A Roadmap to Family

Family sitting around fire in front of Airstream, hung lights.

Growing up, my father told me stories of faraway places he’d visited in his career as a merchant Marine. He instilled in me a sense of wonder and excitement for experiencing the world through travel. So when my Grandpa Al bought an Airstream in the late 90s, it quickly became the focal point of our family gatherings. 

I was young when Grandpa Al brought the Airstream home to his property. I nicknamed it “the Silver Twinkie,” and it instantly became the favorite hideout for all the kids in my family—even as we grew up, we used it to escape from all the adults at Christmas and other family gatherings. 

Every summer, my dad and grandpa worked together to get it ready for whatever journey they had planned. The Silver Twinkie was just as likely to hit the road on a trip to Utah as it was to carry Grandpa down to the beach, away from the summer heat. 

Caring for the RV became a family hobby. As Grandpa aged and became unable to complete all the normal check-up tasks, my dad took over the responsibilities and showed me the ropes, too. He wanted to make sure I knew how the Airstream handled and how to use each component inside of it. 

As I grew up and had my own kids, we visited Grandpa at his summer spots in Seal Beach or on The Strand in San Diego. He and Grandma came to life when they were camping. Every year, they made more new friends, reveling in being outdoors and showing us all  how meaningful their traveling home was to them. 

When Grandpa passed away, the RV passed to my dad. It has become a part of our family, filled with a long history of Grandpa’s little touches and years of repairs made by my dad. And now, with my husband, we’re instilling the same love of travel and traditions in our own kids, ensuring that Grandpa’s legacy lives on. We’re creating memories and a family tradition that will outlive us, carrying on as we serve as parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents to the younger generations in our family. 

On our latest adventure, we took our kids to a place Grandpa and Dad introduced me to—Zion. It’s been a dream to share with them the excitement of a new rock to climb or a fun problem to solve. It’s helped our kids grow in ways that are only possible being outdoors. We can hike for hours with no distractions, just the quiet of nature and our own conversations. I treasure those moments, and think about all the incredible conversations Dad and Grandpa must’ve had together over a lifetime of hikes. For me, the RV stands for every value they passed down: not just a love of nature and a sense of adventure, but the very foundation of family itself. 

We’re creating memories and a family tradition that will outlive us.


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