My earliest traveling memory is of being on a train to Orlando – I think I was about 7. My parents had bought me a book of horse stickers which I tried to make amuse me for the whole time. It didn’t work. I wished I had a lot more horse stickers.
I also remember visiting some distant relation – great-aunt, if I’m not mistaken, who lived in a housing complex with a pool. I don’t actually remember any of the amusement parks from that visit. I do remember, though, refusing to eat anything but hot dogs for most of the trip. For years afterwards, I didn’t eat or enjoy hot dogs. It was a hot dog overload.
I remember a lot more from my Orlando trip in 7th grade. I remember going on Rock-n-Roller Coaster at MGM, and seeing penguins behind the scenes at Sea World (unless that was the other trip? My memory isn’t working right).
I remember eating Krispy Kreme donuts straight from the oven for the first time right next to our time share. I remember taking a riding lesson in which someone else cooled down and untacked the horse for me (an utterly foreign concept to me, it made me feel weird and I wondered if that was how rich people ride).
We took regular family vacations when I was a child. Of course, there were at-least-yearly trips to visit my grandparents in Williamsburg and Warrenton (later, they moved to Culpeper). At some point we started going to the Outer Banks of North Carolina every summer. We also often went to Ocean City, Maryland.
I even took vacations with other people’s families – actually the first time I went to the Outer Banks and Ocean City were with friends’ families.
My early family vacations are definitely fond memories for me. I grew up in a place where driving an hour and a half to go to the nearest movie theater was no big deal, so vacations were just kind of an extension of everyday life (or, every weekend life). I barely thought of them as travel, unless we were going as far away as Florida.
I’m guessing that has fueled my desire to travel. After all, for me, traveling was just what you did pretty often. Sure, it was all in the US, and all on the East Coast, and pretty much limited only to Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. But it gave me a good sense of adventure and wanting to be on the road.
Nowadays, though, I eat more than just hot dogs.
Did you enjoy your family vacations? Tell me about your favorite in the comments!