3 Things I Learned from Traveling with My Dad

Traveling with My Dad

My dad with his son, sons-in-law, and grandson in Boston.

This post was written by Natalie Rice.

Happy (early) Father’s Day!

I just returned from a trip to New York with three busloads of girl scouts and their moms, aunts, and grandmothers. It was such a joy to see them creating memories together. They will be able to tell stories about their trip and reminisce with photographs for years to come. These memories are why we do what we do at Scholastica Travel, and why I am so grateful to be a part of this company.

Between this trip and Father’s Day this weekend, I have been thinking back on my travel memories with my parents. Growing up, I was very blessed to have had many opportunities to travel with my dad. The experiences have taught me so much and have shaped me into the person I am today. Among the many, here are a few of the things I learned from traveling with my dad:

1. A Smile is the Shortest Distance Between Two People

Traveling with My DadWhen I was thirteen, we took our first international trip as a family to Cyprus, Egypt, and Israel. Ahead of the many cultural experiences and awestruck moments of this trip, one conversation with my dad sticks out strongest in my memory.

My eyes were glued to the passing scenery as we drove along the dusty streets of Cairo.  Stopped in traffic, I caught the glance of a girl about my age who was also staring out her bus window. We studied each other for a few moments and exchanged a smile. As the light changed, so did my attention. I didn’t think anything of it. My dad, however, saw the smiles, leaned  over to me and said,

I saw what you did there, smiling at that girl. You know, getting someone to smile is the fastest way to form a bond and connection.   It’s something that can cross all language barriers and help you to understand each other. Keep smiling, honey, and get others to do the same.

For some reason, this memory and lesson has always stayed with me. It’s in the back of my mind in daily life and often at the front of my mind during my travels, when communication is more challenging.

2. Random Facts about Architecture

It seems that life is often about the little things. Traveling with my dad, the fleeting teachable moments were what have stuck with me longest. Go figure. Once, we took a “Father Daughter Day” and visited the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. It was so much fun having that special time with just the two of us. In the Hall of Architecture, my dad taught me about the three Greek orders of columns, as well as the meaning of the terms “frieze” and “pediment”.  He taught me to remember them with a mnemonic:

Corinthian is a fancy word and the Corinthian columns are the fanciest. Ionic columns resemble a capital “I”. Look for the “I” and you will find the Ionic. Doric columns are the plainest and somewhat boring. “Dor” and “Bore” rhyme. If it’s a boring column, it’s a Doric.

Traveling with My Dad

The Capitol building has Corinthian columns, the Jefferson memorial has Ionic columns, and the Lincoln memorial has Doric columns

Why I have remembered these terms to this day, I have no idea.  I can’t help but think of my dad and our time together whenever I see and name a column in my head. As a DC guide, this happens all the time! Now, I’m paying the favor forward and teaching my students the terms as we explore Washington DC. It’s fun to hear them think through the mnemonic and make the connection as I did when I first learned it so many years ago.

3. Memories are More Important than Things

Traveling with My Dad

My parents and I at Epcot.

I wouldn’t trade travel experiences (both the good and the challenging) for anything.  The memories that I made traveling with my dad are invaluable.  Somewhere along the line, I realized that creating memories was the best gift that you can give to someone. To this day, I prefer to give an “experience” as a gift, instead of tangible items. These come in the form of concert or baseball tickets, an art class, an afternoon at the botanical gardens, etc.

This priority on quality time, of experiencing new things together, is directly linked to traveling as a kid with my parents. I cannot thank  them enough for that.

It’s been far too long since my last “Father Daughter Day”. It’s about time for another, don’t you think?

Happy Father’s Day! Go create some memories.