Our family has a long history of making memories instead of collecting things. We love to give gifts, don’t get me wrong, but most of them are little homemade things, or gifts of self in some capacity. Perhaps most precious are the gifts of time and of memories.
We didn’t get a honeymoon. I had back surgery instead. Long story.
So, we started taking annual honeymoons:
Year One: a road trip to Florida and a three day cruise to the Bahamas.
Year Five: a motorcycle trip through the maritime provinces of Canada.
Year Ten: Hawaii
Year Fifteen: A rainy tent in England, one month into a year long cycle trip around Europe.
Year Twenty: This coming spring (where did the time go?) We’re thinking Paris, just to be cliche.
One year we gave our kids camel rides on the Sahara for Christmas. Ezra got an elephant ride in Thailand for his tenth birthday. Hannah got a visit to Angkor Wat for her sixteenth; we went skiing in New Zealand for her seventeenth.
This coming year I turn 40. To honor that milestone I’m taking a walk with an old friend. We share a birth year, and it’s been her dream to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Something about forty, the nice round hilltop of mid-life, that makes a good place to stop and take a breath, lift our heads and take a look around: at the past, and the path before us into the future. It will be a monumental journey. No husbands. No kids. Just her and me, our boots and our backpacks.
Many tangible gifts have passed through my hands over the years, many of them treasures for a while. The ones that have passed through my heart are the ones I still hold dearest, the ones that I can unpack in the quiet of a dark moment and that bring light to my life in the way no purchased item ever has. Perhaps it makes me an oddity, but I’d always rather make a memory than spend equal money on a “thing.”
How do you mark milestones? Have you used journeys to celebrate and measure out life? Tell me about that.