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Memories of Childhood Trips

I was reorganizing our storage space in Split this weekend when I came across a whole bunch of old photo albums. Looking at them, what I found most interesting was going through the trips I had with my parents. Most of them, early on, were to beach locations in New Hampshire (a favorite was Hampton beach. I think it was a favorite of many Quebeckers). In 1974, when I was 8, we moved to Africa for a few years then, later, I lived with my mom in Vancouver and Ottawa. But it wasn’t until my late teens that I really developed a love for travel.

For this post I’ve dug up a few old photos. I’m sure many of you will have a laugh at my expense. Others might find it interesting seeing how certain places looked in the 70’s and 80’s. If you’re a bit older it might bring up some memories of your own.

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: I have a lot of memories of my dad driving us from our small town outside Quebec City to the US East Coast. We would usually leave in the middle of the night and arrive at our destination sometime around noon. This photo was taken in 1973, probably on the way to Hampton Beach or Cape Cod. We would always stop to eat at a Howard Johnson’s. I had forgotten about Howard Johnson’s before seeing this photo. They were all over the place. This photo also brings back memories of the really cool car we had for a little a while (it’s a 1972 Javelin SST – I found something on it here). That’s me and my mom, I’m wearing a Yosemite Sam shirt.

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Below: Harassing the girls at the beach. I don’t know exactly what I was doing here but I like the other kid’s reaction (the one with the happy face t-shirt). It’s like “hey, I’ve got to get in on that action”. Look at some of the old cars in the background.

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Below: Yes, that’s my mom reading Playboy at the beach. I don’t know if that was a usual thing to do at the time but I think probably not. I’m sure she got lots of funny looks. 

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Below: With my dad and my best friend Robert. I think we had invited him to come camping with us. This was taken in 1974, probably in Hampton Beach or Cape Cod. 

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Below: In 1974 (I was 8) we left for Africa. We stopped off for a few days in Paris. 

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Below: We also went to Tunisia on this trip. I’m not sure why, or what was the routing, but I remember the beaches being beautiful.

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Below: We lived in Lusaka (Zambia) for about 2 years. I wrote all about that here

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Below: On one of our trips we went camping on Lake Malawi.

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Below: In 1976 my mom and I lived in Vancouver for a year. Then, my mom decided we’d move to Ottawa. We hitchhiked across most of the country, camping along the way. I remember one of our hitchhiking tricks was for me to hid behind my mom while she tried thumbing down a ride – drivers were more likely to stop for a single female than for one with a kid.

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Below: We didn’t have much money in our first years in Ottawa. My mom worked as a secretary at United Way while I went to school. But we always found a way to get somewhere. In 1980 the Canadian embassy in Tehran was instrumental in helping 6 American embassy workers out of Iran (the Iran Hostage Crisis for those who don’t remember). There was an outpouring of gratitude from the United States – including from Greyhound who offered free travel in the United States for Canadians that year. My mom took advantage and we went to Key West. That’s us catching a barracuda.

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Below: Oh no. The gangly teens. My dad lived in New York City and one summer I went to visit him along with my cousin Nelson. I’m guessing it was in 1980 or 1981. That’s me with my plastic baseball bat and game on monopoly. I don’t remember much of New York city except that it was incredibly hot.

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Below: In 1984 my mom remarried and we went to Morocco for the honeymoon. The new husband almost didn’t come – he didn’t like to travel. This photo was taken on Jamaa el Fna square in Marrakech. I remember being traumatized in Morocco: everywhere we went there were beggars clawing at you with their leprosy hands. And lots of them had a weird eye disease where the eye was all white and milky. Morocco was like a scary zombie movie for me and I didn’t like it one bit.

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Below: In 1985 (I was 18) I had my first trip without my parents. I flew to Paris and met up with my friend Laurent – after a few days in Paris we took the train to Spain’s Costa Brava. We spent about 3 weeks there, hopping around between the towns of Tossa de Mar, Lloret de Mar, and Palamos. Spain was inexpensive at the time and we stayed in small hotels or camped.

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Below: Our lives in Ottawa changed a lot during the 80’s. My mom went from being a secretary at United Way to working in the financial department at a large international non-profit (there were lots of night classes in between). In 1986 I moved to Montreal to go to university while she took a new job opportunity – to be financial controller in South/Central Africa, based in all places in Lusaka. Funny enough she ended up back in Zambia 10 years after we had left.
Her being back in Africa while I was studying in Montreal brought about a lot more travel opportunities. In the summer of 1987 we met up in Greece. The photo below was taken in Santorini. Note the absence of crowds. I read that you can’t walk around Santorini anywhere these days without someone halfway up your butt. 

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Below: Later that same year (1987), I flew to Zambia and spent Christmas there with my mom. We went on a safari, stayed at a resort on Lake Kariba, and spent a few days at Victoria Falls (the most fabulous waterfalls I’ve seen in my life. Iguazu doesn’t compare). 

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Below: I was back in Africa the following Christmas, this time in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe at the time was one of the most prosperous countries in Africa and it’s capital Harare was clean and modern. It was home to a lot of international non-profits as well as to a lot of expats.
We toured the country, going to the Great Zimbabwe ruins (incredible – and we had the place all to ourselves), Victoria Falls (from the Zimbabwe side this time), and Matopos National Park.
The photo below: we had arrived at the Matopos National Park very early in the morning to see these two white rhinos at the entrance to the park. The park rangers told us that every morning these two rhinos would do this (white rhinos are a lot less aggressive than black rhinos). It’s still my most impressive wildlife encounter.

Below: Matopos National Park will always be remembered for the time I got violently sick. A few hours after this photo was taken I started throwing up. I was throwing up every 20 minutes without fail. By early morning we packed up and drove to Bulawayo – stopping along the way so I could open the door to throw up. We got to Bulawayo and stopped at the first hotel we saw. Thankfully they had a nurse on staff. She gave me a bunch of pills. It took me about a day to recover. Somewhere along the way I had picked up a bad bug.

 

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That sums up my early trips. I was 21 when that last photo in Zimbabwe was taken. My 20’s were taken up finishing university, getting my first job (with very little vacation time), and getting married and having a son. But it was those early trips that really got me hooked on travel and that ultimately led to our lifestyle today.
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Thanks for reading!

 

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