Meet My Travel Clique

We are at the top of an Italian castle overlooking Florence.
We are at the top of an Italian castle overlooking Florence.

Me and my travel clique… we’ve been rolling for a while. We go back decades. Our travel history goes back almost as far. Looking back, the best adventures I’ve been on and the most memorable experiences I’ve had, they have been there, right by my side going through them with me. Its gotten to the point that when I begin telling of the adventures I undertook in destination X, instead of asking who I travelled with, my willing listener simply states the who and waits for my confirmation. My travel clique is a very important part of my life.

They are always ready to go on the next adventure, no matter what it may be.

They’re open to trying new things with just a little goading.

They never flake out of prearranged plans.

Although their frequent trips to the bathroom and calls to their grandchildren slow down our usual fast paced adventures, and, at times, their total and complete disregard for my lack of budget flexibility sends me into a saving frenzy, my parents and I make a pretty good travel team.

This whole traveling thing with my parents…I’ve been doing it for some time now. The earliest memory I recall was our trip to New York City during the summer before my first year in high school. Many years before that, we spent summers at Sanibel Island, but that was just a short drive, so of course to my young mind it didn’t count as a real “trip.” But anyway, our trip to New York was during a time when there was just the four of us: my parents, my sister, and I. That summer, us girls flew to visit my Dad for a week during our summer break.  Cats on Broadway. The Empire State Building. Ellis Island. We did it all. Since then, our trips have only gotten better and dare I say, sexier (GASP!).

New York has remained a favorite destination of ours and has become a staple on our annual trip plans. We’ve experienced the best of Broadway (both on and off) with shows including In the Heights, FELA!, Memphis, and Porgy & Bess. We strolled through Central Park on a beautiful summer afternoon. They hesitantly followed along as I led the way to Harlem to “help” welcome the area’s first Target store. (I have a great bag to commemorate the celebration!) The best part is that they have been there each time I looked up into the sky at the high-rise apartments and imagined that I had finally become a tenant. The adventures don’t stop there.

I took my first cruise with my parents.

I experienced standing at the top of the Eiffel Tower not with a tall, dark, and handsome man, but with my mom.

I laid eyes on the Coliseum for the very first time with my parents standing by my side.

For years I dreamed of going to a dark, smoky, just a little sketchy Chicago jazz club. My dad made that dream a reality and took me to a place he had visited years before as a younger man.

My parents were right by my side as we moved through the crowd, pushing ourselves to the best spot to see the floats during the famed Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

We’ve had some really great times. But I’ve noticed a slight, yet significant shift in the relationship. Not as parent and daughter, but as travel companions.

As I inch closer to my thirties, I’ve noticed my slight hesitation in divulging the “who” in the question of the other that joined me on my adventures. As a girl of a certain age, I’ve placed certain expectations on myself – either that or I’ve allowed others to place their expectations on me.  Either way, those expectations have left me with some unhealthy lingering feelings. Unease. Judged. Any other word I assume others are thinking each time my answer is “my parents” when asked who I experienced destination X with.

To rid myself of these feelings, I gave myself an ultimatum: Nicole, for your next big trip, you have 3 options and 3 options only: 1. Go with a friend, 2. Go with a significant other, or 3. Go by yourself. There was no “other” option that I could conveniently place my parents in. I had removed them completely from the list. I had made my decision, and I was moving forward with it…

Until I saw the pictures.

Smiles. Happiness. Joy. Excitement. These were the expressions that I saw on our faces as I clicked through photos of adventures passed. I could remember the details of each photo: the when, the where, the how, the what. The “who” needed no explanation. It was, of course, my parents and me. The “wow” of the moment immediately hit me: These are moments that many people will never experience.

Ordering bagels at a New York deli with my Dad…

Getting a pretzel in Germany with my Mom…

Those are things that can never be taken away or undone. Since having my light bulb moment, we’ve scheduled two additional trips: one with the entire immediate family (there’s six of us now) and one with just the three of us. Sure, I enjoy a girl’s weekend in Miami, and I’m looking forward to taking a gondola ride in Venice with a tall, dark, and handsome, but for now I will continue to be thankful for and take full advantage of the opportunity to experience different cultures and great food with my mom and dad.

There’s just nothing like The Clique.

 

More from Nicole E. Jackson

ATWG Will Be Right Back!

If you've been wondering where I am, don't worry I'm still here!...
Read More