Today I’m feeling wistful for the happy summers of my youth. Those carefree days of running through sprinklers in the front yard of my childhood home, wearing a hand-me-down swimsuit from one of my sisters, pieces of wet grass stuck between my toes. The sunny days of eating Popsicles on burning cement sidewalks, hot ridges of concrete patterns imprinting on the back of my legs, watching forlornly as fallen chunks of Popsicle melted in the gutter.
I roamed the neighborhood freely, safely, with a huge pack of childhood friends through the whole of the 80’s. We slouched in and out of every home on the block, slamming screen doors behind us on our quest for the best snacks, toys, and trampolines we could find.
Every summer, (every. single. summer) inbetween running wild with my pack of cronies, my parents hauled the lot of us off on a 2-week family vacation. We never stayed in hotels or even motels, we camped, as a family 0f 10 all over the western United Sates and Canada for a solid 14 days, usually smack dab in the middle of July.
My mother spent weeks preparing food, planning meals, and packing our powder blue 11-passenger van to the gills. Both parents took time off work, and way back when in the time of no cellphones or laptops, we had a solid 2 weeks of uninterrupted summertime bliss.
I hiked the Grand Canyon, kayaked through Glacier National Park, shelled and collected sea glass up and down the beaches of California, was sprayed with ocean mist whale watching in Monterey, played with bubbles at The Exploratorium in San Francisco, and ate dutch oven meals for weeks inbetween endless games of cards and Monopoly with my siblings.
I’m pretty sure my thirst for travel came early in life, and my love for uninterrupted family time and spontaneous fun was definitely born early in the happy summers of my youth.