Memories That Travel

 In Weekly Forum Discussion, Writer in Residence

Written by: Collette Cottingham; Creatively Hip

I remember every one of my childhood vacations. I remember the bad things that happened with fondness. In the moment they were not pleasant. Today those memories are the ones I look back and laugh about…getting the camper stuck on a dead-end road, mom losing the camera, throwing up all the way to Yellowstone and swimming at night in a pool only to discover in the daylight it was full of slime.

There was no internet back then. I know my parents didn’t use a travel agent. How did they plan these extravagant vacations? I wonder if they even made hotel reservations or did we just find a hotel when the drivers got tired?

Either way, each year we took a memorable vacation filled with lots of activities, museums, historical sites and theme parks. Our family travels took us all over the western United States and Canada.

My favorite vacation was to the ocean. From the moment I arrived, the mighty Pacific Ocean spoke to me. I ran straight from the car around the house to the ocean. The second I saw the blue ocean I froze. The Pacific was so majestic. I was in awe. I felt comfortable, peaceful, calm, safe, and home. It was like I had spent my whole short life trying to get there.

I spent every glorious day on the sandy beaches of Lincoln City, Oregon, which at the time was a small oceanside community. I do not remember eating.

I built a city of sandcastles, wrote in the sand, swam in the ocean, ran along the shore and rolled myself up in the warmth of the sand. I found rocks and sand dollars. I played with my siblings and we didn’t fight! We got along.

I remember a trip filled with laughter and fun. It was the one vacation I didn’t get sunburned.

As an adult, I use this vacation as an example of how I want my vacations to be, not perfect, but relaxing. I still enjoy museums, theme parks and historical sites. For this reason, I plan two events a year.

I first plan a trip that is filled with lots of walking, museums, historical sights and theme parks. Next, I plan a vacation filled with self-care. A place by the ocean where the only scheduled event is to relax.

Once I see the ocean I am there in a state of peace and relaxation. The ocean is a place where I find an inner relaxation. When I am mentally relaxed then I am able to truly rest and reset.

I come back from my vacations mentally and physically rested, something I truly need. It is a weight-lifting experience to check out from the world for a while. A journey I look forward to every year.

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