I came to the conclusion that we all get our spirit of adventure in an honest way. My parents, who are now in their eighties and have been married for over 60 years, were putting on their adventure pants long before REI invented them. They were married in their early twenties and started off their life together with a three week driving adventure to Yellowstone, the Canadian Rockies, and Colorado. They made a big loop, taking their time and traveling in a mint green Buick. They have awesome pictures to remember the event and I have attached some of them.
They looked so Fifties, with my Mom’s rolled up jeans and Dad looked like James Dean. Extremely handsome and more importantly, they were both fun and adventurous. My Mom always said that they each gained 20 lbs (exaggeration also runs in the family) from eating so many potato chips and malts while on vacation.
They have never shied away from adventure and in fact embraced the unknown and unexpected when traveling. Mom and Dad have been to every state and most of them more than once over the years. They have been to China, Japan and rented an RV and took a driving trip around Australia. They took a cruise through the Panama Canal and drove the road to Hana in Hawaii. Even though they were farmers from Pierz, their world was very large. They are still active getting together with friends and going fishing and traveling with their RV. They just don’t go as far anymore.
Their lust to see the world goes way back. In 1947, Dad and his only brother and parents traveled out West through the mountains in a 1942 Plymouth. He did most of the driving, his brother read the maps and did the navigation, and his parents sat in the back seat – even though he was only 16 years old at the time and the mountain roads were gravel and narrow. You could not have paid me enough to sit in the back seat of a car while any of my 16 year olds had control of the car on Mountain roads. My grandparents had complete confidence in my dad and his abilities, and he lived up to their expectations.
He bragged when we were young that he got his driver’s license from the Postmaster in town when he was 12. The only test was the Postmaster asking him, if he could drive and he said “yes” and so he was given a license.
My grandparents also traveled a lot. When I was growing up they took driving vacations every year and sometimes flew to their destinations. They went to Florida and brought us back a letter holder that had flamingos on it and sea shells. My parents still have that letter holder. They also brought us a sea shell that they taught us to hold to our ear to hear the Ocean. I still have that sea shell.
My grandparents and parents gave us a gift. They showed us that travel is fun, that the world is a big and beautiful place and they taught us not to fear the unknown, but to embrace it. They taught us to use our time on this earth wisely and to never waste an opportunity to enjoy our time off. As simple as the lesson seems, so many struggle and worry about work more than it deserves. The work will get done. We are not here to work our lives away. Time is your most valuable commodity. Take control of your time and seize the moment to enjoy your life!