We’ve long discussed visiting Portland. Tim lived there for some time when he was single and worked at Wieden + Kennedy. Over our years together he often remembers biking through Forest Park, or grabbing a coffee and something sweet on those (many) rainy mornings. This summer was the right time to go for a family vacation, and I think we all pretty much fell in love with it from the start. It’s such a friendly laid-back town — no one honks their car horns and dogs go everywhere with their owners. And it’s an amazingly beautiful city with easy access to both mountains and ocean. (Links listed at the end.)
At the end of March we traveled to Los Angeles for spring break. The winter in Chicago this year wasn’t too terrible, but still, by this time we’re always ready for something bright. Brainstorming where to go for our family trips has quickly gone from Tim and me choosing places, to seeing what ideas Orlagh and Iris have too. We had just watched La La Land and the girls had lots of questions like: How does she fly through the air? Is he really playing the piano, he’s so good! Can you stop and dance in the streets like that? They were so excited about the magic of filmmaking and the pretty parts of the city. Tim and I have been to L.A. on many occasions for work or for brief stays with siblings, so we already loved its blend of city and ocean. It made choosing L.A. an easy pick.
When I think back to my childhood in the Midwest, some of my solid memories are of the car trips my family took. They were mostly to Florida or Ohio, my brother and me facing out the back of our station wagon, on the way to Disneyland or to the roller coasters at Kings Island and Cedar Point. Even now, much of the U.S. and its historic places I haven’t yet seen. The mountain towns, deep blue lakes and woody national parks have taken on an allure, and our conversations at home revolve around where we should travel next.
The subject of picture-taking has been on my mind a lot lately. As a family, we’ve moved beyond the phase of well-kept nap and meal schedules, and of carrying a bag full of extra everything—change of clothes, snacks, cups. We travel lighter. I feel lighter. My hands are free again to reach out for a camera that’s been charged and isn’t already full of photos. They are new feelings. Capturing family life is rusty.