Chapter 2-1: Intro to Road Trips

Bachalpsee with the Wetterhorn and Schreckhorn Mountains across the Grindelwald Valley

And if I were to choose seven thresholds, road trips would figure large in my landscape of memories, road trips that shaped my childhood dreams and aspirations. Road trips were always in my blood. My family had plenty of adventures with their cars. My parents would load up the family station wagon with their four children, the au pair, and seven suitcases. Three of the suitcases were wrapped in heavy tarpaulins and strapped to the roof of the car by my father and older brothers. When I was little, I was wedged in among the remaining suitcases in the rear of the car to stare at the cars behind us with instructions not to wave or stick my tongue out at the drivers behind us. I loved these summer adventures.

Blue Flax

By the time I was nine I was too big to be stuffed in the cargo area and moved up to the front seat where I sat between my parents, vigilant to makes sure they stayed on the right side of the road when travelling across Europe. There were always a few terrifying moments when one of us would yell at the driver, more often than not my father, to get over onto the right side as the car had begun to drift into the left lane. It was also my father who failed miserably time and time again to follow the driving instructions from my mother, leaving her struggling to figure out an alternative route once he had decided to left instead of right. Invariably this was followed by angry exchanges culminating with the car being pulled over and my father taking over the responsibility of map reading since my mother had no difficulty following his instructions, and in his defense, he was an excellent map reader.