My parents were always so wonderful about taking my brothers and sisters and I on vacation. There are FIVE kids in my family, so transporting all of us across the country was no small task, but my parents really prioritized vacations, and looking back as an adult, I’m so grateful for it! My parents loved the beach, so we always traveled south to Florida, AND my dad loved to fish, so almost every year, we headed way up north in our 12-passenger van, towing the family boat behind us, fishing poles tucked in next to suitcases and bug spray.
Sometimes we’d travel alone, but more often we’d go with a bunch of other friends and family, a long caravan of minivans, sporting CB radios (this was way before any kind of texting existed — we probably didn’t even have cell phones with us, for serious…). We’d drive and drive and drive, hit the US/Canadian border, and drive some more. You could always find Canadian currency in our piggy banks growing up, because we loved shopping at the little souvenir shops in the tiny Canadian towns we passed. I could tell you story after hilarious story from our Canada trips! There was the time when black bears ran through our camp and climbed onto someone’s cabin roof, attracted to the smell of bacon. There were about twenty-five of us kids hanging around the docks and jumping in the lake, waiting in line to go tubing, screaming when leeches stuck to our toes. The resort we stayed at was less than glamorous (and it’s definitely closed down now haha!), but I remember the silence, the gorgeous beauty, the musty smell of the cabins, and staying up late playing Phase 10 or Silly Rummy. We always took turns waking up early to go fishing with my dad (and he definitely remembers my fish stories better than I do)… one time, out on the lake at 6am, I caught two fish on the same lure — I reeled my pole in and there were two fish, hanging from both hooks on the same lure! Of course we didn’t have a camera, but I’ll never forget the sound of my dad, laughing in the middle of that giant Canadian lake.
So now, when we take our kids up north, it’s a little surreal. We still try to go with my family — whoever can go, between work and school. We haven’t been to Canada for years, but we love northern Minnesota, and this year, we stayed on an island in the middle of Pelican Lake! What a crazy dream! The lake is in the middle of a state forest, so we were surrounded by so much gorgeous nature. There were bald eagles nesting on our island, we heard wolves howling one night, and the lake was just so incredibly peaceful and quiet (although we had plenty of little kids along with us to make up for the lack of noise haha!). Our kids fished, tubed, explored the island (in spite of the poison ivy!), played at the beach, took boat rides, and basically just had the time of their lives! I won’t lie — there were seventeen of us in one house (!!!), and things got a little loud at times! But it was just a beautiful, fun, incredible vacation, and I’m so grateful we got to spend a week together in the middle of nowhere. (Towards the end of the week, my sisters and mom and I took a boat ride across the lake to a tiny coffee shop, and spent awhile chatting with the sweet owner. Afterwards, we were like, “Wow… totally forgot what it was like to have a conversation with someone in the outside world!” Haha!)
We’re not shutting the books on summer just yet, but now we’re transitioning to the school year and our fall wedding season! Summer 2019 was a memorable one for sure :)