one of my earliest travel memories is of going to Florida when I was a kid. it was an extended family vacation, which probably meant more stressful logistics, bickering, and difficulties in accommodating larger parties in restaurants, not that any of us kids had much say in things. i know we went to Disneyworld, Epcot, and the Kennedy Space Centre, but without the photographs and souvenirs, i’d probably have forgotten all about it.
there are two things i can vividly recall from that trip. the first was being at the beach (in Miami apparently). the sound of waves rolling onto shore, the graininess of sand between my toes, and my parents picking up sea shells and brushing them clean. we may have collected them into a bag or in pockets, either way, my 4-year-old self was thrilled. having lived in and around Toronto my whole life, going to the beach was not a common occurrence, then or now. somehow many of the beaches i’ve been to lately didn’t have a treasure trove of shells, but i always look :)
the second memory i have from that trip was the joyous moment when i finally got the chocolate milk i had repeatedly been requesting from my mother. it may have been during one of the hectic family dinners in an all-you-can-eat restaurant, or lunch in a fast food joint, those details aren’t important. i’ve never been a big fan of drinking just plain milk. sure, the occasional super cold glass of milk (in conjunction with some chocolate chip cookies of course) can hit the spot, but these days, i get my dairy in other forms. still, the odd time i open up a little carton of chocolate milk and take a sip, i cherish that little bit of nostalgia that comes over me.
in the Australian outback, i came to grow fond of adding a few spoonfuls of Milo to my cold milk. a refreshing and chocolaty drink to enjoy on lazy afternoons sheltered from the sweltering heat. i’ve not done research, and i’m not too convinced that Milo is that great for you, but surely it is a better alternative to the artificial, sugary chocolate syrups out there (i hope!).
there’s something satisfying about letting the Milo sit at the top of the glass, when taking a spoonful gets you that chocolaty crunch* mixed with a bit of cold milk. it’ll never be chocolate milk that brings back memories of Florida but now when i have this substitute, i get to revisit the experiences i had back in a tiny town in Australia.
what are your first trip memories? do any food memories relate to your travels?
*Milo isn’t the same around the world. at least the Canadian version seems to be finer in texture and dissolves faster in milk, thereby lessening the amount and time possible for that milky-Milo crunch. shame.