The Family that Travels Together, Stays Together

Originally published April 20, 2017

In October, my dad turned 80 years old. No small feat. Instead of throwing a huge bash, he decided to take a trip with his four children. And not just a lie on the beach, chill out trip like you might imagine most 80-year-olds would pursue. He wanted to go to Zion National Park. And not just go to Zion, but hike it.

So, we four children happily obliged to his request and set out on a memorable opportunity to not only celebrate our great dad, but to also spend rare time together outside of our daily stressors and hike in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Here are five reasons why you should celebrate big life events with travel:

You’ll Make Memories Together

Cue the cheesy music on this one, but it’s true. On one of our very first hikes in the park, to the Emerald Pools, something happened which will forever be a part of our family stories. Dad got lost.

Now, if you’ve ever hiked the Emerald Pools, you know that this is a very well-loved trail with lots of hikers. This particular day was no exception. The trail was crowded! Yet, we still somehow managed to lose Dad. None of us are entirely sure how it happened.

I guess saying Dad got lost makes it sound more dramatic than it was. My sister was with him, and really, the group got split in two and we couldn’t find each other. But, the story will always be about that time that Dad got lost in Zion. Luckily, we happily reunited and recapped it all over a beer.

Emerland Pools, Zion National Park

Emerland Pools, Zion National Park

You Learn About Each Other

We had an actual polite conversation about politics, and we disagreed. And it was ok. I learned, much to the chagrin of my stomach, that none of my siblings eat lunch.

I also discovered that my sister is a walking natural health pharmacy. And was I ever glad! I had an awful cough, and that oregano oil really did the trick when nothing else could knock it. Thanks, sis, for taking care of me….which brings me to my next point.

You’ll Support Each Other

Friends and families are supposed to take care of each other. But, sometimes life gets busy, and we forget to do that. For example, some days, I spend the majority of my waking energy chasing my toddler, so I forget to ask my husband how his day went. Or, for my brother’s recent birthday, I barely managed to get a text out. (Sorry to both of you, by the way).

When you’re traveling together, the air clears a bit. You can breathe easier (especially if said toddler is at home with his grandparents). You have a chance to look someone else in the eye, ask how they’re doing, (no, how they’re really doing). And they have to respond because there’s no one else to talk to.

Watching my two brothers extend their arms to my Dad while we hiked the narrows is something I have thought of often since.

Dad in the Narrows, Zion National Park

Dad in the Narrows, Zion National Park

You’ll Have Fun Together

One day of our trip, we struggled with the decision on whether or not to drive out to Bryce Canyon, or take it easy and keep exploring Zion. We decided we’d spent enough time in the car, so we opted for the shorter drive and headed to Kolob Canyon.

Now, I don’t doubt the beauty of Bryce Canyon, but Kolob Canyon was magnificent. We hiked along a river for most of the day, soaked in the October sunshine, and marveled at the yellow Aspen tree leaves. It was quieter than the main park, giving us a chance to both talk and be quiet together. The end of the hike rewards with views of a double arch. The color of red is hard to describe, so I’ll let the following pictures do it for me.  

Throughout the trip, we shared beers, laughed, watched the amazing Southwest night sky, took Dad out to a fancy birthday dinner, told stories and jokes, and generally enjoyed being together.


"Spending valuable time together is something you will keep with you always. It can’t wear out, or get lost, or be put into the depths of the guest room closet. The time we spent together is something we will always have and treasure."

Mainly, You’ll Be Together

I have now used the word together more than a few times in this article. So, you probably get the idea by now. Experiences last longer than things. Spending valuable time together is something you will keep with you always. It can’t wear out, or get lost, or be put into the depths of the guest room closet. The time we spent together is something we will always have and treasure.

The crew at Zion National Park

The crew at Zion National Park

Jannan Poppen