Summer is almost here! Although the astronomical summer begins on June 21st with the summer solstice, in most towns across America it begins the day school finally lets out. For us, that will be June 18th. Our boys are counting down to this date with the enthusiasm and excitement of a NASA launch crew awaiting lift off. I cannot blame them. Summer is a wonderfully special time for children. Summer is a chance for them to enjoy the outdoors free from the confines of the classroom with rules, responsibilities, and work. It is a chance to really be a kid. Once the real world of the working adult starts, summer vacation instantly vanishes. So, let them enjoy the moment now so then can cherish it later in life.
Unfortunately, for most of us career focused working adults, summer is a faded remembrance of the past. With bills to pay, the job must go on. As the dwarfs in Snow White sang, “I owe, I owe, so off to work we go!” Getting away from the real world for a time, however, is important. Reality is way over-rated anyway. We all need a chance to recharge our biological batteries, reset our brains, and take stock in what really is important in life, like family, friends, and health. After all, existing and living are two very different things.
With time and money perpetually in short supply, we are planning our summer getaway locally this season. We all want to go back and visit Europe or Central America to reconnect with friends, see familiar sites, and re-experience our favorite places, but this summer we are staying in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, which is an amazing place also. Not every vacation needs to be in exotic locations. We have written about week long trips down the Oregon coast and around the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State in previous posts, which you can read in our archives, but this time, we are taking a few day and weekend trips dispersed over the next two months.
I remember spending a lot of money on a deluxe first-class trip to Walt Disney World, Florida, several years ago for the family. We did the whole Mickey Mouse thing including staying at a resort, breakfast with the characters, all five theme parks, and tons of rides and attractions. We have literally dozens of pictures and souvenirs to prove that we were really there. Even though we had a great time while we were there, now that it is over, it is just one more memory, albeit extremely expensive one, in our boys’ childhood. Ironically, they more remember the times we have spent just doing simple things like fishing, hiking, playing on the beach, exploring new areas, and playing board games in the evenings. They remind me of the child who after Christmas morning is more thrilled with the box then the expensive toy that was in it.
Since we only have one more summer before our oldest, Aaron goes off to university somewhere, we want to savior the time as a family by re-connecting with our home. Since we have been internationally traveling for the last few years, our boys’ memories and connections with home have diminished. This is good and bad. Good because we feel comfortable that they are more globally thinking and un-intimidated by foreign experiences; bad because a home base provides a feeling of security and belonging. We have tried to give them both knowing that you will always be forced to sacrifice one for the other to a degree.
We plan to visit our old stomping grounds in no particular order. A few places we want to see are Victoria and Vancouver, Canada; Leavenworth, Grays Harbor, Seattle, and San Juan Islands, Washington; Eureka, San Francisco, Mt. Shasta, California; and Ashland, Oregon. So, stay tuned for updates on our travels as we hopefully visit each location. We will saddle up our travel trailer and head out like modern day pioneers!