My father being a pilot, I was practically born in the air and I started traveling at the early age of 4 years old.  As I was traveling “solo”, my requirements were light: a wash cloth, brush and my favorite Barbies (shoes were clearly not a priority). A budding travel expert!

travel expert in the making

My First Trip

My early travels while in college with mom and dad typically involved visiting my grandmother in Altoona, PA.

Visiting my Grandma

Visiting my Grandma

My mom and I took our first trip without my dad or brother in 1994, perusing Italy for ten days.  We had SUCH a blast that we decided to explore Paris together the next year  Here we are flirting with the owner of the Lizard Lounge in the 4th arrondissement Marias section of Paris.

Flirting in France

Flirting in France

I’ve traveled to almost 40 countries since my 1st trip to Italy and I’ve found you can take the girl out of the country….

Country Girl

Country Girl

….however, it’s tough to take the country out of the girl….

Cowgirl

Cowgirl

In October of 2004, we took our last family trip to Branson, Missouri, a place at the top of my father’s list to visit (although not even vaguely on my Top 100).  At the time, I didn’t appreciate the location or our time together as much as I should have and unfortunately, my father unexpectedly passed away in August of the following year.

Branson, Missouri

Branson, Missouri

It was a very valuable lesson to not take life for granted and especially not my time with my parents.  My brother and I now insist on a yearly trip with our octogenarian mom, especially with the addition of twin girls to the family in December of 2012.

Here is the Grubb Clan in front of the Three Sisters formation (to the left of my brother’s head) in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia.  February 2013

Octogenarian mom and family in Australia

Australia

From left to right: my brother Eric holding my niece Niki (born 12/7/12), my sister-in-law Memory holding Niki’s twin sister Dani, then there’s Mom and me.

With an 82 year age span across the family, vacations require a tad more planning in order for everyone to have a good time wherever we venture.  That said, I’ve found it’s well worth the extra planning effort and I know I’ll never look back and regret not having taken my mother with me on a trip.