American novelist and poet, Don Williams Jr., once wrote,
“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet, our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”
I’ve endured some pretty interesting methods of transportation over the years. A variety of tuk-tuks in Thailand, long journeys by bus in Vietnam, trains and subways in Europe, cable cars in New Zealand, and many interesting experiences at the airport, from cancellations to delays and lost baggage. But, the most memorable journey was a road trip unlike any other.
The summer before my senior year of college, my family decided to take a excursion across Europe. For a little over three weeks, we headed to Ireland to visit family, flew into Germany and drove through Austria and Slovenia to get to Croatia. Then we drove to Italy for a few days, then back up to Germany and on to Ireland to visit the other side of the family.
There was a lot of traveling done over the three weeks, and at times, the journey was a difficult one. But, overall, this trip brought my family closer together. For over three weeks, we were stuck together, sometimes during very stressful situations. But, the memories that we created during that trip have provided endless conversations and stories.
The trip was also all about family since, during the trip, we visited the three countries where my grandparents were born – Ireland, Italy, and Croatia. In fact, in Ireland, we saw the house my maternal grandmother was born in, and in Croatia, we stayed in the house my paternal grandfather was born in.
Although the trip was about visiting those places, we spent an awful lot of time in the car, on ferries, and in the airport. Through that quality time together, we became closer than ever before. We even created a list of inside jokes that we developed throughout the journey.
Along with that bond, some of our best pictures were ones that we took from the car. Below is a collection of them.
While the purpose of the trip may have been to learn more about our family’s history, we also learned a lot about the current state of our family, and that alone, was the most rewarding aspect of the trip.