Over several summers when I was young, my mother, Peggy Amante, packed her kids in a van and traveled across the United States. We usually were heading to one of the coasts, sightseeing and camping the whole way. I didn’t appreciate those trips much at the time, but looking back on them as an adult, I realize what great experiences they were.
Another experience that took a bit of time to appreciate was a Colorado River raft trip through the Grand Canyon with my mom, several siblings, and friends. We all were quite miserable on the river because the Grand Canyon had record-setting rain that week, and everything was soaked and cold all day every day – leaky tents, sleeping bags, clothes, luggage. On the second-to-last day we got sun, and our group scored an awesome beach to spend the last night on. We spread out our belongings and bodies over huge boulders to dry out for hours, then that evening toasted ourselves for hanging in through all the rain. We still laugh and tell stories about that trip.
My international travels have been to the Czech Republic, Italy, and Canada. My sister and I visited my brother Stephen and sister-in-law Sharise in Prague about a year and a half after the Czech Republic became an independent state. From there we took the train to Venice, then ventured out to Florence, Siena, Assisi, Rome, and Milan, and spent a gorgeous couple of days at Lake Como at the end of our trip.
After my husband and I had kids, we made it a tradition to pick somewhere new every summer for a family vacation. We’ve been to: Big Bend National Park in Texas; the Badlands, Crazy Horse Memorial, and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota; Disney World in Florida; and to Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, Tennessee, and Washington State. We’ve also been to Niagara Falls on the Canadian side, and did a cruise to Mexico.
Although most of my travels have been in the United States, I would love to visit more countries. When we retire, my husband and I plan to travel more and see places we have yet to explore!