There’s nothing quite like traveling with your dad. To be sure, questionable decision-making and eye-rolling jokes will be frequent – not to mention the utter refusal to ask for directions. But one day you’ll look back on those trips with nothing but fond memories. Here’s a few reminisces about traveling with dear old dad, from our staff in the United States and England:
Stormy sailing in Florida
After decades of storage at my grandparents’ home in central Florida, a 25-foot sailboat dubbed “The Happy Day” was ours. I was 8 years old. Years of drydock had left the boat in a questionable state of seaworthiness, but it floated. My father hatched a plan for its quasi-inaugural voyage: to sail down the St Johns River, doubling back along the coast to Titusville. We set off, sailing past alligator-lined shores and streets named after citrus trees. South of St Augustine, a squall arose. I was throttled by a child-sized life jacket and tucked below deck as rain lashed at the windows. Dad was above deck, tacking toward safer waters. I asked my mother if we were about to die, and she said, “We’re fine, Sweetie. Your father lives for this stuff.” Through the window, I caught a glimpse of my father, a dripping smile across his face.
Alexander Howard – Senior Editor, Homepage & Interests
The sweet sound of inspiration
Bells. It's what my father brought me as a souvenir from every trip when I was a child. Small, ceramic, musical bells. I had a dozen, at least, when he built a handmade shelf to house them. Every night before I fell asleep, I'd admire the bells and the places they represented. I'd dream of traveling the world to see all the places he had seen. The bells were reminders that we live in a big, big world. It was the first experience of wanderlust I can remember. My father, and the bells he brought as gifts, eventually inspired me to travel the world and experience all the good this life has to offer.
Nicole Love – Lead Product Designer
Dad reflexes in Switzerland
I was sixteen, and our family holiday that year was to Switzerland. We aren't a skiing family, but we decided to try our hand at a local tobogganing route. Dad headed down first ahead of Mum and I so he could video what was sure to be our pure delight. What he hadn't anticipated was that we were less adept at braking than he was. We came hurtling towards him at breakneck speed. Mum managed an epic roll into a snow drift, but I continued to careen toward Dad – fear and panic in my eyes. Dropping his camera, he managed to yank me off my toboggan, saving his youngest offspring. My ride finished the course halfway up a pine tree. Our next trip to Switzerland was in the summer.
Lottie Bell – Key Account Manager
Everyday adventures in England
My grandfather was an airline pilot in the 1950s and his career allowed him to fly his young sons to places that seemed impossibly exciting to kids born in Britain at the close of WWII: California, Hawaii, Australia, India, Japan, Hong Kong. Yet, in the way that children often rebel against their upbringing, my dad John decided he was all travelled out by the time his own children came along. Where I felt frustration to rarely leave the sleepy village I grew up in on the south coast of England, now, as a father myself, I appreciate the great imagination he put into celebrating smaller experiences instead: adventurous, happy swims against mountainous waves; hunting for strange mini-beasts in rock pools; and taking to fantastical skies in the aircraft he intricately sculpted for my sister and me from the grey sands of home.
Peter Grunert – Group Editor, Magazines
The real Las Vegas experience
As a youngster in the early '90s I road-tripped across the US with my family. My cautious grandad, or Pa as he's known, liked to schedule every detail in advance, except when it came to Las Vegas. He'd visited before and was confident we'd find a great room with no trouble. Of course, that weekend Vegas was hosting several massive events and was fully booked. We drove onwards, seeing many No Vacancy signs on the way. Eventually, in Boulder City, a motel offered us the only room available – the 'penthouse suite' – a grotty apartment with a broken door handle. That night I refused to go to sleep until Dad and Pa had blocked the front door shut with all the available furniture in the apartment. My heroes.
Claire Naylor – Digital Editor
An eye-opening stroll in Belfast
I’d grown up hearing endless stories of my dad’s childhood in Belfast. I thought I knew it all: the size of his tiny home; the close-knit nature of his neighbourhood; and even the details of his favourite fry up. Yet it wasn’t until I was aged 24 that it all came to life. My dad and I strolled down his old street and stopped outside his house. My word, it was smaller than I’d dreamed possible. Over the next couple of hours, I watched my father turn back into a boy as he wandered the streets, memories he’d long since forgotten flooding back to the fore. I even heard new stories of his youth from elderly neighbours who came out to say a long-lost hello. And before the afternoon was out we had popped into Beatties Fish & Chips around the corner. I instinctively ordered without looking at the menu.
Matt Phillips – Digital Editor
Whatever it takes to get to Disney World
When I was around 7 or 8, my family decided to take a trip to Walt Disney World. Instead of paying to fly us all to Orlando, my parents figured the cheaper option was to drive, so one night we all piled in the minivan to sleep while my dad pulled an all-nighter to drive to Florida. About two hours into an 11-hour drive, we first woke up to find the van stopped underneath the bright yellow sign of a Waffle House – my dad was inside drinking a cup of coffee and eating an egg sandwich. The more coffee he drank, the more we’d need to stop, and the later it got into the night, the more coffee he needed to stay awake. As the night wore on, this became a routine – we’d take a short nap and wake up to the bright lights of a Waffle House and my dad drinking a cup of coffee and eating an egg sandwich. We probably stopped at 10 different Waffle Houses on our journey.
Laura Brown – Director of Strategy, LP Ventures
Simple memories in rural Alabama
“Come out here, girls, I have something to show you!” I rolled my eyes at Jessie, “Ten bucks it’s the moon.” We hopped off the L-shaped bunk beds in the single-wide trailer spray-painted to match the woods. Our hunting camp, 27 minutes outside Monroeville, Alabama, was hidden on a red dirt driveway marked only by the mailbox labeled “Copperhead Rd.” That night we traded ghost stories and boy stories after forgoing the linoleum tub for the water hose, rinsing the river out of our hair. We cared more about bare feet and chasing fireflies than getting clean – a luxury of the weekend in Rocky Hill. Jessie laughed and wagered my bet as we pushed through the screen door outside. My dad pointed at the sky … “Look at the moon.”
Ashton Guy – Content Manager, LP Ventures
Less is more in Spain
‘Eat when you can’ and ‘go where you know’ are travel-isms I’ve carried with me my entire adult life, coined by a man with his share of travel mishaps: my dad. Perhaps the most disastrous and memorable of them all was our family’s road trip through Spain in 2007. Our ambitious itinerary had us driving from Madrid to Toledo to Granada to Córdoba to Seville and back – in 6 days. This attempt to see and do it all meant we were arriving at dusk in each city, usually lost, tired and hungry. After a rash of misfortune, including missing our time slot at the Alhambra when our hotel was literally at its doorstep, my dad reached his breaking point in Córdoba. Over dinner at a restaurant, he shouted an obscenity resembling ‘Forget Córdoba!’ We skipped the Mezquita and headed straight for Seville to avoid a similar fate in what would become our favorite Spanish city. Our road trip took a pleasant turn at that point, when we arrived in daylight to our lovely courtyard hotel in Seville and later witnessed the beautiful flamenco at La Casa del Flamenco.
Nicole Williams – Senior Editor, Digital Sponsored Content
- Learning as you go: American family adventures
- Then and now: why family travel’s never been better
- Three family-friendly road trips in the USA