Friday, June 8, 2012


My family just returned from an incredible European vacation that was a lifetime in the making.

Our mother was an intrepid traveler.  When we were little, every summer she crammed us all into the family station wagon, tied our luggage to the roof, and explored the Western United States.
The Tetons
Southern Utah

The Grand Canyon

South Dakota
One Easter we took the train to Denver, just so that we could experience train travel.  Another summer we took the Greyhound bus to Washington D.C. and Virginia to visit my oldest sister, who was married and living there.  Mom wanted us to experience the vastness of the United States.

After I graduated from high school, Mom offered to take me to Germany, but she wanted to go for three weeks and I was set on going to summer school at BYU.  Instead of the long trip, we took a one-week trip to Mexico together. (Yeah, I was pretty dumb to pass up the offer of a trip to Europe.)

When we were children, Mom took off to Europe by herself every other summer, leaving us in the care of relatives.  As we got older and began to leave the nest, she traveled more frequently, both to visit her children in various locations around the U.S., and to new places around the world.

In 1992, Mom wrote down a list of places she had been that included Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, Canada, Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain, North Africa, Egypt, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Turkey, Russia, Poland, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, and Monaco.

Not bad for a widow traveling on her own on a teacher's salary.

As our own children began to leave the nest, Mom began to encourage us to travel.  She proposed an adults-only family cruise and offered to pay for it.  However, our lives were busy and we were never able to coordinate our schedules.  Honestly, I don't think we took her offer very seriously.

When Mom passed away in 2009, we decided to finally take her up on that offer.  We set aside some money from her estate for a "Sibling Cruise."  We tried at that point to come up with a date, but there were too many conflicts.  We tried again in 2010, but no go.  Then late last year things started to fall into place.  We came up with a tentative date. We considered an Alaskan cruise, a New England cruise, even a cruise to Hawaii.  Then Dave came up with the Rhine River cruise.  What could be more perfect than a trip down Mom's favorite river and through her home country?  It was pretty adventurous, but everyone seemed to like the idea.

Miraculously, it happened.  Some of us traveled ahead of time to various places in Europe, but we all met up in Basel, Switzerland, on Sunday, May 27th--all five of us and all five of our spouses.  The meeting alone was an event to remember: the ten of us in one place, and that place being on the other side of the world!  We think Mom was really smiling down at the sight of us.

  Next: An answer to the question, "What was your favorite part of the trip?"


  1. The number of places your Mom traveled truly was amazing. And what a fun way to celebrate her life, on a memorial tour. I feel blessed to be a part of such an incredible family.

  2. This brought tears to my eyes. There are also five kids in my family, 4 girls and one boy. We never travelled when I was a kid. My parents have never even left the country, but I hope I can do something like this with my siblings one day!

  3. Great introduction! Can't wait to read the rest...

  4. I love the grand canyon picture (and traveling)! I also love that you got my Mom and Dad out of Bakersfield. I look forward to seeing more. :-)

  5. Love all these photos, and am looking forward to the great story of the Siblings Cruise.

  6. I remember Bob saying that you were taking a Rhine River trip, but I got confused when I saw his recent posting from locations along the Danube River. I am curious to find out more about your trip. I organized a Caribbean Cruise for my siblings to get together after my parents died. Most of them had never been on a cruise. The only time we had been together was for short periods of time for funerals, weddings, and the 4th of July gathering at the ranch. It was a great way to get to know my siblings again and really spend quality time with them. I look forward to hearing the rest of your story.