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TRAVEL – Intergeneration Travel Tradition


Intergeneration Travel Tradition

BY DONNE DAVIS

Intergenerational travel has been a longstanding tradition in my family. When I graduated high school, my maternal grandma Amelia and I rode Amtrak’s California Zephyr from San Francisco to New York. We sat in the dome car and ate our meals in the Pullman car. I cherished my bond with my grandma and wanted to continue the tradition with my grandchildren.

Recently, I fulfilled that dream with my firstborn grandchild, Jay (they/them.) Jay inspired me to take the biggest trip of my life and fly to Australia. Jay is studying at the University of Melbourne for their junior year.

I’ve always regretted not traveling more when I was younger. After high school, I went right off to college to earn my bachelor’s degree. Then I met my husband during my first year of grad school. We got married, I finished my master’s degree and we began working and raising a family.

I envied my daughter who spent her junior year of college at the University of Bristol in England. I visited her in December 1989 and we had a memorable adventure driving through the lovely rolling hills of the Cotswolds’’.

“I found a wonderful travel agent who specializes in the South Pacific. He planned our two-week adventure to Sydney, Tasmania, and Melbourne and it was the best trip of my life.”

Her first-born, Jay showed even more courage by going off to Australia for a year. It took me three months to overcome my fear of the 15-hour flight to Australia before I committed to the trip and started making plans. But once I did, I forged ahead at full speed.

travel
Me and my first-born grandchild, Jay.

I found a wonderful travel agent who specializes in the South Pacific. He planned our two-week adventure to Sydney, Tasmania, and Melbourne and it was the best trip of my life. I came home with a giant boost of travel confidence eager to plan my next trip.

What made the trip so magical was sharing it with Jay. We never had a crossword the entire trip. Jay was an excellent navigator. Whether we were walking to a restaurant, taking the tram to a museum, or driving to our next hotel, Jay gave excellent directions with help from Google Maps. They also warned me when I was driving too close to the left side of the road in Tasmania.

“I feel so grateful to have shared this adventure with my first-born grandchild and treasure our memories.”

I confess to being a worrier when it comes to travel. My biggest fear was getting sick while I was in Australia. But that fear proved unfounded reminding me once again how worry is such a waste of time. We both remained healthy the whole time. In addition, all of our flights, rides, and tours were on time.

travelWe did city tours on bikes in Sydney and Melbourne. I hadn’t ridden a bike in over 20 years, but I quickly got my confidence back, and by the end of the 4-hour tour, I felt quite proud of myself. What a great way to see the highlights of Sydney! Ten days later, I felt like an old hand when we got on our bikes in Melbourne. At the end of our 5-hour tour despite the searing 97-degree temperature, I texted my neighbor to ask if I could ride her bike when I got home.

On our flight from Sydney to Hobart, Jay and I sat next to each other. When Jay was seven and we flew together for the first time, we started a little ritual. I asked if we could hold hands when we took off and whoever felt liftoff first, would squeeze the other’s hand. As we taxied down the runway in Sydney, Jay took my hand and we waited to see who would detect the liftoff first. I was touched that they still loved our ritual.

On the last day of our trip, I asked Jay what their best and worst memories were — another travel tradition we’ve shared over the years. Jay laughed remembering the modern dancer who surprised us during lunch at MONA (the Museum of New and Old Art) in Hobart and sashayed past our table. We both moaned recalling the hour we spent in a stifling hot van on the way to Penguin Island when we got stuck in gridlock.

My last day in Melbourne was Valentine’s Day. I gave Jay a Valentine and included a list of memories: cities we visited, the four hotels where we stayed, the names of all of our tour guides, the wildlife we saw, our sea adventures, memorable food, high points, low points and solving our daily puzzles together: Wordle, Connections and the New York Times mini crossword.

I feel so grateful to have shared this adventure with my first-born grandchild and treasure our memories. I’ve already talked to Jay’s younger sister, Amelia, to start thinking about where we can travel when she graduates from high school in a year.

Read more from Donne Davis in GRAND

 

 

 

Donne is the author of When Being a Grandma Isn’t So Grand: 4 Keys to L.O.V.E. Your Grandchild’s Parents — a practical guide for building mutually respectful relationships with your grandchild’s parents and handling common grandparent challenges.

 

Donne Davis

About the author

Donne is the founder and creative force behind the award-winning blogsite GaGaSisterhood.com - Where Grandmas Bond, Brag, and Benefit
and she is the author of When Being a Grandma Isn’t So Grand.

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