“It’s always good to remember where you come from and celebrate it. To remember where you come from is part of where you’re going.” – Anthony Burgess
Yes, we are taking off on a pretty sweet adventure in September. But we were really wondering how we were going to keep ourselves busy and satisfy our wanderlust until then. And then it hit me.
I am a firm believer that you should know, love and honor the place where you come from. It will shape and color every trip you take and every travel experience you have whether you realize it or not.
So many people have no idea of the awesome adventures that lie right in their own backyard. If you buy a travel guide to your state and you are shocked by at least three things in it, you need to get your butt off the couch and go get to know the place you live.
Iowans – did you know that:
- Iowa has the largest collection of Haitian art in the world outside Haiti itself? (Waterloo Museum of Art, Waterloo)
- We have a freaking awe. some. collection of Jimi Hendrix memorabilia including an effects pedal believed to have been used at his 1968 appearance in Davenport? (River Music Experience, Davenport)
- Jesse James’ first train robbery took place in Iowa? (Adair)
- The musical State Fair written by Rodgers and Hammerstein was written about the Iowa State Fair?
- Elkhorn is the largest Danish settlement in the United States?
Where you are from colors every experience you will ever have.
Go back and read that sentence again. I’ll wait.
Every person you meet in your travels, every new food you try, every new thing you feast your eyes upon is grounded in the experience of who you are. And who you are is grounded in the experience of where you come from.
This where I come from:
My sisters and I were raised by my grandparents. Grandpa worked on the railroad and grandma stayed home with us so there was not a lot of money for traveling. There was barely enough money to feed and clothe us all. But travel we did. Grandma made a very big deal of taking us on small trips all over Iowa and teaching us to understand and be proud of where we came from. And she created some die hard road trippers.
My favorite memories are climbing into the car with a sack lunch and hanging my feet out the window (Our car had no air conditioning. Hell, our house had no air conditioning) and singing at the top of our lungs. We sang Jesus Loves Me and This Little Light of Mine and, if we were feeling particularly irreverent, we would sing I’m Bringing Home My Baby Bumblebee.
We’d travel to see the covered bridges in Winterset, the Grotto in West Bend or, our favorite, Pella for bologna and dried beef. Grandma was the first generation in her family born in this country after her parents immigrated from Holland. And every trip ended with ice cream at Bengston’s Ice Cream Shop in Carlisle before we headed home.
Best. Memories. Of. My. Life.
(And please do not fail to notice how stunning I look in this picture.)
Better than my trip to Chicago with my senior class. Better than my trip to California with my best friend. Better than my trip to Europe in college.
Ok, so why am I blathering on about this? Because we are starting our travel blog with daring and exciting adventures throughout Iowa! Holla!! (my kids super hate it when I say holla. And yo. So obviously I do it whenever I can).
I want to give my kids that sense of knowing and appreciating where they come from. And I want them to know their grandma because she died when Ian was 4 and before Lily had even turned one. So I am taking them to all of the places she took me and telling her stories.
Neal Smith Prairie Reserve? Yep.
Grotto of the Redemption? Yep.
Effigy Mounds? Little Brown Church in Nashua? Amana Colonies?
Yep. Yep. Yep.
We’re going exploring, we’re going hiking, we’re eating a shit ton of ice cream. You should totally come along. It’s going to be some of the best traveling we ever do. Yo.