Travel and identity

by Steve Brock on December 9, 2010

Even an old train museum can reveal new insights...

Here’s one more illustration – a briefer one –  on intergenerational travel and what I have learned from our Guys Days, short half-day or so local trips with my sons and my dad.

We’re blessed to live in the Pacific Northwest where there is always something interesting to discover: moutains, rivers, islands, trails, big cities and small towns. A few weeks ago, we ventured out and found something even more unexpected: an old outdoor train museum.

Along an abandoned railroad siding stood a dozen or so old, rusting steam engines along with dilapidated freight and passenger cars of various types and ages. The sky intermittently sputtered rain on us but we managed to examine most of the old trains between drizzles.

The images here are of the various numbers used to identify the engines. The numbers, in a way, provided a sense of identity to these large pieces of transportation equipment that otherwise all looked alike in a busy train yard.

One of the benefits of Guys Days are that while not much may happen, we’re constantly discovering new things, both about the area around us and about ourselves. On this day, looking at the peeling numbers that identified these old trains made me realize how Guys Days helps me with my own sense of identity.

By spending time doing things together with my dad and my sons, we not only reinforce a feeling of belonging, but we pass on to each other what it means to be a family. Crises and daily pressures help define us and shape who we are individually and as a family. But these simple trips and times of discovery and wonder help us to share in common pleasures and learn each other’s story just a little better.

I don’t have a full answer as to what it means, in my case, to be a Brock. But I’m thankful for this small trip that helped me at least ask the question and to realize, in part, that I will find the answer through the shared experience of such trips.


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Tips for meaningful intergenerational travel

by Steve Brock on November 25, 2010

Since today is Thanksgiving, a time when many families gather together with children, parents, grandparents and even great grandparents, I thought it appropriate to post The Meaningful Traveler’s Tips for Intergenerational Travel.

You can find this downloadable PDF on the Tips and Tools page along with other general Tips for Meaningful Travel and Tips for Meaningful Business Travel.

If you’ve ever traveled with more than one generation of family members or friends, you’ve probably realized that intergenerational travel has its unique challenges, rhythms and rewards. But never before has it been so important.

In an era when the “traditional” family structure is less common and where blended families are on the rise, intergenerational travel takes on even greater meaning. Traveling with children and grandparents or just people of vastly different age ranges can bond you together in ways you’d never experience at home. Sure, you learn a lot about compromise. But you also discover new ways of experiencing life that you’d never find any other way.

We’ll explore the joys and issues related to intergenerational travel in the coming weeks. But for now, sit back, stuff yourself on Turkey, and check out these Tips for Meaningful Intergenerational Travel. Even if you’re not planning on a trip with people older or younger than you, you might just find some useful insights for you own next trip.

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