Growing up in Fayetteville, Arkansas, my childhood days were filled with outdoor activities and sports: jumping on the trampoline, climbing trees, building forts in the creek beside our house, softball, tennis, swimming, and playing ball sports (football, tennis baseball, basketball, dodge ball…) with the neighborhood kids. Being outside with my friends and family in nature was the normal, and my childhood was happy and mostly carefree, save for a few scraps and bruises. Even though we lived in the beautiful Ozark Mountains, there was nothing to compare with the majestic terrain of the Pacific Northwest-PNW- (Washington state, Oregon, and British Columbia, Canada) where my Grandma Anna Katherine Heinzelmann (Known to all as A.K.) lived.
We visited Grandma A.K. for two weeks every summer at her home in Lakewood which is close to Tacoma, WA. Dandy Andy was her faithful Schnauzer dog companion, and I adored them both. My first memories of visiting the PNW were around four years old, and our core family of four–Dad-Pete, Mom-Margo, Brother-Andy, and Me-Sarah, visited there for around 15 consecutive summers.
The pictures above were taken by Grandma AK in September 1975 when I was five years old. This trip was one of the first memories I have of visiting the PNW. We walked Kalaloch Beach and dug in the sand all afternoon. I cherish A.K.’s handwriting on the back of each picture.
Preparing for our two week adventure was a small adventure in itself. Large cardboard boxes were crammed full of sleeping bags, backpacks, outdoor kitchen equipment, hiking boots, rain gear, and anything else we thought was needed for hiking, camping, and beach combing. The four hour flight was long, but Grandma A.K. was always waiting for us at SeaTac Airport with Dandy Andy as co-pilot of her Volkwagen campers (a white one first, then the memorable bright orange camper).
More pictures above of fun adventures on the Pacific coast. And there’s Dandy Andy on leash being held by my dad. Many pictures cannot be found or were only taken with my mind’s eye, so I have tried to recreate them using collages for inspiration and drawing and watercolor painting them. They are really just first drafts, and will eventually be put into a handmade, scrapbook book that will be published…. soon, that’s my goal.
But what this blog is really about is the creative process of writing and laying the foundation of writing a multi-generational travel book and publishing it!… that is the Dream… the Goal. And one day it will be complete, even at times when I feel buried under my kids’ school emails and activities and the general household up keep. Oh, and my people keep getting hungry and needing to wash their clothes. So yes, this has been a long process, but I have faith that one day it will be complete, and the memories made, lessons learned, and travel wisdom gained will be passed along to friends, family and those that need it.
During 2019 I was a writing contributor for Our Neighborhood magazine for family interviews and the Travel Tales segments. I started with the multi-generational trip my parents took my kids on… Cousin trips… and I was lucky enough to go on two of them. They retraced the steps of our original family adventures, taking the next generation to the PNW to enjoy hiking, camping, ferry rides, and exploring outdoors. Below are the articles I wrote for the magazine with my own pictures. In my writing notebook, I drew out a simple layout for each article, in hopes the editor’s would follow my lead and place the pictures and writing in the most logical arrangement. But alas, there need to be advertisements to actually print and distribute the magazine; this is real world publishing. They did not, but I continue to design and draw out my vision for each article. This is why a book will be necessary, so I can truly tell my family’s travel story to this magical part of the world. And this blog will serve as motivation for me to keep moving forward with this dream project–one small step a day.
Above are the four articles published in 2019 for Our Neighborhood magazine. And yes, I am not getting paid for these, but the writing process and groundwork being laid for future projects in solid. Four more “Travel Tales” installations will appear in the 2020 magazine, and this will lay further ground work for the book project. If you are a writer or just a creative soul, small victories count in moving you toward your dream… stick with it!
Happy Trails to you in 2020! May adventure call you to the outdoors to enjoy quality time with friends and family, Sarah Andersen