My four siblings and I have been on numerous family vacations we will never forget. As my parents plan each vacation I am sure they envision picturesque moments as enjoying each other’s company, participating in deep conversations during the car ride, or dining on the beach at sunset. Much to my parents’ disappointment, these scenarios do not describe any past vacations. In reality, we each want to listen to different music, debate over the temperature of the car, and wonder aloud, “How much longer?!” Not exactly the qualities of a dream vacation.
Recently, my family traveled to Colorado where we met my Grandpa, his wife, and my uncle. One afternoon we decided to go on a hike that was classified as “easy to moderate.” We were then faced with many obstacles along this “moderate” hike. First of all, the hike was on the side of a cliff – my mom is deathly afraid of heights. Also, due to a car accident, my uncle walks with a limp and finds it difficult to walk for extended amounts of time. We all struggled on the constant inclines and slick terrain, grabbing branches to pull ourselves up and praying that we didn’t lose our already shaky footing. Three hours into the hike, we were lost. My grandpa and youngest brother took the lead while the rest of the group lagged behind, drenched in sweat with empty water bottles. About the time we were wondering if we should start eating berries and build a shelter we found a highway. We followed the road –in the rain, while semi trucks blazed past– until we found our starting point. We then piled into the car, soaking wet and exhausted.
Very few of my vacation memories are picture perfect. But then again, what defines perfection? Does perfection even exist?
I have grown up listening to my dad tell vacation stories from his childhood: Forgetting to hitch the camper to the truck. Burning toilet paper for warmth in the woods. Falling out of coconut trees. Being a thrill seeker, my grandpa decided to purchase a sail boat and circumnavigate the globe. Most of the stories retold are unfortunate tall tales.
I have come to discover that every family has their own adventuresome vacation story. We find it funny to hear about the vacation toils of others yet cringe when we recall our own epic tales. We’ve all been on a Chevy Chase like vacation. You know, the ones that make you ask, “Am I really related to these people?”
It has taken some time for me to realize that life is not perfect and even longer to appreciate my family vacations. You probably won’t hear these stories retold by a travel agent. But I have come to treasure the time spent with my family. It is for this reason that I believe some of the best memories are created at the most inopportune moments.
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