Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
Purchase Winter Garden here
Purchase Winter Garden here
I’m not sure when the plucky little insect had its first nibble of my pasty flesh, but as long as I can remember, travel has been a part of who I am. As the kid of two public school teachers, my travel wasn’t as far-flung as it is now, but even without a passport, it seems like we were always on the go when we had a chance; the travel bug claimed another sweet victim. Summers were spent loaded up in a camper, touring the Northwest with a booth at many of the big arts and crafts shows that were abundant in the 1980s, my parents selling beautifully handcrafted woodwork under their Shadowtree label. (Totally not legal or considered “good parenting today,” but I have to say that we had some good times riding in that camper shell and we are definitely no worse the wear for those hours. We played games, read novels, colored in coloring books, completed workbook pages from the ones we carefully picked out from the teacher stores the weekend before…oh yes, and spent a decent chunk of the time writing notes on paper, bashing our fists against the window to gain parental-attention and tattling on each other via notebook paper and crayons. I seem to remember there being written complains about bathroom needs and hunger pains as well.)
As we got older and the summers of woodworking sales gave way to volleyball camps and piano lessons and G/T summer school classes, the suitcases gathered no dust. Road trips to the Redwoods, wanderings through Yellowstone National Park, spying bison and the first kind of hotpot I knew (China would introduce me to a whole new world of wonder with the same name) and a family trip to the nation’s capital marked our spring breaks.
Shiny new blue passport in hand and bags packed, next came studying abroad in the Dominican Republic, a trip to Haiti, semana santa in Puerto Rico and a scuttled (and often lamented still today) trip to Cuba.
A decade later Peace Corps would scratch the itch left behind by the travel bug, in no way lessening it. Rather, that little bug bite became a life-long infection that has seen us returning to Chengdu with the Foreign Service, spending a couple of years in Kuala Lumpur and now eagerly awaiting this summer’s bidding season when we will see where our next pushpin will land on the map.
All of this to say, for me the love of travel started young and I am excited to see it continuing in my niblings. Last weekend, one of my nieces had the chance to go to Portland with her family for a short road trip. They just spent a few days in the awesome Oregon town, but I think she still managed to hit most of the main tourist attractions. Upon her return to Idaho, as an avid reader of In Search of the End of the Sidewalk (okay, I am not sure she ever reads it, but I do think she checks out the pictures sometimes) she decided to sit down and do a bit of travel writing herself, putting together a blog post of her own.
So, without further ado dear readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Miss Keira, a budding traveler (we’ll have to get that passport in the works ASAP) and burgeoning writer.
Party in Portland
To begin, this is what my family did this weekend. First, we drove to our hotel. It was a six-hour drive. Can you believe that? On our way, we saw a huge waterfall. At the hotel, my brother Keegan and I had to share a bed but that was OK. He ended up sleeping on the floor one night anyway.
The next morning, we woke up and got dressed. Did I mention that my mom was in a parade? The parade was awesome! My favorite float was a jaguar made out of all different kinds of flowers. All around his float were dancers who had wooden bells on their boots.
After the parade, we went to Voodoo Donuts. Those donuts were amazing! I got a VooDoo doll donut. It was shaped like a doll and had raspberry filling that was supposed to look like blood. There was even a pretzel stick stabbed in the heart.
Also, I got to go to Powell’s. Powell’s is a huge bookstore that was one city block. There were different rooms for different kinds of books. My favorite was the pink room with all of the kids’ books. I got a book called The Lunch Witch and I read it in one and a half days. The girl in the book turned into a frog.
Finally, it was the day that we went home. Portland was awesome but we had to go home. We packed up our things and left the hotel but before we went home, we got to go to OMSI. This is a museum about science. We went with my mom’s friend Heather and her son Logan. We got to see a 3-D printer and there was a tsunami machine where I got to build a house that would not get run over by the waves on the shoreline. We got to levitate foam balls on air pressure machines in a big room full of balls tubes.
All in all, Portland was amazing. I like to travel and go on vacations because I get to see new things. Someday, I would like to go visit Wisconsin because I hear that they have cheese.