Some of my earliest, fondest memories come from Up North at my grandpa’s cabin. Our whole family would make the 7 hour drive and we’d spend time playing in the woods, swimming in the lakes, sitting around the bon-fire, and listening to grandpa tell stories about Bigfoot. I remember one time we arrived, the last ones (some things never change, haha), and everyone was sitting outside. My aunt had found a fallen tree, or something like that, they had cut the trunk into circles, and she was painting pictures for us on them. I couln’t get out of the car to give my hugs fast enough. The excitement of arriving still feels so vivid…. at the same time, the deep sadness and emptiness as we pulled away for the long ride home does too.
I think it was the freedom, the beauty, and the peace combined with constant play-time with my cousins. Also, my grandpa loved it up there and I loved my grandpa. One time in particular, he wanted to build a little bridge over the river in the back. When everyone else went to play, I decided to stay back and help grandpa with the bridge. Afterwards, I remember laying on my stomach, arms dangling into the flowing water underneath, and feeling really happy. I’ve been blessed with the most excellent grandparents (on both sides).
Over the years, I took many mini-trips with my grandpa and grandma. We’d drive in grandpa’s F150 with the mini camper built onto the truckbed and find somewhere to stay at. His love for the mountains and the outdoors, combined with my love for the car-rides with them, listening to grandma read or sing along the way, and the time we’d spend together hiking around, cooking dinner, sitting around the fire, and then piling into the back of the truck to sleep, I think really formed a large part of why I am the way that I am.
When I was in middle school, my parents, my sister, myself, and my grandparents rented a big UV and took a 4 week trip out west. Pretty much my entire childhood was spent outside with my entire family, and I have to think that these memories and experiences are the reason I have such a connection to the mountains and the great outdoors in general.
My entire travels thus far have been guided by nature, trying to see and take in as many wonders as it has to offer. I have loved every moment, from the frustrating to the breath-taking, but, as invigorating as it has always been seeing new parts of this world, the one void that won’t go away is not having my family here at my side. So often I find myself in utter awe and wishing more than anything that my grandpa, grandma, uncles, aunts, and/or cousins were right there next to me. That said, thank God for Skype.
This blog is meant to share virtually with my family and friends the landscapes, wonders, and experiences I wish we were sharing in person.