I come from a long time of travelers. As far back as written records go, my ancestors loved to travel: from Germany to the United States and then throughout the United States and back into other countries before coming home again.
Hopefully some of our journeys can inspire you in creating memorable family treks of your own.
Some of our family favorites are Namesake Trips, Foreign Lands in Domestic Places and our Big and Unusual Journeys.
A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
Proverbs 22:1 (NIV)
Namesake Trips are trips you take as a family to visit cities that have the same name as a member of your family. For our family, one journey was to Hayden, Arizona, a small suburb of Phoenix that has the same middle name as our son, Andrew. With our daughter, Kayleigh, we have had many options of places to visit that have her same middle name “Elizabeth” such as Elizabeth City, North Carolina and Elizabeth, Illinois or Elizabeth, Colorado to name a few.
Namesake Trips have a few family guidelines for our family. The spelling has to be exact; even though I have been tempted to steer journeys in favor of visiting the “windy city” (Chicago, Illinois) in honor of my name, Wendy, which means “wanderer”. The name of the city to visit can be the same as your first, middle or last name. The journey can be worldwide. If you have a uniquely spelled name – like our daughters, Kaile and Kayleigh, both pronounced “Kaylee” – exceptions can be made to visit a street with the same name such as “Kaile Lane” in Escondido, California.
We have even planned a variation of a Namesake Trip for our family, scheduled for the year Kayleigh turns 10, to visit Scotland and Ireland to see Ceili dancing (Ireland) and then Ceilidh dancing (Scotland) in their traditional settings in honor of our daughters’ common name and pronunciation, Kayleigh and Kaile.
By searching out same-name places, we are showing our children firsthand that a great name really is to be desired both in people and in vacationing spots, and we are not only honoring our children in the present but giving them a connection to something began in the past.
Foreign Lands in Domestic Places
May He give the blessing [He gave to] Abraham to you and your descendants with you, that you may inherit the land He gave to Abraham, in which you are a sojourner.
Genesis 28:4 (AMP)
Foreign Lands in Domestic Places
These trips involve visiting places locally that have the same name as cities abroad that one day you would like to visit as a family.
For example, although you may not be able to visit Paris, France this year, the trip to Paris, Texas or Paris, Kentucky may be manageable for your group. Although the Parisian sites vary from city to city, your family will enjoy sipping lattes and eating croissants together regardless of what city of Paris you are in.
Your imagination is the only thing that is limiting on these trip as you can take “props” like art canvases and paint with you as you and your family paint landscape scenes in Venice, Florida (instead of Venice, Italy) or you search out souvenir windmills from Holland, Michigan as you visit their annual Tulip Festival or ask the locals where the best bratwurst is in Frankfurt, Kentucky instead of Frankfurt, Germany.
Making ourselves, a sojourner, or a stranger, in a domestic land lets us show our children more of God’s awesome promises to us of giving us blessings: including the blessings of travel, home and each other, regardless of where we are in life.
Big and Unusual Journeys
I am as a wonder and surprise to many, but You are my strong refuge.
Psalm 71:7 (AMP)
As the name implies these family journeys involve traveling to and seeing the sites normally not seen. Some examples are the many places that feature the “World’s Largest Things” (www.worldslargestthings.com), or catching up to the Traveling Roadside Attraction and Museum called the World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things as it moves throughout various cities in the United States featuring miniature versions of the World’s Largest Things.
From the “World’s Tallest Man” in Alton, Illinois, a life-size tribute to Robert Wadlow, a native son of Alton, who was 8 feet 11.1 inches tall at the time of his death to the “World’s Largest Can of Fruit Cocktail” in Sunnydale, California, Big and Unusual Journeys are definitely journeys that our family and yours can remember fondly for a lifetime.
If you don’t know where to start in creating Big and Unusual Journeys, our family has had wonderful help and received useful information from Kathy Weiser, owner and editor of Legends of America (www.legendsofamerica.com) to plan trips to see ghost towns, discover more about historical people, and investigate folklore and legends across the United States and into Canada.
Some times as Mom/Dad we cringe thinking about traveling in a car “that long” with kids, or we anticipate every possible scenario imaginable of “what can go wrong, will go wrong”, and we miss out on the journeys because we avoid them or put them off to inevitably there is no time left and our children are grown and on their own.
I love to use this quote by Babs Hoffman to combat any obstacles to traveling with my family:
Stop worrying about the potholes in the road
and enjoy the journey.
So whether you fly, drive, sail, travel by rail, or hike a trail, family trips are fundamentally fun and half the fun is just getting there. Family journeys are foundational to leaving a lasting legacy as your children and grandchildren remember “the trip when…”
Wendy Stewart-Hamilton possesses a strong need to take family road trips and enjoys visiting the roads not normally taken to see unique things. Her family journeys include adventures across the majority of the 50 states and into several other countries. You may reach Wendy at Wendy@InspiredMoms.com