This week’s childhood family travel memories interview is with Kim from Oh My! Omaha. Her stories of road tripping around the US have clearly impacted her family’s travel experiences today.
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A bit about Kim:
I’m a wife and mother who’s always planning the next trip. I love the outdoors, trying new foods, and I’m an off-and-on runner. I’m the Director of Marketing and Public Relations at a children’s museum, and keep myself busy writing for the blog and other print publication. I’ve published one book.
What kind of travel experiences did your family do growing up?
Most of our trips were long road trips, at least, the most memorable ones were. We’d pack into the conversion van, bring VHS tapes for the VCR and a book or two, and that would entertain us until we reached our first stop. My parents would plan stops for landmarks (my dad) and shopping (my mom).
How has your family travel experiences growing up affected where or how you travel now?
I absolutely love planning long road trips. There’s a thrill for me finding a unique restaurant to visit or a hidden gem of an attraction that’s along our route. Of course, doing these long road trips also makes me self-aware that I’m impatient and if there’s an affordable way to fly to my destination, I’ll consider that first.
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How has your family travel experiences growing up influenced your or your family’s travel goals today?
My family traveled a lot when I was young, and I still love having a few trips in the works. If I haven’t been out of town for a few weeks, I get a little anxious. I plan just a day trip out of Omaha just to satisfy the travel bug.
What travel habits did your family have that you still do? What do you do differently?
We used to stop at whatever landmark or attraction a city was known for, and I still do love finding the touristy things along the route. If we stopped at a national park or beautiful vista, it would only be briefly for a picture and then we’d move on. I love natural beauty, so as I plan trips now, I leave us more time to get outside and enjoy it.
What are childhood travel memories stand out the most for you?
I remember our longest road trips. Not so much every stop, but I remember how endless the drive from Omaha to Quebec was. We drove it in the winter, stopping at Notre Dame and Lake Placid. My parents probably intended to do something at each stop but it was so cold, we took pictures and then hopped back in the van.
Have you revisited as an adult any places that you first visited as a child? How was the experience different for you as an adult?
Yes, several places in the Midwest! We used to canoe every year down the Niobrara from the time I was about 8 until I was 25. It took another 10 years to go back, this time, with my kids. Nothing much had changed – the long drive out to Valentine, Neb., felt the same, the bus to the canoe launch was the same, the scenery was the same. We drove on from Valentine to another familiar old family road trip destination – Mount Rushmore. We stopped to a lot more things than I ever got to do as a kid on that trip! More outdoor time, that’s for sure.
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?
I suppose I joke about not having iPhones and iPads back in the old days. Technology helps for long road trips or flights. My kids are still a little young, so we haven’t discussed the differences too much yet.
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 as a child has been an integral part who I became. I think some people feel like you have to have these grand adventures abroad in order to have a life-changing experience, but that’s not true. All the little trips we took, along with the big ones we on, showed me there’s so much to see in the world, and it starts right in our backyard. I wouldn’t trade that early experience for anything.
Tell us more about your blog. Where can people find it, and how can they follow it on social media?
I’ve been writing Oh My! Omaha for more than five years, a blog that explores Omaha and beyond. It’s geared toward parents looking for things to do with and without their kids. My travels are primarily Midwestern, with quite a bit of coastal adventures in the mix. You can follow me at @ohmyomaha on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
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