This week’s childhood family travel memories interview is with Shanna from There and Back Again Family Travel. Childhood adventure travel and road trips paved the way for a lifetime of travel with her kids today.
You can find more childhood family travel stories, as well as our family travel goal stories, here.
A bit about Shanna:
I have two kiddos and a husband. We live in a small Midwestern town in a house that we built with our own hands. I love to grow food to eat in my ever-expanding garden. We believe strongly that sharing travel with our kids is beneficial to the in SO many ways. I write about our travel adventures on my blog called There and Back Again Family Travel (http://www.thereandbackagantravel.com).
What kind of travel experiences did your family do growing up?
Growing up, traveling was an important part of our family life. We took one big trip each summer. I remember a lot of road trips in the US, particularly towards the western half of the country. We camped out more than staying in hotels. We would load up the family station wagon and drive over a few days to our destination. There were many National Parks included in these memories as well as other popular sights.
As I got older, my dad took me on more adventurous trips such as mountain biking in Moab, Utah and backpacking Isle Royale on Lake Superior. These formative trips are the basis for the travel addiction that I have today!
How has your family travel experiences growing up affected where or how you travel now?
Because of all of the summer trips that I did growing up, I could not imagine my life without travel. I have a burning desire to see the world and an intense need to take advantage of every single little scrap of vacation time at my disposal. This also means that we don’t generally take relaxing vacations. We want to see as much as possible because time is limited (this frantic pace has slowed a little bit since having kids).
How has your family travel experiences growing up influenced your or your family’s travel goals today?
I get so frustrated when people ask me why we travel with our kids. “But they won’t remember it” is something that I hear too much. I cannot imagine not taking the kids on most of our adventures, and they have come to look forward to the next trip almost as much as we do.
My husband and I both traveled a lot growing up, and these early experiences have shifted our thinking away from “How can we take a vacation from our kids?” to “Where can we go that we will all enjoy and learn together as as a family?”
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What travel habits did your family have that you still do? What do you do differently?
We still take active, adventurous trips. The trips that I took growing up were busy and filled with activities, and this is still the primary way that we travel today.
The increased availability of flights (and a little help from having a job with an airline) means that we have taken more international trips than domestic ones. We also take fewer road trips and do less camping than when I grew up (though I miss it and feel like we are missing out in some ways. We both visited a lot of national parks growing up, and we are looking forward to starting to explore more of them as the kids get older).
What are childhood travel memories stand out the most for you?
I remember a lot of trips from when I was little. Yellowstone made an impression on me. I remember the geysers and the bubbling, stinky mud pools. I remember having to wait for the buffalo to cross the road. I don’t remember the huge crowds that are norm in the big national parks now. I don’t know if that will change the way my kids remember the national parks when we visit them or not.
I also remember strongly my dad taking me on a week long backpacking trip to Isle Royale National Park when I was a teenager. The memories of the ferry ride over and of sleeping outside amidst moose and wolves and foxes are still quite vivid. At the end of the trip, we took a fishing trip where I caught a HUGE lake trout.
What would you tell people who are parents right now about how your experience of childhood travel has impacted your life?
In my experience, travel is a family legacy that is often passed on from generation to generation. My parents took me places when I was little because they had grown up going on similar adventures. Your investment in traveling with your children will benefit their development as well as possibly inspiring them someday to have some big adventures with their own kids.
Tell us more about your blog. Where can people find it, and how can they follow it on social media?
There are so much bland, generic travel writing on the internet and I hate reading it. I try really hard to focus on the details that you need to plan your family travel adventure and to write something that you can’t find on every other travel blog out there. My blog is There and Back Again Family Travel (http://www.thereandbackagaintravel.com). On social media I am most active on Pinterest (and I ONLY pin travel stuff)…you can follow me here (https://www.pinterest.com/thereandbackmn/). I also hang out on Facebook here (https://www.facebook.com/thereandbackmn)