lot of girl power to me. We were renegades. We were free. We got out of the doldrums, blew away a few cobwebs and had fun.
My dad was also passionate about traveling and living life to the fullest and if he wasn’t romancing my mom in Lake Tahoe or Las Vegas, he would crank up the Winnebago at home and off we would go. We went to football games in Athens, Ga., (Go Dawgs!) amusement parks in the Carolinas and to the beaches and sporting events in Daytona, Fla.
So I guess you could say spending quality time with my family and traveling has always been my love language. Taking a vacation and exploring places together as a family allows me time to give my full, undivided attention to my children and feel a deeper connection with our shared experiences.
I’m no Lewis or Clark, but I am a straight up pioneer of this great country and so far have been to 31 states since I became a mom. We have taken a 20 hour road trip to the Grand Canyon National Park and another 20 hour road trip to snow sled and ice fish in Fargo, North Dakota. We have taken a helicopter ride over the Atlantic Ocean, walked in Memphis on Beale Street, stayed at Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel, explored the Caverns of Sonora in Texas, water tubed in the Concho River Valley and zip lined in the Appalachian mountains.
We’ve listened to ghost stories around the campfire in the Blue Ridge mountains, watched fireworks in the soybean fields of Ohio, caught a small town parade in Iowa, visited Dealey Plaza where John F. Kennedy was assassinated, attended a Sunday school class taught by former President Jimmy Carter, visited sand dunes in Michigan and drove through a blizzard in Indiana.
We’ve had “real Mexican food” in New Mexico, tried cheese curd in Wisconsin, rescued a puppy in Mississippi, visited a record store in Minnesota and picked up a refrigerator magnet off Route 66 in Arizona.
As a family, we are over half way there and it seems we have nothing to do now but check those last few states off the list and become Kings and Queen of the Road.
If I had my way, our family would become globe trotters. We would travel from London to Rome and see the wonders of the world because two types of journeys occur during travel. There is the outer journey that describes the physical experience of travel: where you went, what you saw and what you did and the inner journey that defines your interpretation of the experience: what you learned, how it changed your perspective on life and what you found out about yourself along the way.
Travel is a chance to unwind, unload and change the scene. It’s the small silent call of your soul to become free, to throw open the windows and let in la vie en rose.
Over the next few months, go, play, see and let your imagination be your inner guide. And, as Audrey Hepburn said, “Paris is always a good idea.”
This article appears in the May/June 2017 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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