I raised my children in a blur. I was in my early twenties when they were born and divorced before they started school. I completed college, launched a career and elbowed my way up the career ladder–rung by rung–as a single mother. Needless to say, transferring values was the last thing on my mind, followed closely by teachable moments. Survival was the order of the day.
Lauran and I met on a school bus. She was wearing a propeller hat and fake glasses with tape on the bridge and rainbow suspenders to hold the outfit together. It was love at first sight. Ok, not really, but we did meet on the school bus during the Backroads California Staff Ride in 2010 and the theme was “Back to School.”
“We’re going up over that hill?” I said under my breath, looking ahead as the road went up, up, up and disappeared over a hill. It was a beautiful sunny day in Nova Scotia, Canada, ten years ago, and we had been riding on quiet, shady roads all morning. More talking than riding, I had slowly been getting tired during the ride, but I knew we were almost at our destination for the day, Lunenburg. I hadn’t been mentally preparing for this hill though.
Well, I’m not a writer, and I’ve been asked to write about how I met my husband. I’ll tell it to you straight, as I have so many times before–including to a woman who subsequently followed in my exact footsteps and meet her own future husband in the exact same fashion!
In today’s fast-paced world, it can be a challenge to find quality family time. Parents are working, children are in school, playing sports and pursuing extracurricular activities. So how do you make quality family time happen? Here are five simple ideas to help you not only make time for each other, but to make the best of that time and form meaningful connections.
If the power of an engine can be measured by how fast it goes from 0 to 60, then a relationship with a Backroads co-leader runs at lightning speed. Meeting your co-leaders isn’t like meeting your average stranger. That first handshake says, “We are now friends, family, coworkers, confidants and sounding boards, and I have your back no matter what.” This is the best friend you just met.
It’s pretty wild that last year, between the end of April and the first week of December, I didn’t sleep in the same bed for more than three consecutive nights. Somehow seven months flew by since that spring day when I packed up my temporary home in Marin County, California, as did my time in about ten states, four countries and who knows how many cities. And at the end of it, I was just weeks away from going to South Africa— my first time in any African country! This year is already just as action-packed.
When I decided to embark on my first Backroads adventure, I was not a biker. I was not even particularly athletic. I was a 24-year-old, newly single teacher in Tampa, Florida. I had just spent months planning the June wedding of my dreams, but I knew something was not right. I called off my engagement and was at a loss of what to do with my newfound freedom. My summer of 1988 was now wide open.
I’ve traveled with Backroads on eight unforgettable adventures and from my first trip to Vermont, I was hooked! I could write a book about why I love Backroads, but this is a blog, so I’ll pare it down to a few reasons why I continually choose Backroads over any other adventure travel company.
It is easy to express the beauty of Alaska in words but seemingly difficult to articulate the impression this place leaves on the soul. Some say, once you visit Alaska you will never be the same. Not always such a dramatic life change but often times a subtle shift. It is the encounter with the wild that often times brings you closer to your true self.
I think it goes without saying for most of us Backroads folks that we love to travel. We all have our own reasons, our own styles, our own lists of places we’ve been, places we’ll return to and places we’re longing to explore. Regardless of why, how and where we go, many of us share the desire to explore and to connect–or reconnect–to nature, to history, to cultures different from our own. To our ancestors, our families, our partners, ourselves, to each other. Or maybe just to a beach chair or to something other than the internet or the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day lives.
I write from the Provence leader house, amid a low murmur of convivial kitchen banter and stovetop smells. I’ve brought a bottle of wine to contribute to this homemade chicken soup dinner, so my hands are free from cooking tasks. And so I sit and I think… as another season winds down.
One of the reasons I joined Backroads as a Trip Leader a decade ago was because it was one of the only active travel companies that had trips in Norway. Growing up, my father always loved studying our family genealogy and especially our Norwegian roots. He and my mother had visited Norway in search of family roots on their European travels back in the 1970s, when they were first married. So Norway was an obvious choice for a family trip abroad, back in 1998. On that trip we followed the family tree down to the roots but could only find the small valley our family had come from. Nothing much came from the trip other than a deep feeling of connection for myself and a little more context for our family heritage.
We’re proud to announce that our very own leader Kelsey Tonner has made the short list for the Wanderlust World Guide Award, the only global award for tour leaders and guides. Wanderlust is a British travel magazine that focuses on intelligent and inspirational travel, and Kelsey helps provide just that. We caught up with Kelsey to learn more about him and the award.