One of the best ways to get to know someone is to travel with them. Whether you travel with a friend, a lover or a family member there is really no better form of bonding then travelling.
When you are stripped from your “natural” habitat you are vulnerable and raw, and having someone else see your true colours is enduring ( or in some cases not so much).
As a couple ( especially a couple who have done long distance) we have spent the majority of our relationship travelling, and because of that we know each other inside and out.
What about travelling with family though? When we are young we are in the care of our parents, so most of the travelling we do involves a family vacation here and there. But what happens when we get older? Of course every family is different and some families are closer than others but there is a lot to be said about travelling with a family member.
It all starts with an idea
My father is Scottish and his family immigrated to Canada when he was only 13 years old. He hadn’t been back to Scotland since then and with me living in Europe I suggested he come for a visit.
At first he laughed it off, saying “Oh no.. that would be nice though wouldn’t it.” The conversation then changed into another direction and we moved on from the idea. The next day I got an email from him saying he had been thinking about the Scotland idea, and how it would be nice to see some “beautiful castles”.
Long story short he ended up booking a ticket to Scotland, and on top of that he brought along my younger sisters.
I met my dad and sisters at the Heathrow Airport. It was amazing to see my family again, and especially on the other side of the world. We stayed one night in London and then left the next morning to catch the train to Edinburgh. My dad and Julia” width=”960″ height=”720″ /> (from left to right) My sister Natasha, My dad and JuliaAs it turned out we arrived during the busiest time of the year- during the Fringe festival and the Military Tattoo- so finding accommodation beforehand was a nightmare, but luckily we found a place off of the Royal Mile.
Edinburgh” width=”800″ height=”535″ /> Fringe Festival, Edinburgh
We stayed in Edinburgh for a few days and then rented a car and left for the east coast. As we only had a short amount of time together we made sure to plan out everything in detail. My dad (the organized guy he is) printed off all kinds of maps and routes and then we were on our way (although learning to drive on the other side of the road, especially during rush hour in Edinburgh, was a bit of a challenge).
The Beautiful east coast of Scotland
We drove from Edinburgh to St. Monans, a place my dad had fond memories of when he was a child. It was so rewarding to see our father’s face light up after being reminded of these places he once knew from his childhood.
We then continued on to Elie, Pittenweem – where we ate a traditional lunch of fish and chips- and then finished off in St. Andrews. The whole time my dad looked like a kid in a candy shop while us girls were just happy to join him on the journey.
Scotland : Sister Julia striking a pose while my dad explores the beach ” width=”685″ height=”1024″ /> Elie, Scotland : Sister Julia striking a pose while my dad explores the beach
So much to see, so little time
We had a total of a week and a half so we made sure to make the most of every second. We explored Stirling castle, took a tour to the highlands, visited family in Glasgow and then finished off by staying the night in Rothesay (on the isle of Bute).
Rothesay, Isle of Bute
My dad was adamant about visiting Rothesay. When he was a child he remembered a family trip when they spent the day looking for large jellyfish on the sea shore and he had always dreamed of going back.
In the victorian era, the island was a popular tourist destination but now it remained quite quiet. Despite the lack of visitors, we had a great time exploring the island. It was so peaceful and picturesque. Unfortunately my dad didn’t find any jellyfish, but he enjoyed himself nonetheless.
beautiful scenery nonetheless” width=”960″ height=”720″ /> No luck finding jellyfish, beautiful scenery nonetheless
Right before boarding the ship to go back to Glasgow, my sisters and I bought matching ” sister” rings (we have had to work hard to not lose them since then).
One of the best trips of my life
Just like any travel experience, it flew by too fast. I knew in the moment it would soon be a distant memory, but I was happy to know I would never forget the experience. The four of us now share these memories of our time in Scotland and it holds a special place in our heart.
I could have gone to Scotland with some good friends and it would have of course still been amazing, but the fact that I learned about my family history and was able to share in my father’s happiness enhanced everything.
When making travel plans, most people don’t think of calling their mom or dad to join them on a adventure (dinner at the family home for Christmas will suffice), or maybe it is just the logistics of the whole thing not working in your favour, but if given the chance to travel with a family member, take it and don’t look back.
There is no better time than the present.