There are some hats I enjoy wearing more than others.  One of my favorite hats to wear is family travel agent. My love for traveling started as a young child.  Every summer my parents packed our family station wagon for a road trip either to the East or West Coast.  The road trip usually lasted two weeks and included many visits to the homes of family and friends.  Mornings meant waking up just enough to move from the bed I slept in to the back of the station wagon.  Those were the days when seatbelts weren’t mandatory and a 2-inch foam pad softened the folded down seats enough that my sister and I could continue our dreams for a few more hours while Mom and Dad piloted us towards our next stop.

As I entered high school, I actually explored the idea of becoming a travel agent or flight attendant. By then I realized the subjects in my school textbooks were much more interesting if I had visited, or planned to visit, the specific place, but my family’s trips weren’t as diverse. My sister’s move to the San Francisco Bay Area resulted in my parents and I flying out to see her instead of other places. I didn’t mind, but wanted to see other places too.

As a college student, I continued visiting Pam so I could ski at the Lake Tahoe resorts. Plus I was a college student, and what college student doesn’t want to save some money by not having to pay for a hotel or much food during Spring Break? Later when I met Todd, he had not traveled much, but wanted to.  I happily put on my travel agent hat and planned our honeymoon in the Bay Area and Lake Tahoe.  Even then I knew I wanted to travel with our future children, and he agreed.  Once we did have children, we didn’t travel much right away, but when the girls both entered school, I started my career as family travel agent.

Our family’s mode of travel differs; sometimes it’s by plane other times by car.  The manner by which we make a decision for a destination differs too, but usually it involves a chance to visit with friends and family.  I’m thankful Todd trusted me to handle the travel arrangements for our first road trip, as I’m not sure he would have chosen to stay with my aunts, uncles and cousins.  Now, however, he’s good with that.  How can he not be?  Home-cooked meals, Sorry games that end up lasting two nights, and lots of laughs are just some of the benefits. (And yes, it’s saves us some money.)

Ali now keeps a map of the United States on her wall with gold stars for places we’ve visited.  The past two trips, she’s been my assistant travel agent, researching landmarks to see and touristy-spots to visit. It’s been interesting to hear her comment, “I want to see…” when we’re watching a movie or tv show, or hear her ask about visiting more relatives spread across the United States. As our daughters grow, I’m glad we have the opportunity to travel. Not only do I know it helps develop their sense of place, but I see them connect to my large extended family.  Oh and yeah, it also allows me to follow that not-forgotten career of travel agent.

Thanks to my long-time friend and now fellow blogger, who reminded me of this hat.  Check out her blog at http://relationallyyours.blogspot.com/

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