Saturday, June 15, 2013

Travel Traditions

My parents met working for American Airlines, subsequently, I was raised as an "airline baby" and had more stamps in my passport by the age of 9 than some do in a lifetime. Michael has family in both Washington state and Illinois and was no stranger to the open road. With a history like that it's no wonder that we both love to travel. We are both also plagued with the love of the "knick knack" and can wipe out a souvenir stand if left unchecked. To remedy this habit and to start a fun family tradition of our own, we started the practice of sending a postcard home while away on our travels.

This tradition has become something that both of us truly love. We always remember to purchase stamps before leaving for our destination and keeping an eye out for the perfect postcard is a great way to peruse the gift shop without loosing our wallet. We always write the card to ourselves together-each picking an especially fun vacation event to document. Not only do these postcards give us something fun to look forward to once we've returned home and our vacation high is on the wane, it also serves as an instant reminder of where we've been and what we've done.

We have postcards from our 1st Anniversary trip to Chicago-we used a leftover "Save the Date" from our wedding as the postcard. Since the first anniversary gift is paper it also served as our present to each other. The hotel serendipitously gave away our room and was forced to give us the Penthouse sweet at no extra charge and my parents ordered a fancy breakfast for us as a surprise anniversary present. We took a pedi-taxi to pick up Indian food to go and ate it our our private rooftop balcony that had a spectacular view of the Chicago skyline. Just looking at that postcard floods me with memories. No tchotchke could ever take its place.

We also remember to honor this tradition even when we don't feel especially celebratory; like the postcard we sent to ourselves while in Poulsbo, Washington. We were visiting Michael's mother during the last months of her life. When we returned to this little city to make arrangements for her funeral, we both felt a palpable difference in the quaint Norwegian town. Susan had once owned a house just a few streets down from the heart of the city and it felt like the town was somehow aware that such a vibrant light had gone out.

Oh course, the good times make keeping this small tradition even sweeter. Like when we returned to Mexico three years after our honeymoon to take a lovely week in an all inclusive resort to celebrate our "luna de bebe". I could only have drinks "sin alcohol" but waddling around in a bikini with an enormous belly and lounging poolside with an ocean view was the perfect way to prepare for the sleepless nights ahead.

I hope someday to have a box full of postcards and a whole mess of kids to regale with adventure stories from our travels as a young couple and growing family. Traditions are the ties that bind. What traditions does your family keep?

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