This week’s childhood family travel memories interview is with Ashley from Timeout in Paradise. Special beach vacation memories with her father who passed away at a young age created a lasting imprint on her and her family’s travel experiences.
You can find more childhood family travel stories, as well as our family travel goal stories here.
A bit about Ashley:
I’m Ashley Clark, a stay-at-home mom from the Midwest. Before I stayed home with my 3 little kiddos (ages 8, 6 and 4), I was CPA. I love to research and plan travel…almost as much as I love to do the actual traveling! At any given time, most of the tabs open in my web browser are research for our next trip (or some dream trip that we’re working toward!)
What kind of travel experiences did your family do growing up?
My travel experiences as a kid consisted of beach getaways – road tripping it the whole way there. Almost all of our family vacations were to the tiny, quaint island of Dauphin Island, Alabama, where we rented a beach house!
How has your family travel experiences growing up affected where or how you travel now?
My family took road trips growing up (always to the beach!), but my husband refuses to travel farther than 4 hours in a car, so now we always fly. I don’t mind flying since Missouri is quite a drive from most of our travel destinations! When we discuss upcoming vacations we always throw in a big city, an adventurous locale (as adventurous as you can get with 3 small children) or a mountain lodge…but thus far, we always end up on a sunny beach – I blame my parents for making me a wanderlust who can’t say no to a sandy seashore!
How has your family travel experiences growing up influenced your or your family’s travel goals today?
Most of my childhood memories are from family vacations; I lost my father to Leukemia when I was 16, and I’m so very thankful for those many treasured family vacation memories! Those memories don’t include anything extravagant…just time spent with each other in the places that we loved! Today, our family travel goals are pretty flexible – we’ll go anywhere with warmth and beautiful scenery as long as we’re together. I hope our kiddos will one day say “I blame my parents for making me a wanderlust!”
What are childhood travel memories stand out the most for you?
My childhood travel memories are all simple moments in time. My very first memory is of the first time I went in the ocean – my parents picked me up each time a wave came in…until that one time they were chatting and forgot and the wave tossed me around! I remember being completely let down the first time I went in a tunnel under a bay – my 8 year old self thought it’d be some sort of glass aquarium type structure where I’d see a dolphin swimming next to our car. I remember my dad almost falling on the floor laughing when he realized I thought oil derricks just off shore pumped salt into the water…because you don’t find oil derricks in lakes, so obviously the only explanation is that they’re making salt water, right?
But my clearest childhood vacation memory is of watching my dad reel in a huge fish on a deep sea fishing excursion. I watched from the couch inside the boat because I was near death from 4 hours of sea sickness, but the look of excitement on his face, and knowing he was able to check something off his bucket list, made all that puking worth it!
If you have children, what do you tell them about your family travels growing up were different than now? What do they think is most interesting about the differences?
When I tell my children that as a child I had to ride in a car for 15 hours to get to our vacation spot they act like I’ve just told them that I walked, barefoot, for 3 days to get there. They’re used to a 3 hour max car ride, so anything beyond that is unfathomable to them! When I try to explain to them that many times we travel for more than 15 hours, it’s just broken up by sitting in the airport and on the plane, they just can’t seem to see the similarities. If I ever bring up a road trip I get a huge sigh that’s quickly followed by a unanimous “no” from everyone! They don’t know what they’re missing.
What would you tell people who are parents right now about how your experience of childhood travel (or lack of experience) has impacted your life?
Traveling with children isn’t always easy (sometimes it’s a struggle), but it is always worth it. It’s worth the super early mornings because kids don’t easily adjust to distant time zones. It’s worth the exhausted temper tantrums after a long day in the sun. It’s worth the 14th trip to the lavatory on a 2 hour flight. It’s worth the 47 piles of laundry when you return home. It’s all worth it when your kids beg you to return…when you haven’t even left to go home yet. All the memories your children will keep and the experiences your children will have make it all worth it!
Tell us more about your blog. Where can people find it, and how can they follow it on social media?
Our blog is Timeout in Paradise, which we started last year after spending hours on the phone with our friends, neighbors and family helping them make their dream travel plans an affordable reality. We’ve always loved traveling, and haven’t let our increasing family size decrease our travel plans – we can do a Timeout in Paradise, just as easily as we can do one at home! Traveling as a family of 5, though, can be very expensive, so we sought out ways to make it affordable! You can follow along on our journey to affordable family travel, and check out all of our tips and tricks to making family travel a little easier on our website www.timeoutinparadise.com – or you can follow us on Social Media: Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/timeoutinparadiseblog) or Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/timeoutinparadise).