Friday, June 10, 2011

Guest post: Karen from Lost to Gain

Hey guys! Here is the first guest post while I'm off in Colorado! I'm kicking off with Karen who's childhood family road trip sounds hilarious!

Hello! My name is Karen and I'm a pretty new blogger in general (you can find me here). I guess I've been online journaling for a while now, but never anything like having a blog. I'm a New York City native 20 something who after a brief hiatus from my city has returned with a vengeance! By vengeance, I mean I'm beginning to act like a real adult with a job and bills and all of that crumby stuff. However, I do find a lot of time to travel and that's what this is all about. I'm new to this guest blogger, featured writer thing, so please bear with me as I try to get a grasp on the whole thing! My blog is about my everyday life, the random things I do and trouble I get into. I blog like I talk and thing, so don't be alarmed if you see a lot of parantheses and side comments!

When I was a kid I was a TERRIBLE traveler. I only traveled with my parents and some other family members that we would drag along the way, but in the end I was a spoiled brat that really couldn't appreciate the fact that I was getting to leave New York City unlike a large portion of the population here that never gets to travel for fun. I can say that I probably didn't appreciate much as a kid being an only child and a "miracle child" at that.

Are family roadtrips ever a good idea?

In fact one of the worst trips that my parents ever took me on was to Canada, not because it is a bad place - in fact I will be going to Canada next month, but this trip was just awful! My cousin Jonathan had come along (he's exactly 11 months older than me). I was about 9 I would say. We decided to drive to Toronto and Montreal from New York, a nice LONG drive with two kids who really shouldn't be confined to a small space like that. I mean really, what WERE my parents thinking? They knew I didn't travel well, kind of like perishables in the mail - I spoil, turn rotten and make a mess of everything. (Parent mistake number 1)

After about 8 or so hours of driving, before we crossed into Canada, my parents thought it would be a good idea to get us out of the car (probably to keep us from killing each other and fighting any more). We stopped at Ausable Chasm. We planned on whitewater rafting, getting out and enjoying nature, seeing the beautiful sites...etc. Jonathan and I were down, so after getting all signed up, we went back to the car to change into our bathing suits.

I never did get to see the chasm...

Side note: Maybe kids are more responsible at a younger age now, or maybe my parents needed a brief breather from the both of us, but who gives two 9 year old cousins (or the likes) the keys to the car to go get their bathing suits on and safely lock the car, all whilst not killing each other? My parents, that's who. Silly parents - big Parent mistake number 2.

We successfully got our bathing suits on in the car without too much trouble, but one of us was brilliant enough to leave the keys in the car on the ledge in the back of the car, and the other of us was brilliant enough to lock the doors and close them with the keys inside. Freaking out about how to tell my parents, of course Mother Nature being a parent herself decided to smite us for our stupidity, and it started to hail. That's right, HAIL. Not rain, not snow, not any other form of precipitation, hail. We were jumping around in our bathing suits in the parking lot being pelted by small balls of ice. Wonderful!

Buy a slim jim?

Running to find my parents in the gift shop just got a whole lot worse. My parents are generally understanding people, and so they called triple A and didn't hate us TOO much. It took hours for the triple A guy to get there, so we missed our window of opportunity to white water raft. When the guy go there, he couldn't figure out what to do. Jonathan, the delinquent that his is/was, created a make shift slim jim out of a wire hanger (when they still had those) and was able to pull the trunk release where there was a spare set of keys. There was no point in triple A coming, really. So that day was a bust.

The story only gets better folks. We made it through Toronto, where laser tag at the CN tower was able to keep us together for a day, but then we went to Montreal and Jonathan and I had had enough of each other. My parents left us. They decided if we couldn't get our acts together, they were going to enjoy the city themselves and we could stay at the hotel, because who could get into that much trouble in a hotel for an hour or two? Parent mistake number 3.

The instigator

Throughout the whole trip, my sega gamegear (do you remember those?!) was a highly coveted distraction mechanism. I hated video games though, so I didn't really want it...that is, until Jonathan wanted it. THEN and ONLY THEN, was the gamegear highly coveted by yours truly. We got into such a huge fight over it that I decided if I couldn't play it, he could not play it. So I stole the batteries (6 of them).

He was WAY faster than me and I only managed to get halfway out the door before he caught up to me. He pretty much slammed my body in the door as I tried to weasel my way out. I eventually succeeded with a few bruises, but I dropped all but one of the batteries as I bolted down the hallway. Jonathan, being the sane, rational and non-violent child that he is/was, started chucking the batteries at me down the hallway. He hit me once or twice leaving welts, but the hardest hit was by far the one that RICOCHETED off the side of the elevator and hit me in the back of the calf. If nothing else, that boy had good aim and a strong arm.

Needless to say, after that debacle, everyone was ready to leave Canada. Thankfully, it was our last day.


The next morning, my dad went out to get the car ready and it was gone. That's right. They have lived in New York City their ENTIRE lives, a place known for their car thievery and they had never had their car stolen. We were in Montreal for two days and GONE.

It was a long 10 hour train ride back, but at least we weren't confined to a 5 x 5 space with each other any longer.

My parents and I stopped traveling together shortly after that. I think our last trip might've been to Vienna to see family friends when I was few years older, but we have gotten wiser and do not travel with each other.

Nowadays I travel with friends, generally to tropical places where the sun can enhance anyone's mood, the drinks are kept flowing and I am more at ease and had a "just go with it" attitude. Here are a few pictures of some of the trips we've taken. Mexico in 2008 with college friends and Jamaica in 2009 and 2010 with Chicago friends. I'm going to Bermuda tomorrow and hopefully will have some great pictures and stories from that vacation too.

Mexico (Mazatlan 2008)

Jamaica (Montego Bay 2009-2010)

Thanks Jamie for letting me do my first feature and have a great vacation yourself!!
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