When you hear the word travel your mind may immediately go to exotic, beautiful, adventurous places: Bora Bora, Paris, Australia... Well, when I hear the world travel the first thing that pops into mind is visiting my family. Living on the West Coast while our immediate and extended family lives on the East Coast causes us to travel back East at least three to four times a year. I've lived in California for 8 years now & the trek to get back home to Upstate New York is as long as it takes to fly from LA to Australia... No joke.
Start the day up at 6am, get to LAX 1.5 hours early (remember people, I have a baby here), first flight to Chicago or Charlotte or Atlanta can be anywhere from 4-5 hours. Layovers now have nothing less than a 3 hour stretch, second flight is about 1.5-2.5 hours, then we land to get baggage and a rental car only to be met with an hour drive to the tiny, little town we call home, Geneva, NY, at 11pm.
It's a 14 hour day and doing it with a baby three times now has been an adventure all right.
I don't know what it feels like to think about a holiday and not immediately think of making this trip. I wonder at the people who live near their parents and have the luxury of not only NOT traveling so far to see them, but possibly dropping their infant off if they need to run an errand or have a date night. I can't imagine my world looking like that and I think a lot of LA transplants like myself can understand where I'm coming from.
Travel to me means seeing family. As long and far as this trip is, it's all worth it though. Growing up spending summer's in Upstate NY where my mom had to make this same trek from Northern California to Geneva my entire youth was the most amazing experience a kid could ask for. Summer's on the lake, the 4th of July spent watching fireworks from the boat and getting to experience all the amazing things a small town has to offer has shaped who I am today.
And so, when I think of the word travel, and what it means to me, I count myself lucky for being able to make this trip 3-4 times a year; to be afforded the opportunity to see our family, have them hold their first grandchild, and spend time where I grew up with my new growing family.
As my mom pointed out, "It's not called a vacation when you go see your family, it's called a trip." Today I am thankful for these trips that have been more meaningful than any travel I could ever take.