40 years of marriage – that’s a milestone that was so enjoyable for my wife and I to celebrate last month with a family trip to Banff, Alberta, Canada.
Connie and I, together with our daughter and two married sons and their wives, had been planning this trip for the past six months. We mapped out our travel arrangements in an RV, the food and other supplies we would need, and how we would divide up the expenses.
Our trip started from Leach Camper Sales in Council Bluffs where we picked up our RV to rent for the week. On the route up to Canada, we passed through Kearney, NE, the Sandhills, Mt. Rushmore, Sheridan, WY, Great Falls, MT, and Glacier National Park. Then we crossed the border and drove up to Calgary, then west to Banff. (By coincidence we were in the region during the same week as the Calgary Stampede.)
When we arrived in Banff, we parked the RV in a campground on the edge of town. Our three days there included a canoe trip together on Lake Louise, a quick trip over into British Columbia, and an excursion on the Banff Gondola up to the summit of Sulphur Mountain. (My daughter and I decided to bypass the gondola ride down the mountain, and opted rather to hike the 3.4 miles of trail to join back up with the family.)
The scenery there in the Canadian Rockies was stunningly beautiful!
However, the highlight of our trip was spending time together as a family. Yes, we missed our seven grandchildren during the week, but this experience was for us as adults to celebrate together. Our conversations focused more on our current lives and plans for the future than on reminiscing about family life when the kids were growing up.
In keeping with our “people first” mantra as a family, we looked for opportunities to visit with people from all over the world. In our campground, we enjoyed conversations with a family from South Korea and playing Washers with a dad and his two daughters from Alberta. Our restaurant server from Toronto was spending the summer waiting tables there in Banff.
At the peak of Sulphur Mountain, we visited with a couple from Pender, NE – he liked my Nebraska hat – and with another couple who described how they had taken ten years to map out their retirement dreams before settling in North Carolina.
As our trip ended (after driving 3,149 miles in all), I felt some relief to deliver the RV unscathed back to the dealership, but the trip underscored several vital conclusions for me:
• I am so very blessed to have been able to share over 40 years together with my wife.
• It’s such a joy to have launched our adult kids and see how they are raising their own families.
• God’s creative handiwork in the Canadian Rockies is incredible!
• It’s fun to invest time in planning for an excursion like this – and to see those plans all come together.
• Finally, I’m very thankful to be part of the team here at Dickinson Investment Advisors where our mission is to empower people to experience their retirement dreams and be able to celebrate big milestones in their lives.