At Country Walkers, we love bringing people together—whether it’s a reunion of old friends, groups of total strangers who become new friends, or family members. A walking adventure is the perfect way to deepen those connections, spend some quality time together and learn what makes each other tick. Here are five important things your family will bring home from a multi-generational walking adventure.
1. A Fresh Perspective
For Country Walkers traveler Nicole Voth, a multi-generation family trip on Italy: The Amalfi Coast Self-Guided Tour was the perfect graduation gift for her daughter, Olivia—and the ideal opportunity to bond with her mother, Val. “This trip helped me show my daughter how available the world is and that it’s not scary,” says Nicole. “You can even get lost, and not speak the language, and still be perfectly happy and get what you need and learn what you didn’t know you needed.”
Country Walkers traveler, and Tour Consultant, Claire Truso helped her teenaged son discover a new perspective during their journey to England: The Cornwall Coast Self-Guided Tour. “He’s really into maps,” says Claire. “He has a big bin of trail maps and maps at home, and he led the walks every day. He was always up ahead on the trail looking at the route notes. It was so much fun to watch him poring over the maps and following the directions.”
For both of these teenaged travelers, a Country Walkers Self-Guided tour was the perfect way for them to discover a love of international travel with incredible support from both Country Walkers and their families.
2. Memories of Authentic Local Experiences
For many seasoned travelers, authentic local experiences are a highlight of any trip—and the best ones are usually found well off the main tourist circuit. On Country Walkers adventures, we take you far from the maddening crowd, introducing you to local guides, hosts, restaurateurs, and vintners who have become true friends over the years. “One of the hikes is really cool because we ended up in a little tiny village for lunch at a restaurant owned by three local sisters,” Nicole recalls. “We walked in and heard voices, but there was nobody at the restaurant. So, we peeked around the corner and saw these three little old ladies—sitting right next to each other like three peas in a pod, shelling fava beans side by side. When they saw us, they jumped up and sprang into action. They gave us a table on the porch with this beautiful view overlooking Amalfi. They didn’t speak English, but they gave us menus (which didn’t have any purpose, really, because they just brought us whatever they had) and gave us plenty of red wine. I don’t know exactly what they served us, but it was delicious! We had a wonderful time, and it was one of the best meals of the whole trip.”
When it comes to food, many Country Walkers travelers find themselves fascinated with European culinary techniques and dishes they encounter along the way. When Claire and her family traveled to Cornwall, they discovered the magic of Cornish pasties. “My husband is a chef, and he was fascinated by Cornish pasties,” says Claire. “Once we tried them, we made it a point to stop at a different bakery every day and try a new flavor. When we found a bakery with lines out the door, we made it a point to get a place in line—because if that many people are willing to wait for them, they must be good!”
3. The Undying Love of a Patrick Swayze Devotee (Or At Least a Funny Story)
Funny family stories are one of the best things to bring home from your Country Walkers adventure. These moments give back laughter, and blushes, in family circles for years to come. “We were hiking from Ravello to Scala,” recalls Nicole. “We were filling our water bottles at the spring, and this guy with long blond dreadlocks came over and introduced himself as Pietro of Scala. And he says, ‘You may notice I have blond dreadlocks. This is because my idol is Patrick Swayze, of Point Break,’ and then he crosses himself.” Nicole chuckles, then continues. “Pietro showed us around this teensy little town, told us all the local stories and invited us to his jewelry shop where he quickly fashioned a ring which he presented to Olivia, saying: ‘Now you are engaged to me, Pietro of Scala, and you can come here and live.’ I was very pleased to learn my daughter’s happiness had been sanctified by the spirit of Patrick Swayze. To this day, we still joke about Pietro, her beloved, and how she was once proposed to by a fine Italian gentleman in Scala.” On a multi-generational family vacation, comic moments are always at the forefront—whether it’s an awkward proposal from an amorous Patrick Swayze fan, the embarrassment of teenagers when they come to understand the function of a bidet, or just a comic lip-pucker at one’s first taste of Marmite. The laughs live on for years to come.
4. New Skills, and Renewed Confidence
When Country Walkers travelers bring along their children and grandchildren, it’s amazing how many new horizons open up for the younger generation. For Claire, it showed her son that the traveler’s life really is for him. “It reinforced for my son that he’s an excellent traveler—and helped us instill in him a deeper love of travel,” says Claire. “He’s an outdoor kid—and walking outdoors for two weeks was an incredible experience for him.”
Nicole took the opportunity to teach her daughter a tangible new skill—reading an old-school paper map during an independent exploration of Rome. “It was so rewarding to teach my daughter how to read a map,” says Nicole. “We got really lost and saw some very interesting places. She had never read a city map before, and it was fun just to watch her figure out how to fold it up. She learned how to read the map and find her way around the city without relying on her phone.”
5. A Better Understanding of Each Other
Multi-generational travel is a great way to learn new things about members of your own family—even if you’ve lived with them for decades, there’s always something new to discover. “It turned out my mom did not enjoy the hiking as much as she enjoyed being in Italy,” recalls Nicole. “So, she decided she was just going to shop while we walked. Country Walkers was very accommodating—all we had to do was let our local host know. She contacted the drivers, and Val got to go wherever she needed to go. And I learned that it’s OK to do separate things on vacation—we don’t have to do everything all together. Plus, I got to have one-on-one time with my daughter, which is invaluable.”
Sometimes, adults discover things they didn’t know about themselves, or about a long-time spouse. “I discovered my husband is really interested in the plants and flowers,” says Claire. “That really surprised me! Next, he wants to go to the Cotswolds to see the beautiful English gardens.”
No matter where your family chooses to explore, or what discoveries, skills, and funny stories you acquire, you’re sure to learn something new about each other—and come back closer than ever before.