This week’s childhood family travel memories interview is with Stephanie from Consistently Curious. Road trip adventures (both the real experiences and the bogus stories written in lodging guest books by her father) shaped her love of road trips and off-the-beaten-path adventures with her own family.
You can find more childhood family travel stories, as well as our family travel goal stories here.
A bit about Stephanie:
Stephanie traded the whirlwind of the sales and marketing world for the cyclone of full-time motherhood. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, she is always on the lookout for unique experiences, adventures, and family outings.
She wants to inspire the same love of travel in her daughter which she herself developed at an early age. She started her family travel blog to document their journeys and to inspire others to make lasting memories.
What kind of travel experiences did your family do growing up?
As a big family, our travel experiences were always road trips. Hitting the highway at all hours of the morning and night, with the hope to be at our destination at a reasonable hour the next day. I loved to pack my bag with goodies for the road, follow along on a map as we traveled, and anticipate our next pull off. Endless games of “I Spy” and spontaneous sing-alongs were a staple, along with random, but always exciting stops at roadside attractions.
How has your family travel experiences growing up affected where or how you travel now?
The memories I made while traveling with my family were invaluable. To this day, we gather around the table laughing about the good times had and wild adventures that we experienced. Travel not only brought us closer together as a family, but also taught us important lessons or life skills. I wanted my daughter to have the same phenomenal experiences we did, and more. Travel is a way of life in our household. Incorporating curious travel into our itineraries ensures that unique adventures are had, and that there is never a dull moment.
How has your family travel experiences growing up influenced your or your family’s travel goals today?
The travel experiences I had as a child inspired my drive to travel frequently with my family today. We never had the opportunity to travel abroad as children, but, I hope to give my daughter the opportunity to experience more of the world.
What travel habits did your family have that you still do? What do you do differently?
We were notorious last minute packers, a ‘skill’ that I still have to this day. The night before we head out, I am furiously throwing things into a suitcase, and somehow manage to have everything I need plus spares for others. The one thing I do differently is I research every location, attraction, and restaurant before we go. I want to ensure we are making the most out of every minute of our vacation.
What are childhood travel memories stand out the most for you?
My dad loved writing bogus travel stories in the guest books of the places at which we stayed. He would fabricate tales that would have us laughing to the brink of tears. One of my favorites was his fictional ‘black onyx spider’ that was ‘found’ in our cabin – he made sure to warn future guests to look out for it!
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?
I have revisited a few of our past travel spots, namely Gatlinburg, Tennessee. As Mid-Westerners, we made the seemingly mandatory yearly pilgrimage there, and revisiting always brings back floods of fond memories. The area has become more of a commercial tourist destination, with more attractions than ever before. As an adult, I see a sea of endless entertainment opportunities for my child, but yet, I want to experience the less-traveled ends of the Smoky Mountains as well.
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?
Do not let having children hinder your travels – all it takes is creative thinking, and most importantly, flexibility. You have to learn to roll with it, whatever ‘it’ is. Traveling teaches us things that can’t be taught in a classroom or by reading a book. Even babies learn through experiencing new surroundings, new smells, sights, and sounds. Travel with children is not impossible, just different. My childhood travels sparked a love of learning, adventure, and curiosity.
Tell us more about your blog. Where can people find it, and how can they follow it on social media?
The Consistently Curious Blog is a travel blog for families and travelers looking for unusual, peculiar, and noteworthy places to explore. Our focus is on families traveling with children that are curious about the world around them. We also spotlight hidden gems that cross our path during our travels.