Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Clare Dyckhoff.
Traveling with friends causes you to appreciate family travel.
Since before I could remember, my parents have taken me on an array of holidays, allowing me to witness beautiful sights, fantastic cultures, and at the same time making priceless memories with the people I see so often.
I’ve always been open about how grateful I am for having adventurous parents who relish traveling and seeing the world. However, when I went traveling with friends, it left me feeling that something was somewhat missing, and it was my appreciation for my family who were for so long always beside me abroad.
Travel experience is travel experience, and I have had a fantastic set of travel encounters with friends. Riding camels and having drum lessons in Morocco, learning Flamenco in the heart of Madrid, and sifting through an abundance of market places with friends has had a lasting effect on me, and is something I will always cherish. Traveling with friends provides you with independence, where you are in charge of your finances, budget, your health, and your happiness. There’s more responsibility to discuss what you want to explore and see while abroad, and this isn’t a negative thing. What I realised is how spot-on my parents, brother and sister are when it comes to picking adventures and activities to do when we’re out of the country. They’re good at that at home too, but even more so abroad.
When I bought some mis-sold suncream in Morocco when I was out there with my friend, I suffered severe burns, and who did I want to ring immediately to tell and ask for their advice? My parents. I like to depend on them, and I know they reciprocate this, but this story affirmed to me that even at 21, you’re never too old to appreciate and need your family, especially in unpromising situations.
When I’m traveling with friends, I’m Clare, the 21-year-old adult who is in charge of her budget, but still wants to enjoy her surroundings. When I’m traveling with family, I’m Clare, the older sister, the eldest daughter, who can relax a bit more where money is concerned, and just focus on enjoying her surroundings with her family.
I can stand on my own two feet without my family’s presence, because I feel reasonably confident in the fact that I’ve completed a degree at university before, and am even doing an MA both away from home, so it’s not as if I can’t handle homesickness—I don’t offer suffer from it. What travel means to me is seeking comfort and happiness in new places, while never forgetting what you already have and what you’ve left behind. Traveling with family makes for more stories such as “Do you remember when you went to Belgium?”…”No, sadly I don’t, Mum.”, “Oh well, you were one year old at the time” but actually being able to remember and appreciate it.
It sometimes takes you to go away from something, or someone to realise just what you have, and traveling with friends made me realise this. I would go traveling with friends again in a heartbeat, because you bond and share experiences with friends you aim to keep for a lifetime. I would also go traveling with family in a flash. There’s something refreshing about having the home comforts come with you even when you’re abroad, because home comforts are so often the people, and your family, not just having a bigger bed, a power shower, and home-cooked food.
—This article was written by Clare Dyckhoff who is a travel writer for the gap year website GapYearEscape.com. When she is not reading poetry, Clare is photographing sights ranging from Machu Picchu to Scotland. The world is our oyster, so let’s get cracking!