Friday, May 25, 2012

In the waiting area at dance tonight, I sat listening to all the moms talking about the summer vacations they had planned, what beach condo they would be lounging at, the timeshare that the in-laws had.  Destin, Hilton Head, The Outer Banks.  They would fly their families of 5, of course.  Who could imagine driving all that way?  I love the beach, and I was surprised that the conversation didn't leave me yearning for that first glimpse of the ocean between the beach houses on my dear Garden City Beach.

Instead, as I sat listening to their plans, I was happy.  I'm happy that it is not financially feasible to fly our family and rent a van for our travels.  I'm thankful that we cannot spend the money to vacation in 5 star resorts.  If we could, we might.  And if we did, we'd miss out on something worth so much more than saved travel time.  

To me, the family vacation is a travel altogether different.  For my family, vacations mean oil changes, alignment checks, and rotating tires.  They mean packing a cooler full of lunch and a crate full of snacks.  Family vacations are movies in the car, random roadside attractions, and about two dozen bathroom breaks.  It's about broadening horizons and getting to know God's world a tiny bit better. Family vacations are about the feeling of adventure as you pull out of the driveway, wonder at changing topography, and contentment as you pull back into town, exhausted but happy.  

Our family travels have never been glamourous.  We've explored the Oregon coast in an afternoon road trip before a business conference in Portland, tent camped in Rocky Mountain National Park, shared a home on the sandy beaches with five other families, and experienced the charm of Wisconsin's thumb.  

This summer, while my fellow dance moms are boarding their planes, I'll be wearing giant sunglasses, riding shotgun through the Amber Waves of Grain.  As they check into their hotels, I'll be pitching our ten person tent at the foot of sand dunes in Colorado.  I'll spend days sledding down sandy hills (who knew you could do that?!?) and nights making dinner on a camp stove.  We'll drive south to New Mexico, Land of Enchantment, and visit Native American Pueblos, Spanish Missions, and historic churches.  We'll hike.  If we feel like it, we'll pack up camp and trek through the Lone Star State and visit the Alamo, the San Antonio Riverwalk, and the Fort Worth Stock Yards.  It may not be swanky, and we surely won't be pampered along the way, but we will be sure to find adventure together, and for us, that is what family vacations are all about.