Growing up in the Pacific Northwest affordable me a lot of opportunities to have a seriously fun childhood.
Think, barefoot, going everywhere my feet or my bike would take me – and my parents would let me.
My home growing up was right alongside a river which stretched one way under train tracks and up to where my high school was and the other way up past the town park and through the rest of town. Cottonwood trees and blackberries flanked the landscape. Summer time was always met with mountain snow melting filling the river, which then all of my neighborhood friends and I would float. The rest of our days would be spent wandering up to the park and back, picking blackberries off the vines and either eating them, if you were my friends, or using them to write on the sidewalk, if you were me.
Being outdoors was like breathing for me, and it still is. The freedom and beauty and awe of nature and creation still holds so much wonder for me. To be able to get outdoors, to see new sites and to take in the beauty of the landscape or the history of it is mesmerizing.
As I grew up our family started to travel outside of Washington State and I really started to fall in love with not only travel but the beauty that existed outside of what I had always known. We camped all over the state of Washington, drove all over Mt. Rainier and visited Mt. St. Helens, Portland, California, KOA campgrounds in Montana, summers in Connecticut with extended family, and even a cruise to Mexico and a trip to Canada as a teen.
And, like I’m sure a lot of us, as a teen there were moments of traveling with my family that were so much fun, but there were times I was just a grumpy teen, in the back of a minivan. But I look back on those moments now and realize how fortunate I was to be able to experience the world outside of my narrow vision. To learn histories I would have never otherwise known. To visit places that I had read about in books — or places that had inspired books!
My last big opportunities to travel were to England when I turned 18, Nashville in my early twenties and then Arizona in 2009 before I made it my home.
Travel and experiences are still high on my priority list, but this time it’s not just for my sake, but so that my children can know about this world and all that’s in it. So that their view is never narrow and they know that not only is this a big amazing world, but that life is so much more than things accumulated and very much about memories. My childhood taught me that and so much more.
I’d love to hear a little bit about something you love and cherish from your childhood — will you share with me in the comments?