We are Shanna and Aaron + kiddos. We are a travel addicted family of four who love to escape at every possible opportunity. Just like you…we have jobs and we have limited vacation time available, so we know how important is it is to make the most of it.
When we travel, we love to focus on creating meaningful travel experiences that help us all learn about the world together and bring us closer as a family.
We feel strongly that travel is so important and beneficial for children, and that even at a very young age, those early travel experiences, the new sights, sounds, smells and tastes influence the delicate connections that are being formed so quickly in their brains.
We have never thought of whether or not we would take our kids with us on vacation…when the kids came, it was just assumed. It was never optional; it was just life. We took our son to France for a week before his first birthday.
Our Travel Journey:
Aaron and I grew up traveling the United States with our families.
I remember very fondly a trip backpacking in the National Parks in Utah. Being 12 and being in the bottom of the Narrows, touching both sides of the
canyon and looking up at the sliver of blue sky was a life changing experience for me.
Another early travel experience that ranks high in memory was backpacking Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior with my dad, surrounded by wolves and moose (and catching the biggest fish that I have ever caught even to this day).
Aaron remembers fondly a trip across the country as a young lad on the back of a motorcycle (he sat reading books while flying across the varied landscapes of the US). Driving a large portion of the Alaskan highway also ranks high on his list.
Even though we had both seen a lot of the US, there were still a lot of places on our list. I knew that I didn’t want us to wait until retirement to start checking those places off, so I opened my mind to finding a way to travel more NOW.
A friend of mine mentioned one time that she and her daughter flew to Japan for $30 round trip, and I had to find out more. This is where my career journey as an airline employee started, and was the beginning of our many crazy standby travel adventures.
We were able to cross a whole bunch of places off of our list before having kids in our 30’s. We traveled like crazed maniacs, having wild adventures including spending a long weekend in Prague and going from 19 magical days cruising the Norway and the Baltic Sea to 5 days on the other side of the world in Korea a couple weeks later.
We were both blessed to have had childhood travel experiences that expanded our perspectives and fed our imaginations about the world around us. Now we are super excited to share our travels with our kids and give them their own special travel memories.
We have been to so many amazing places, but there are a couple that hold special spots in my traveler’s heart.
France is a place that we have always felt comfortable and at home. We have been to Paris, Normandy, Carcassonne, Provence and Nice. Knowing some of the beautiful French language helped increase our comfort level, but I think that what made me fall in love with the country is the French “Joie de Vivre” or “Love of Life”.
This philosophy permeates the entire culture, and is evident in the importance that the French place on everyday niceties that in some places would be “luxuries” but in France are regularly considered necessities of everyday life.
Good, cheap wine, fresh baguettes, luscious cheeses, afternoon breaks to eat pastries and drink coffee are not just stereotypes, these are some of the outward signs of the French “Joie de Vivre”, and folks in France proudly indulge in these niceties frequently. There is an enviable pride that the French hold for their culture, which they take every
opportunity to uphold.
It is this intense pride for their culture that I think is some of what gives French people the reputation for being stuck up or rude. They expect (reasonably, IMHO) that if you are visiting their country, you will take the time to learn at least a little of their language, and show enough respect to adhere to basic standards of old fashioned courtesy, which are emphasized more in France than in some other Westernized countries.
Our trips to Scotland have given us the opportunity to view some of the most stunning scenery that we have ever seen and a unique feeling of ‘coming home’ that we have not felt in very many other destinations.
The stunning natural landscapes are a major draw and looking at our pictures from our trips to the Scottish highlands makes my heart sing, but it is the overwhelming generosity and kindness that we have experienced from the Scottish people that keeps drawing us back.
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Edinburgh is one of my favorite European cities. It is so small and intimate feeling and almost entirely manageable by walking, yet packed with history and stories waiting to be uncovered down every hidden alleyway.
A visit to the Scotland cannot be called complete without venturing into the highlands (by car is best) and my personal favorite spot in Scotland thus far has been the Isle of Skye. This island on the west side of Scotland is a crown jewel in a country already filled with stunning scenery, and it is the location of the best fish and chips that I have ever consumed.