Sunday, August 24, 2008
Vacations have always been intense where I come from. It went so far that my dad actually made us try out for vacation spots when we were young (he still does, in a certain form). We would go to great places, but in order to make the team, we would have to run 5-10 miles consistently (depending on the intensity of the trip) over a certain period of time. In culmination, there was usually a personalized try-out run with my dad, where he would test our endurance and gauge our fitness level. At 12 years-old, I was really bitter on those runs. I would run as slowly as possible; when my dad would slow down to match my speed, I would take it even slower. On my first trip to Switzerland, I was 11. (My brother Stephen ran his first marathon at 12, which pleased my dad immensely).
There are 8 of us and you would think that the intensity of things would naturally decrease with time and with the age of my dad. This is true to a certain extent. Trips are no longer dictated by an hour-by-hour itinerary and we are no longer woken up to hike with the sun as it rises. However, the vacation itself is still seen as one large work-out session and when it is not that, we are failing somewhere. Last summer, I laughed as I read the contract my dad had written out for my two youngest siblings (and required that they sign), which included hikes 3 times per week and at least 2 other forms of documented physical activity.
This summer, a miracle happened - every single one of the Johnson children made the tryout. This has never happened before. Most years one or two or three of us are left behind, voluntarily, or because we just aren't up to speed. But this year - everyone came.
So, here it is: our trip to Switzerland (and everyone's brief stopover in Paris). Bear in mind, this was Brad's 15th journey to the birthplace of his grandfather (Wilderswil, Switzerland). Each of our personal tallies depends on our own tryout record, but most of us do feel at home in this little valley we frequent often.