Family travel is complicated. And sometimes fun.
The Little House in the Rocky Mountains
I still remember how it felt, when I was 5 years old and we’d make the 10-hr drive through the winding highways of the Rocky Mountains. For some reason when I think back to that drive, I always remember it during winter, and at night. I guess because those times we did make the drive during the winter months were the most memorable. The sky-scraping mountains covered in pearlescent white snow; the thick sea of evergreens capped with fresh powder; the “S” shaped road constantly twisting and turning, our suburban hugging the side of the mountain, a sheer drop toward the valley on the other side. Sometimes I would nod off so the drive would pass by faster, other times it would snow and I would be wide awake. I may have been young but I was keenly aware of the times I’d heard my parents talk about the fatal crashes that happened on the icy Trans-Canada Highway. The breathtaking scenery, the adrenaline rush of traveling at 100+km/hr halfway up the side of a mountain. It was all part of the journey. Of my favourite journey, the one that went home.
The Train, the Tagebuch, the Ticket
She said I needed it and I should go. “Three weeks,” she’d told me. “Three weeks, and see what happens? It’s been only a month since your Dad passed, and you need to get away.”
Childhood Town - Ecuador
One upon a time, at the age of 5 I stepped for the first time in Ecuadorian Land. As a US foreigner and a child, I did not know what to expect so as soon as I arrived to my new home in Cuenca, Ecuador, I remember feeling happy, excited and magical. The world was free.
The Lunch That Got Away
Dad’s harebrained scheme to drive across the northern half of the U.S. with naught but a Cracker Barrel map hit Mom’s every nerve, especially the ones directly linked to her intense bouts of “hanger.” Whether it be the gallon of grease that goes into the food, the gift shop filled with middle-class white people buying things middle-class white people don’t need, or the humor he found in the general cloud of despair he knew fell on Mom each time the gravel crunched as we pulled up to what I am sure for her will become purgatory after this life, Dad loved Cracker Barrel with a ravenous passion. Fear not, Dear Reader, for Dad is still alive and well, but our final Cracker Barrel experience left him forever changed, and we have yet to set foot in a Cracker Barrel again these 20 years later. Picture, if you will, the look on the face of a man who wistfully imagines his first love, the perpetual “one that got away.” Cracker Barrel is my father’s long legged, blonde bombshell with brains to boot. Unfortunately for him, she most certainly got away.
Istanbul is a city that has been in the hearts and minds of people for thousands of years. Throughout the history, many wars were fought to defend it and many attempts were made to conquer it. But I think the bond I have with the city goes beyond the rich history or the beautiful nature of it.
Brockport, New York
What can I say about my little upstate town in western New York? I was born and raised in Brockport and raised my children here. I don’t believe I’ve ever understood the value of this little hidden gem, before now. This historical little storybook college town nestled along the Erie Canal looks like a scene out of the movies. Its Victorian buildings give it the charm of something magical.
The Gulf Coast will forever be my home. My hometown vibes are full of fun, peace and relaxation. Whenever heading back home from a road trip, those green FL signs on the highway always make me smile. I’ve never been a fan of cold weather, so starting over and moving to FL made total sense. Although it’s not where I actually grew up as a child, it’s where I grew up as a young adult. There’s always something to check out or get into throughout the year. Call me corny but I love being able to tell people, “I live where you vacation.” Ha! Here are a few visuals of my hometown vibes along the Florida Gulf Coast.
Following My Father: San Francisco
While I was not still following my parents, and not living with them, there are two more years I want to tell you about when I still attended City College.
