The great thing about having an estranged family is not having to take those damned family vacations.
I was never really enthusiastic about them, having to sit in a car for long periods, being on someone else’s schedule, going where someone else wanted to go. I tried to pass the time by reading comic books and drawing. I wasn’t impressed by the pyramids of Mexico or the vastness of the Grand Canyon, because I had no comparative or context.
The most unfortunate thing about having taken all these family trips is that other people are envious, or perhaps exasperated by them. If you go to Florida more than once, particularly during Christmas, you’re known as some sort of vapid idiot who “winters in Florida.”
My aunt an up-north-bound farm wife, once complained in a letter about us going to far-flung places while she was stuck at home. Traveling wasn’t that great, as I quickly pointed out to her.
There are other drawbacks, of course. The two really big trips, one to Hawaii, and the other, several years later, to Mexico, spurred the purchase of a vast amount of souvenirs. From Hawaii, there were matching Hawaiian shirts for the entire family, which we actually wore while gadding about in Hawaii (shudder!), and there were all manner of doodads and whatnot — wood pieces in the shape of the Hawaiian Islands, meant to be attached to a wall, with the pieces appropriately spaced, also, muumuus, native dolls, postcards, pillow-slips with Hawaiian scenes on them, plastic leis, a Hawaiian phrasebook, grass skirts, carved pineapple salt & pepper shakers, shell necklaces, and other assorted things prized by island-visitors. The trip to Mexico produced the same sort of shopping orgy, with more pottery items, some Mexican art, and a cute skirt with zigzags and stick figures on it, with an adjustable waist, so I can still wear it — if I dare. There is also a nifty chess set carved from stone.
Gradually, over the years, the treasure trove was much reduced, owing to breakage or loss of parts or dwindling appeal.
I don’t mind using souvenirs as decor, but when I’m in the market for them, I’ll shop at church sales and thrift stores. It’s a lot more pleasant and much briefer than travel!