The memories made on and the stories generated from family vacations are some of our favorites.  Obviously, today's post is just the first of many on this topic.  Something refreshing and renewing happens when families spend time away from their own homes and routines.  Leaving home allows us to let go of the urgency to do, achieve, accomplish, fix, schedule, etc.  It gives us permission to check out of our reality and to give our minds, bodies, and spirits a rest.

locks on a fence in portland, Maine

old orchard beach, maine


The main reason I have always given for wanting to win the lottery--which I do not play--or to be rich--which I never will be--is to have the opportunity to travel the world.  I have always been a free spirit with a longing for adventure.  I crave adventure like I crave laughter.  I need adventure like I need laughter.

on the beach in maine

Over the last year, my cravings and needs must have hit an all-time high because I have managed to travel all the way up to Maine and all the way down to Florida.  Actually, I made it down to Florida twice!  And in between those trips, I traveled to Pennsylvania several times; Washington, D.C.; and clear out to Portland, Oregon--which was a blast.  (You can read about my top ten places to visit in Portland here.)  

And in just two days I head out West for THREE WEEKS with Tessa.  We will visit Colorado, Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah.  

I am not sure if this trip will at last satisfy my cravings or make them worse.  Either way, I intend to make the most of this time with my youngest before she heads off to college and I am left, for the first time in 38 years, home alone.  Well, technically, I will not be alone since I still will have six other people living in the house with me; but I will no longer be responsible for the daily care of one of my children.  Scary stuff.

We went to Maine last year to attend a family wedding.  A group of us stayed at the same campground, and just looking at the photos below, you know that a lot of stories came out of that trip.

family camp

family bingo

eno discovery


nothing like a campfire


Unlike my mom and my sister, I prefer to stay close to home.  For me, I love a good camping trip with a group of friends close to home.  But, this last week, we traveled to the Outer Banks with three other families (a total of 12 kids) to a fun three-story, seven- bedroom house.  Nothing says memories like creating meals with a group. Too bad in the craziness of those meals I didn't take any pictures.  

I love to just sit with friends and talk and laugh.  To watch the kids enjoy just playing.  Kayaking, playing pool, basketball, kite flying.  All activities that create a memory and plenty of laughs.  I didn't take a lot of pictures because I wanted to just enjoy the time with them not through a lens.  I noticed the phones and iPods were rarely seen. 

To see 11 kids over the age of 11 include and help the four-year-old made my heart happy.  Jett truly loved every minute with those big kids.  

I always want my kids to know the benefit of fellowshipping with others--especially families.  To work beside others and talk.  To share space and be considerate.  All while making memories that will last forever.  This year, the first of the twelve graduated and will be leaving for college.  Life will change, but they will have the memory of flying a kite at the beach with their friends.  And for me that is what life is about.  

I don't have any plans to travel the rest of the summer, but I do plan on many pool parties with friends where we can talk and eat and play cards, because that is when everyone is happiest.  

"I have found out that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them." ~Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer Abroad

I, like my mother, have always had a deep love and passion for travel.  It's in my blood. Last summer, my traveling came to an all time high with me having adventures in Florida, Maine, Kentucky, Colorado, Virginia, Oregon, and quite a few others; and this summer is shaping up to be even more packed with travel.  As you already know, we leave in a couple days for three weeks out West.  After that, I plan on going to Louisiana with my church; and when I return from there, I am dearly hoping I can fly out to San Diego for the next Socality conference .  You bet I have my fingers crossed about that one!

One of my favorite trips from last year took place in Colorado.   I flew out to Manitou Springs for worldview conference called Summit.  I lived with three hundred or so high school and college students all under one roof in a hippie town (and I'm not kidding when I say hippie) in the middle of the red-rocked Colorado hills for ten days.  


Every morning we (well, some of us anyways) woke up and hiked the mountain behind the building before breakfast and classes.  

When we were not hiking, we laughed and played card games and sung along to worship and pop songs for hours on end.    

We told stories and ate custard and even got henna tattoos on a whim.  Note to self: Henna tattoos in the rain results in you running through town with a paper bag over your arm yelling out random things about being the Hulk.  This is normal. I promise.

We climbed Pikes Peak, celebrated our feat with mediocre donuts, and got stuck in a snow storm on the way down.  Yes, I said snowstorm---in July.  Typical. 

And when I got on the plane to leave, I knew not only would I miss these people and that a part of my heart would be left in Colorado.  

The good news is that in just a few short days, my feet will be on those red rocks again.

 I'm coming for you Colorado (and the West in general)!

What about you?  Do you crave adventure?  Do you like to keep your travel close to home?  Do you have great stories to tell from your vacations?  This summer we plan on actually sharing some of our stories with you.  We hope you will share some of yours with us.  At the very least, we hope you will be inspired to remember your vacations through the art of storytelling with your families.