What Makes Smethport, PA Great
Hamlin Lake Smethport, Pennsylvania My 1997 Graduation Picture From Smethport Jr. Sr. High School Smethport, PA What can I say about Smethport, Pennsylvania? Well, its a very small town in Northeastern Pennsylvania near Erie, PA and Bradford, Pa and 2 hours south of Buffalo, NY. I was raised in this beautiful quaint town in a farming community part called Farmers Valley, PA as my paternal great grandparents, my paternal grandparents, my paternal uncle and aunt and my parents all lived there since the early 1900's and my father and my uncle and my cousin still live right beside each other. My maternal grandparents lived in the town of Smethport. I was raised there with my 4 siblings Heather, Kathleen, Colleen and Thomas Jr. and my parents Thomas Sr. and Noressa (my mother passed away in 2018) my father was a supervisor for the local gas company and my mother was a secretary for the local refinery (the refinery was first oil company, then made a piece for thermostats and now International Waxes which makes the wax for a popular candle company). My siblings and I attended Farmers Valley Elementary School in Farmers Valley until I was in 3rd grade and the new Smethport Elementary school was established in 1988 if my memory serves me correctly and my whole family and my paternal grandfather a janitor (in the 1970's) at Smethport Area Jr. Sr. High School, we were known as the Smethport Hubbers, as we were the wheel hub (hence HUBbers) of the region and other towns were the spokes of the wheel of the region. Our town of Smethport is very proud of are athletic sports and the athletes of SAHS and my family was in sports from the 1950's to 2005 and I, myself, was in Girls Golf, Weightlifting Club and Track n Field (field events) this town though is most proud of the Smethport High School Football Team. Whats around our little town? Our courthouse (pictured) was first established in 1807, however, it burnt down 3 times the current courthouse has been there since 1942 and has luckily has not burned down. There was a famous case in the 1800's about Ralph Crossmire that is now making this Pennsylvania's 6th most haunted place at the old Smethport Jail which was behind this courthouse, he had killed his parents, got tried but before sentencing he hung himself in the jail and promised to haunt the old jail forever, its now a museum with ghost tours. The other famous place of Smethport is the former Christmas Store (now a different business) but it was so loved by the community it had the best Christmas items! We have a lake? Yes, it is called Hamlin Lake! It's the beauty that makes Smethport! (pictured) My maternal grandparents had their house near the lake and it was great going to the park and have picnics! There are also, so many great churches in the community and they are so helpful to the community! There is sparcity to job availability unless you travel to your job for 30 minutes or more and most people do travel for their jobs. But that's the least of the spectacle of Smethport, they have the best restaurants, especially what is called The Tasty Freeze which has been there since the 50's and still loved for its hoagies, french fries, sundaes and milkshakes, its been a staple for people living there and traveling through. One last thing that's great is we have the McKean County Fair and its the most joyous time and great activities to see and participate in especially the Monster Truck Show, Racing and Amusement Rides and our great farming animals! I best not forget to mention and pay homage t0 Smethport's Wolly Willy!! This is what makes Smethport, PA so great to travel to or live in and I now live in Grand Island, NY but I really miss my hometown and the great things about it, especially the people who live there, its like a hometown family!
My Hometown Legacy
Just like everyone else, their hometown has special meaning to them, for me…it is and always will be my heart and soul. It is not only where my whole existence started but where my family legacy will always be. You see, my mother made history in our small town. She ran for political office and became the first woman to become a city official in our town and actually made the Congressional Records when she passed away.
The nightmare of an elderly person flying with IBERIA
I want to tell this story because I hope by sharing it we can help to avoid other families to face such nightmare in the future. We are originally from Costa Rica, a family of 5 (mom, dad and 3 kids jajaja) Due to worked I was relocated to Europe 2 years ago. After the sudden passing of my mom in 2020 we decided that will be good for my Dad to come and spend sometime with me and my daughter here.
Home Is Where The Heart Is
We as humans take so much for granted. I hate to start this out negatively, but I do not mean it negatively; I mean it nostalgically. I grew up in the beautiful country of Germany. My dad was in the Army for longer than I have been alive, and that is where he met the love of his life. Luckily, my dad was in a position where he could choose his work assignment, and I got to spend most of my childhood over there, and one year in New Jersey and two other years in the lovely country of Italy. I have been in the United States for sixteen years now, from Washington State, Idaho, California and now Illinois but Germany seems like yesterday and nothing compares.