In 2011, I had reached the age where most teenagers don’t want to go on family vacations. They rather go away with friends so they can party their lives away or stay with their boy-friend/girlfriend most of the family don’t know about. I was 17 years old. However, something made my reality slightly different. I was already living away from home in my own apartment! Yes you read it right. I was not legal yet when I had to put my big girl pants on and be responsible for my actions IN A COUNTRY AWAY FROM HOME. So instead of going away for summer, I actually went back home! I am so grateful for this turn my life took at that period. I was dealing with many things back then like sickness, heart-ache and more but that summer…turned out to be the best summer of my life. I found healing, love and peace. But most importantly, I’ve learned to value family. Since my family and I used to go away during summer when I was younger, my father decided that since I was actually coming home for summer now, we should discover our beautiful island…Haïti. Little did I know, this would turn out to be the best decision ever. This is when I started to truly discover what it means to go on a family trip. Since then, the tradition lives on! Every summer, we go on at least 1 trip together! The YAYs of going away in family are so great that they make you forget about the NAYs in the blank of an eye.
1- Communication is Key
Road trips with my family have been a breath of fresh air. We get to talk about funny things that happened in the past. While staring at the beauty of the road, we get to talk about things we care about, things that we don’t have enough time to put in words between getting to school, coming back from work or studying for an exam. Going away with the fam is an excellent way to communicate. Nothing like bringing back good memories while creating new ones
2- Nothing can replace family
I often realize that I take some moments for granted. Like the times when I am too tired to keep my dad company on the table, the times when I don’t pay attention to his jokes, the times when I get mad for no reason…and I am aware of that.I am still working on it. But if there is something family vacation taught me, it’s that nothing can replace family. We might fight sometimes, we might get on each others nerves, we might not say ‘I love you’ enough but one think I know for sure is that you freaking love each other to the moon and back! From the aunt that’s too bougie to climb to the top of the waterfall to the uncle that talks too much, we are ONE and it is by living these adventures together that the bond gets ticker and thicker.
3- We are ALL human
I don’t always see my cousins plus I don’t always get the chance to open my heart to all my family members. Sometimes, you see people as these perfect or completely flawed individuals with whom you will never be able to talk about your sometimes messed up life. But while you guys are away, sipping on some piña colada in the water, you will realize that just like you, they have struggles, fear, insecurities and dreams. You will learn that, sometimes, it takes the time to put away the serious clothes and a natural environment to break the ice. When I took some time alone with my dad, I’ve learned all about his childhood, how he and my mom were some not so innocent young adults and I’ve also learned more things about other members of the family
4- Laughter is what makes the world go round
From laughing at my drunk uncle (who is the most serious guy when he is sober) to making fun of my bougie aunt riding a horse, laughter is definitely the best part of family vacations! You realize that in life, there is always something to laugh about..always. It is by looking for the good in every situation and by cheering each other up that we give life a meaning.
5- You discover and learn together
Adventures are the best way to learn. Family vacations allow you to enjoy activities together, learn about your strengths and weaknesses and create memories. This, my friend is not something you learn in books
6- You learn to have each other’s back
Isn’t this what love is all about? Caring for each other, defending each other and knowing for sure that we will always be on the same team…
No matter where you come from, I encourage you to value family time. At times we don’t realize what a blessing they are but later on, when you will look at pictures and videos together you will thank God for these precious moments. Never take them for granted. And if ever your parents are not here anymore, cherish the memories and look forward to creating more with your legacy.