As many of you are aware from reading my blog posts or knowing me in day to day life, family is incredibly important to me. In fact I have been brought up with the values that family should always come number one above everything else (including a partner in this). Which is why I jumped at the chance to have Allison Gygi Travels write a guest blog post for my Travel is series….
Thank you, Elle, for allowing me to talk about what travel means to me. My name is Allison and I am the creator of Allison Gygi Travels– a blog that aims to inspire and encourage parents, especially moms, to embrace exploration both near their homes and far away. I grew up in a cute little suburb of Seattle, Washington but now I have traded the greenery and mountains for the freezing winters and flat landscapes of the Midwest.
For me, travel brings my family together. My husband and I decided to make travel a priority in 2016. This decision came after enduring a four month separation while he was at a military training. During this time, we were going through a pretty rocky reintegration period. I don’t normally like to think back about that time because for months, there were many days that I wasn’t sure if our marriage would even make it. We’ve always been very different people. I’m an introvert who craves her alone time. He’s a talker who just wanted to spend time with his wife when he got home from work. Obviously, the differences don’t stop there but we don’t have to go into all the details. While he was gone, though I missed him, I got used to being without him. Routines are important to me. The kids and I formed our own routine and because he was absent from it for so long, it didn’t involve him. The transition to making him a part of the schedule was tumultuous at best and downright awful at worst. Something had to change.
We traveled to Disney World for a week to take a break from the pressures of being home. So many memories were made on that trip. Of course, Disney is always magical. This was not our first trip to a Disney park. But something was different about that trip. Maybe it’s because we had just come off a hard separation. Maybe it’s because we were struggling to reintegrate. But without the pressures we were feeling at home, we were able to remember that we actually liked being together. That trip helped us to forget about the troubles we were having back home and form a new bond. To start a new chapter together as a family. It was soon after that trip that we decided to make traveling as a family a priority.
I can’t say that life at our house is always blissful. I don’t think any family is happy all the time. However, over the three plus years of traveling together, I can honestly say that we have grown closer. It’s not always easy. Traveling with young children is stressful and difficult. Not every moment on the road is pleasant. Our middle child is not an easy traveler. Sometimes the idea of traveling with him gives me as much anxiety as plane rides give him. But we always find a way to make it work. And the wonderful experiences we have and the memories we make far outweigh the unpleasant moments.
Travel does more than just bring my immediate family together. I am the youngest of five children. Though we have close relationships with one another, we all live in different parts of the United States. Rarely are we all together at the same time. In order for us to see each other, we have to travel. I love when my brothers come to Chicago on business trips. Or when I travel somewhere to see my sisters.
This summer, all five of us kids and our families traveled to Washington State, where we grew up. Along with our parents, we rented a large house in the mountains for a week long family reunion. The memories we all made together because of that trip will last a lifetime. I still look at the pictures and smile. Several of us were going through some difficult challenges and rekindling those familial bonds with one another helped ease some of the burdens that many of us were facing.
A few months later, my sisters and I met up in Europe for a week long girls trip without our husbands and kids. That trip is at the top of my list of favorite travel memories. And not just because it was a week without my kids. There’s something about reconnecting over shared experiences like hiking in the alps or zip lining down a mountain.
Reconnecting and strengthening those familial relationships is so important to me. Living far away from family can be difficult at times. And though we can’t see each other as often as we’d like, travel makes it possible for us all to keep our familial relationships strong.
If you loved Allison’s post as much as I did please drop a comment below and let us know what travel means to you.