How Vacations Can Get Weirder

Brianna Krueger's picture

Last month I prompted the question ‘how many weird things can happen during a weeklong vacation’ and answered with ‘too many.’ It got me thinking and I realized, I kind of lied: I still had more weird memories, ones I wanted to share. This means the correct answer to my question is actually: not enough. You can simply never have enough memories.

So, to upstage my own article, here’s how vacations with your typical dysfunctional family (as based upon my poster child family) can get weirder. And how more love can grow between a family with these moments.

How Vacations Can Get Weirder

1.    You pack like you’re never coming home from vacation.

I’m an overpacker, borderline-hoarder. So is my dad (I inherited the gene from him). This means packing for vacations is always a thrill in my house because you’ve got my mom and brother side-eyeing every item my dad and I want to bring. You never know if I might wear my high heels to the beach, so let me pack my suitcase in peace and worry about your own. However, I will admit, when I’m on the other side, watching my dad pack, I do side-eye and mostly want to hide and pretend I don’t exist. Because one look at exhibit A, located below, would have one wondering ‘is my dad moving out and not telling us’ or have you thinking you’d rather not go on vacation at all so you don’t have to unpack and repack it at the end. Can you guess how much fun unpacking is?

Overpacking, personified. How Vacations Can Get Weirder

The answer is none at all. Especially with all the yelling – our family’s favorite form of communication. I couldn’t imagine not yelling at having to unpack two four-wheelers, a wheel barrow, a loan mower, Christmas decorations, a bike, a portable gym, a grill, and other things I don’t want to think about.

2.    You do annoying (to other people and certain family members) photo shoots

Not even talking about trying to get your standard holiday card photo while on vacation, my family does photo shoots everywhere we go. Fueled because we all have cameras or cellphones and want to visually remember our trips, every event turns into a photo shoot. We went out for ice cream one night and had a full on photo shoot, documenting the entire trip. Waiting in line, getting served, eating our ice cream, and our ride home. If I was the owner of the ice cream establishment, I would give us free ice cream for life for creating such a compelling photo story to inspire others to go to the ice cream establishment.

Weird photoshoots. How Vacations Can Get Weirder

Okay, maybe a little bit kidding about free ice cream, but I really wouldn’t turn down the offer.

3.    You learn a little bit of magic

One of my favorite campfire activities involves a little magic to make the fire grow. No lighter fluid or paper or dead pine needles, or any other object; only your body – well everyone at the fire’s bodies because the more people involved, the better it works. Step one, get on your knees. Step two, raise your arms in the air (you can wave them like you just don’t care, but that’s just for fun). Step 3, bow down to the fire while saying ‘owha.’ Step 4, rise up and bow down again saying ‘ta-goo.’ Step 5, repeat the motions, but this time saying ‘siam.’ Step 6, repeat steps 3-5 till the fire grows. Owha ta-goo siam. Owha ta-goo siam.

Fire starting with the Kruegers. How Vacations Can Get Weirder

What – you’re a goose! You’re so silly!

4.    Your arts-and-crafts take on new meaning

One day, we were lying on the rocks when someone pulled out chalk. Not unusual to draw, but what us artists decided to draw was. We decided to outline our bodies on the rocks. Okay so not too unusual yet – who hasn’t been outlined in chalk? – but the end result became quite interesting. A body within a body to resemble the inner body being eaten by the other body. Some people being traced doing the splits. Some people made their chalk bodies hold hands or ankles.

While we may have left the rocks, we were told our chalk-bodies lived on for days after us.How Vacations Can Get Weirder

While we may have left the rocks, we were told our chalk-bodies lived on for days after us.

5.    You hurt yourself in weird ways

Like you lean your head over the loft and get whacked in the head by the ceiling fan. And you end up doing it again. I can say I know a few people who make the same idiotic mistake twice (or more), but not many that can say they got hit in the head with the fan. I also don’t know many people that can say they’ve gotten scars on their arms from moving a log to sit on away from the hot fire. Or while swimming underwater with your eyes closed, you swim into a rock and get a black eye.

We take weirdness seriously. That’s why it’s in everything we do.

We take weirdness seriously. That’s why it’s in everything we do.

6.    You exercise hardcore

And not in our backyard tent gym, but down on the beach with the sun and sweat, and car tires. An exercise event my dad (who sometimes goes by HR – Hardcore Rick) set up an athletic event of flipping tires down the beach. Since it can be so tiring, my dad did reward them with water… hidden within the tires, which my dad had me fill them with water so that when they flipped them, they’d be splashed with water. The shock on their faces was priceless as they raced.

If that wasn’t hardcore enough for you, you can always run with a tire tied behind you for resistance.

If that wasn’t hardcore enough for you, you can always run with a tire tied behind you for resistance.

7.    You get the moves like Jagger.

Yet again, dancing is nothing weird. It only becomes so when nearly the oldest one in the vicinity becomes the leader of the pack of dance moves. Move over Mick Jagger, we had the moves of Hardcore Rick leading us through the Cupid Shuffle and some other self-invented dances that included lifting your knees to your chest and raising your arms in the air.

Moves like Jagger. How Vacations Can Get Weirder

Maybe he thought we were sweatin’ to the oldies.

8.    Boredom occasionally gets the very best of you

You could be in the most exciting place on Earth with the most entertaining and enthralling people, but you’ll still get downtime. Things that happen during downtime can lead to I’m-so-bored I’ll do anything moments, which often create memories and articles like this one. One evening when there wasn’t much to do, the guys all had their hair done by my cousins. As someone who can’t do her own hair, I was thrilled to have my cousins braiding my hair, but the guys were just that bored (not that they were actually getting braids, just styled).

Family vacation boredom. How Vacations Can Get Weirder

Do you see how much fun they’re having?

9.    You live lavishly through cheap means

One of the nicest ways to relax is with a massage or facial. Unfortunately these aren’t always possible because they can be expensive or the place you’re staying doesn’t offer them. To accommodate, you find your own ways to make it happen. Whether you coax your cousins into giving you a massage by promising brownie points or you take matters into your own hands… And shovel and dig in the sand for clay to rub all over your body as an exfoliation.

Smoother skin was never so cheap.   How Vacations Can Get Weirder

Smoother skin was never so cheap. 

10.    You take pictures of everything

Kind of like the photoshoot, cameras are always going. Maybe not always in a group setting, but there’s always someone with a camera to capture the moments that you least expect – good, bad, and why is she posting that one? From taking silly ipad pictures to strutting it on the jetski to the just plain weird, you’re on film, baby.

Taking photos on family vacation. How Vacations Can Get Weirder

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Think you have a weird moment to upstage our weirdness, share it in the comments. I might try to upstage though. ;)  




Brianna Krueger is the Chief Editor of Wandering Educators


All photos courtesy and copyright Brianna Krueger